What is "Natural" Anyway?
This is a tricky question because there is no official governing body for the use of the word "natural" when it comes to cosmetics.
If the definition of “natural” included only ingredients that were found out and about in nature, it would be impossible for handcrafted soap to qualify. For example, Sodium Hydroxide and Potassium Hydroxide, the alkalis necessary for turning water and oils into soap, are manufactured in a lab under controlled conditions by the electrolysis of a sodium chloride (salt) solution and a potassium chloride solution, respectively. Further, "mineral pigment" colorants like micas, ultramarines, and oxides are created in labs to create safer materials without naturally-occurring impurities (such as lead and mercury).
Thus, for ease of understanding for our customers, we like to follow the definition of the word "natural" as set by the Natural Products Association (the "NPA") Natural Standard, which includes "naturally-derived" ingredients and certain synthetic "non-natural" ingredients under specific circumstances. The essence of the NPA standard is that products labeled "natural" should be made up of at least 95% natural ingredients and should avoid any ingredient with a suspected human health risk. This makes our products as natural as they can be.
We use pure essential oils in our bar soaps, and when we add color and texture to our soaps, we use botanicals, clays, herbs, spices, ultramarines, micas, and oxides. Note that in our Seasonal Bar Soap Collection found at our in-person locations, such as the Metuchen Farmer's Market, we use phthalate-free fragrance oils, at a skin-safe rate, for adding scent. The NPA Natural Standard specifically allows for the use of ultramarines, micas, and oxides, and allows for the use of non-solvent-extracted fragrances, so long as they don't exceed 5% of the formula and are phthalate-free and non-irritating. We always disclose ingredients for each soap in its individual listing.