Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What are Essential Oils?

We receive many inquiries about exotic oils, such as Fig, Lily of the Valley, Lychee and Strawberry essential oil for instance. Most of the time, however, these oils do not exist as an essential oil, and are available only as a fragrance oil. What's the difference between essential and fragrance oils, you ask? Well, frankly, there is no comparison.

Essential oils are 100% pure, natural extracts from fruits, herbs, plants, trees, seeds, flowers, and roots. Essential oils are extracted using steam distillation or Carbon dioxide, or pressed by expeller press (Citrus fruits). Essential oils that are extracted by food grade solvent are called concretes and absolutes. Oils should only be called essential oils when they are completely as nature made them and come from a source in nature. Essential oils are extremely complex, and the components that give an essential oil its scent are only part of the oil. The sum total of its components give essential oils life and energy and incredible powers to heal, balance, uplift, calm, invigorate etc. They have an effect that is completely organic and in-tune with our bodies, supported by years of evolution and exposure to the plants and trees that the oils come from.

Fragrance oil, in contrast, are composed mainly or completely of manufactured, synthesized ingredients. Fragrance oils may be made up in part with an essential oil, but more often than not (especially if the essential oil is expensive), they are completely synthetic. The problems with fragrance oils (this includes perfumes) are many. Fragrance oils contain hundreds of synthetic chemicals, none of which are regulated by government agencies and they contain toxins that will damage every organ in your body, including your brain. Toxic chemicals in fragrance oils such as fixatives (which makes the scent last) are foreign to the body. Our bodies have not had thousands of years to develop pathways to process these chemicals (as with natural oils) and our bodies cannot effectively eliminate them. These toxins are either stored in the body's fatty tissues, processed part way into other harmful chemicals, or (you hope) they are excreted as is. Why would anyone want to use fragrance oil? We certainly don't - That is why we don't sell them.

What about nature identical oils? 'Nature identical oil' is a term made up by the chemical industry to mislead the consumer into thinking they are buying oils that are identical to what you would find in nature. Nature identical oil is just another name for fragrance oil.

How will you know if you're buying an essential oil or fragrance oil? Sometimes, this can be difficult. However, there are some things to keep in mind. Does the label say essential oil? Is there a botanical (Latin) name? Does it state a country of origin? Is there an extraction method listed? If the answer is no to any of these questions, do not buy the oil. Retailers of true, pure, natural essential oils should be proudly showing this information!

A word about prices. If someone is selling 'Jasmine essential oil' at the same price as 'Cedarwood essential oil', do not buy anything from them. While high prices are no guarantee, low prices for precious oils such as jasmine or rose are a sure sign that these oils are not essential oils. Fragrance oils are all very similar in price.

What about the availability of essential oils? Sometimes, you just can't buy an essential oil because it does not exist. For instance, there is no strawberry or blueberry essential oil. If using healthy, natural oils is important to you, then you will have to forego these particular scents.

Are you ready to experience nature?
Experience true essential oils that add energy & vitality to your life!

Start shopping for pure essential oils now!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Learn About Natural Transparent Soap

When was transparent soap first made?
Transparent soap has a long history dating back to 1789, when Andrew Pears first manufactured the bar that bears his name. Making soap transparent is an extra step for the soap maker, but one that is most worthwhile. Transparent soap can be made from the same solid fats (palm and coconut oil) as opaque soap, but usually the only liquid oil that is ever used is castor oil.Clearly Sunshine Transparent Soap

Why is transparent soap transparent?

Soap is transparent when it contains no large crystals, and theoretically all opaque soap can be made transparent, although some oil combinations do not result in a very clear soap. Recipes for transparent soap are usually a closely guarded secret because of the amount of experimentation involved in achieving the desired results. If you've ever tried to make any soap yourself, you'll realize that the combinations of oil and the proportions of them are infinite.

What is the definition of transparent soap?

According to one reference, soap is considered to be transparent if you can read 14pt bold text through a 1/4 inch thick slice of soap.

What makes transparent soap so good?
Transparent soap feels good, lathers beautifully and leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean while not drying it. How does it do all this? Because the soap crystals in transparent soap are small and there is no unnecessary excess oil, the soap is, in effect, pre-dissolved and ready for action, and feels extremely smooth to the skin. It takes little effort to lather up thick, creamy lather, and it takes little effort to rinse. No residue is left on your skin or in the sink and tub. No residue means less clogged pores and blemishes and no soap scum to scrub clean. Other handmade natural soaps (that are not transparent) contain up to 15% extra oil to ensure that there is no free lye left in the bar. This extra oil softens and weakens the solidity and effectiveness of the bar, lowers the lathering, and leaves oily residue on your skin and on the sink and tub. This is not our definition of clean!

How long does transparent soap last?
Transparent soap lasts a long time and smells fresh right down to the last tinyLicorice Mint Transparent Soap sliver. Because transparent soap is ready for action, you need only a very little bit to build up voluminous lather. Challenge yourself to see how two strokes of the bar through your hair builds to a mountain of silky smooth lather!

How is transparent soap made?
To produce transparent soap, opaque soap is dissolved in hot ethanol (grain alcohol), glycerine and a sugar solution. Once the opaque soap has dissolved, and the mixture has been allowed to cool a little, scent and colour are added. The soap broth is cooled quickly in molds until completely solid. The addition of the alcohol and sugar, combined with quick cooling prevents crystal growth. The opaque 'base soap' that is used can not contain any extra fat or extra lye, or the soap will not be clear. Working with alcohol can be dangerous, especially at high temperatures. Since special equipment is necessary to produce transparent soap safely, we don't recommend you try to make it at home.
Transparent Soap Collection
Check out our selection of handmade natural transparent soap!

Clearwater Soap Works announces Blog!

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