All of my soaps start with a vegetable glycerin soap base. This contains detergents to wrap around dirt particles, suds up, and get you clean. Glycerin is moisturizing and plant based. Some soaps can be made detergent free, but they won’t make bubbles well.
My extra moisturizing soaps contain shea butter (from a nut, not dairy) for soothing skin, and some are also available made without detergents, for those with sensitive skin. Some varieties also contain cocoa butter (vegan) or oatmeal. Soaps with butters are great for your skin, but do not pick up color well, so they come in lighter shades, often turning any pigment into the pastel version of itself. Recently I have begun to buy my plant butters from Ancient Health Remedies, since they are kosher and guarantee fair trade sources.
All of my soaps are vegan, but some of my lotion bars and lip balms are vegetarian, not vegan, because they contain beeswax. The collection of beeswax does not harm bees, and is a by product of collecting the honey (it is removed from the combs to get to the honey). Bees are essential for pollination and we can not live without them. Purchasing bee-made products from fair beekeepers is essential to help protect them. I vet my sources, so I feel the use of this beeswax is consistent with my vegetarian lifestyle, and does good for the Earth.
Most of my soaps, bath salts, and fizzies are scented with oils from flowers or plants. My favorite is rose essential oil – both for the scent itself, and because I like to use dried rose buds when possible. Other essential oil scents available are lavender*, peppermint, blood orange and “energize” (a blend of orange & ginger). Other scents are available with fragrance oils in jasmine, violet, lilac, freesia, gardenia, “breathe” (eucalyptus mint blend), vanilla berry, vanilla sugar, and “refresh” (basil, sage and mint).
*Word to the wise: lavender oil is never used in my soaps designed for kids, and should be avoided in children (because even nature is dangerous sometimes – natural parts in the oils can cause breast buds in kids). This is the same reason I do not use tea tree oil in any of my products.
Many of the soaps have colors and/or shimmer in them, made from various pigments that won’t harm your skin, like mica powder (a natural mineral shown below combined with titanium dioxide, the main ingredient of mineral sunscreens – but don’t expect any sun protection from bathing!). All of the colors are vegan and safe for use in the bath. “Shimmer” in soaps is like a light sparkle/shine, and comes from mica powders. Glitter can be added to soaps for a real sparkle. I use biodegradable, cosmetic glitters in white (shines like a rainbow), silver, or gold.
I can make soaps with small toys (erasers work best), dried flowers (but they eventually turn brown when they sit with the glycerin for a month, even when dried first), or shapes made of soap inside of other soap. This is customizable for special occasions. One of my favorite soaps for kids is the one with a mini rubber ducky on top – they can hold on to it to help lather soap in the tub, and when the whole soap bar is finished, they still have a mini rubber ducky to play with in the bath! Another favorite are the Surprise Soaps, with cute animal erasers inside. Other fun ones are surprise soaps with rubber spiders inside!
Soaps made especially for skin exfoliation have ground apricot pits in them (seen here in the top layer of this soap), and are also great for artists (to help scrub off dried paint).
None of my soaps or ingredients are tested on animals, unless you count my family and friends using them!