Are All Of Your Products Vegan?
Little Owl is, overall, more "vegetarian" than vegan, in that we use honey and milk-derived lactose in some products.
Are your products “all-natural”?
This is a tricky question because there is no official governing body for the use of the word “natural” when it comes to cosmetics, and the word "natural" means something different to everyone.
Does "natural" mean that all the ingredients are from plant origin? In which case, petroleum-derived ingredients would qualify, as they come from crude oil, the essence of flora and fauna coming together in the earth. Or does it relate to the process by which the ingredient was formed and prepared for use? In which case, cold-pressed plant oils (like olive) and essential oils (like lavender) might qualify, but solvent-extracted plant oils (like rice bran) and absolutes (like jasmine) might not. Or perhaps it means nothing was synthesized in a laboratory? In which case, Vitamin C, although occurring naturally, would not qualify, as it needs to be chemically extracted or synthesized to be used as a cosmetic additive. Moreover, handcrafted soap would not qualify as natural because 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.
Moreover, “natural” things can be just as dangerous as synthetic ones. There is a safe dose and a toxic dose for everything. Arsenic is natural, but it can be deadly. Too much water can drown a person. To someone with an allergy, the use of a certain steam-distilled essential oil can have ill effects. Mineral pigment colorants found in makeup, like micas, ultramarines, and oxides, are synthetically created in labs to create safe materials without naturally-occurring impurities, such as lead and mercury. Furthermore, FDA-compliant labeling requires the use of intense-sounding names, even for “natural” ingredients. For example, “Butyrospermum Parkii” is shea butter, and “Melaleuca Alterniflora” is tea tree oil.
In short, “natural” doesn’t always mean “safe” or “simple.”
Here at Little Owl, we make products that are “natural” as possible, while still being safe, enjoyable, and functional. We use certified organic, ECOCERT-approved, and non-GMO ingredients where practical and possible. We use vegetable and seed oils, essential oils, CO2 extracts, and distillates. We’d rather have a positive outlook and focus on what we DO use, as opposed to what we DON’T, but it bears noting that we DO NOT use parabens, sulfates, PEGs, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, EDTA, mineral oil, or propylene glycol. We famously do not use ethoxylates in our Step One Cleansing Oil. We promise to be precise in our language, especially when it comes to ingredient listings, abstain from fearmongering, and to not rely on "junk science."
Do you use preservatives?
Yes! Preservatives are not bad chemicals; they were designed to keep us safe. Preservatives are absolutely necessary to protect cosmetics -- and YOU -- from the dangerous bacteria and harmful microorganisims that can grow in such water-based products.
Do you use nut oils?
Generally, no; however, our Kapha Facial Oil contains Andiroba Oil, which has been referred to both as a seed oil and a nut oil, as it is cold pressed from seeds found within a nut.
Why do you package in both glass and plastic?
We prefer to use glass bottles, but we appreciate that some products, like facial cleansers, often get taken into the shower. In those slippery situations, we use plastic packaging for safety.
Where are your products made?
All bar soaps are made in our laboratory in Metuchen, New Jersey. Our other products are initially formulated in our Metuchen lab and are made in an FDA-registered laboratory in Oregon.
What is in your bar soap?
Our bar soaps are made with a deluxe blend of vegan oils and butters. Sodium Hydroxide is used to turn water and our oils and butters into soap, a process called “saponification.” Glycerin, a humectant which attracts and retains moisture on the skin, is by-product of the soapmaking process. With hand-crafted soaps, glycerin remains in the soap, resulting in a mild, pure bar. Additionally, we "superfat" our soaps, meaning that each bar contains more oils and butters than mathematically needed to complete saponification, resulting bars with excess luxurious oils and butters that did not turn into soap, to improve moisturization, mildness, and lather.
Do you use palm oil in your bar soap?
Palm oil is a very popular ingredient in hand-crafted bar soap. Unfortunately, unsustainable palm oil cultivation is contributing to deforestation and climate change. In 2011, we reformulated our soaps to be palm oil-free. Another up-side to palm-free soaps? More shea butter for a rich, creamy, conditioning lather!
Speaking of shea butter, can I use your bar soap if I have a latex allergy?
Our Signature Formula bar soaps contain 15% shea butter. Shea butter contains natural latex, which is similar in composition to sap-like latex extract from the Rubber Tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Those with a severe latex allergy may have a reaction to shea butter.
If you need a soap that does not contain shea butter, try our Pure Castile bar or bars made with our Classic Formula or Sunflower Formula.
What is your bar soap scented and colored with?
We use pure essential oils in our natural bar soaps. When we add color and texture to our soaps, we use botanicals, clays, herbs, spices, ultramarines, micas, and oxides. We always disclose ingredients for each soap in its individual listing. For more information on essential oils and fragrance oils, see our blog post on the subject.
How should I store my soap?
Natural soap needs to breathe. Prior to use, store your soap in a cool, dark place with open ventilation. DO NOT store in a sealed container or zip lock bag. During use, keep your soap out of freestanding water by storing it on a slotted dish that will drain water away.
How long does a bar of soap last?
Typically, a bar of soap will last more than a month with daily use. Our soaps do not contain any preservatives, so we recommend that you use your soap bar within one year of purchase. Scents and colors may also start to fade after six months; however, this does not affect the quality of the soap.
Our lotions are made from nutrient-rich oils and butters, aloe vera juice, vegetable-based emulsifiers and thickeners, and a paraben-free, non-formaldehyde-releasing preservative system.
Please note that we do not add anything to our lotions to make them heat stable. If they get too hot, they will have varying results. Sometimes they will thin and come back together just fine with or without stirring, while sometimes they may not. This is the nature of heat impact on natural products.
What is your lotion scented and colored with?
Our scented lotions contain pure essential oils. We do not add colorants to our lotions.
Do I need to create an account to buy from your store?
You may checkout as a guest. Additionally, you may also use your Amazon.com account to login to Little Owl Soap without needing another password. Amazon does not share your password with us.
What are your business hours?
We do not keep standard business hours because we do not have a retail location. We fulfill orders Monday through Friday. We are available via email every day.
What kind of payment methods can I use?
We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. We also accept credit card payments via PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay via credit card.
Shipping, Pick-Up, & Returns
Can I pick up my order?
Little Owl Soap is a home-based business in Metuchen, New Jersey, and we do not have a retail location.
Do you ship internationally?
At present, we only ship internationally to Canada, Australia, and Great Britain.
When will my order be shipped?
We fulfill orders Monday through Friday. Orders are generally dispatched within 2 business days of receipt of payment.
How is my order shipped?
Orders are shipped via USPS with tracking and delivery confirmation. If you prefer delivery by USPS with required signature or insurance, an additional cost will be applied, so please contact us before checking out.
What is your return policy?
Due to the personal nature of our products, we do not accept returns.
Wholesale and Custom Orders
Do you sell your products wholesale to other stores?
Most of our products are available for wholesale. Large quantities are available with a 4 to 6 week lead time. Please contact us with your business information, tax ID number, and resale tax certificate number, and we will provide you with wholesale information.
Do you take custom orders?
Certain products may be customizable. Contact us to discuss options.