Sandy Hook Soap Factory

The Sandy Hook Soap Factory believes in full disclosure of ingredients and our handmade production process, welcoming any questions you may have.

On this website we discuss all ingredients in easy to understand terms and common names.  Health Canada regulations require the International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient terms be used on all labeling in Canada.

A grouping of white question marks on a white background.  A bright red question mark in the center of this Sandy Hook Soap Factory Canadian soap maker question page dealing with their home made natural soap process with no chemicals, no preservatives and wholesome ingredients.


Frequently Asked Questions

You May Have Been Afraid to Ask!


Through the years we have had many a great opportunity to speak with clients at craft sales, trade sales, Farmers' Markets and in our gift shop.  We have addressed many of the common questions here but if there is something else you wish to discuss please feel free to contact us at, we love talking soap!


Do ingredients really matter in the soap?

Yes, absolutely!  We use several different vegetable and botanical oils in soap production to effect everything from the moisturizing nature of the soap to the amount of bubbliness the bar produces.  We supplement with nourishing emollient rich ingredients like natural goat milk powder, organic almond butter, organic and fair trade cocoa butter and raw shea butter.  Many using our soaps forego the need to use moisturizing lotions anymore, that in itself speaks volumes. 


What does "natural soap" really mean?

 This is truly a difficult question to answer as there are no guidelines in Canada to define something as being “natural”.  Mind boggling isn't it?  Especially when you think of all of the products out there from food to cosmetics claiming to be “natural” with no set rules and regulations.  We voluntarily adhere to the following guidelines set out by the Natural Ingredient Resource Centre regarding the production of our soap as they promote the truthful representation of natural products in the marketplace:  Soap labeled as "natural soap" may not contain the addition of any synthetic or artificial ingredients including but not limited to artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, man-made vitamins, solvent extracted oils or additional glycerin.   


Why is your soap better than the stuff I buy in the grocery store?

There are just so many reasons! 

A)  Quality ingredients make a quality soap, plain and simple.  Your skin, hair and scalp will feel wonderfully nourished and conditioned when using a product with exceptional wholesome ingredients. 

B)  We create each batch by cold process soap making at the most basic level and are in complete control over the ingredients in our products.  As we are making the product by hand from scratch with no third party involvement in the production we are in total control of the ingredients we choose and can keep the quality and integrity in each and every batch. 

C)  Ingredients, ingredients, ingredients!  Can not stress this enough.  Read the product you are using now, research the ingredient names, do you really want your body to be absorbing these ingredients?  This is the best question you can ask yourself about any personal care product you apply to your skin.  As an example even if you are using a natural soap what is the quality of the Olive Oil they use?  We use first cold pressing extra virgin olive oil in our soaps, love the way it makes the soap feel on the skin.  Costly but worth it, the same olive oil you buy for a good salad dressing.  Most soap makers selling very low priced soaps, and some not all that low priced use Olive Pomace Oil, the cheapest final cut of the olive oil processing ladder which includes the use of solvents to get the final bit of olive oil out of the pulverized olive material.  Another example: we use organic ingredients whenever feasible and ingredients from the health food store over conventional grocery when possible.  Excellent product control with wholesome ingredients with minimal processing vs. mass production with inferior ingredients.  If you ever need to you can speak with me directly, the ingredient purchaser and soap maker producing every recipe of our home made products in small batches by hand.

D)  Our soap, and we speak for ours alone, is truly natural.  We add no dyes, no preservatives, no chemical scents choosing to either not scent or scent our products solely from pure essential oils distilled from plant life.  We do so for many reasons; our health, the health of the environment and from the Environmental Protection Agency Site:  "Of the 10,500 chemical ingredients used in the personal care products, just 11% have been assessed for health and safety. Hundreds of chemicals – some safe and some known to be hazardous – are present in our personal care products. Because countless new compounds are developed each year, it’s hard for consumers to know about them all. The good news is that there are some easy and affordable alternatives available to every consumer."        


Do you use animal fat in your soaps?

No, we make 100% pure vegetable oil soaps.  It is not that we have an aversion to using animal fats as they do have wonderful properties for soaps, it is just impossible to obtain a steady supply of fat from organic or natural operations as they require it for food production.


Do you make glycerin soap?

No, we do not make glycerin soap as it is not a natural soap.  In our method of soap making, cold process soap making, we turn liquid and semi-solid vegetable fats to bar soap.  In this process about one-third of the resulting soap is natural glycerin.  We retain all of the natural glycerin in our soaps.  Some commercial producers extract the natural glycerin to use as an ingredient in hand lotions or inferior quality glycerin soaps.  This practice results in a higher profit for them and without the proper balance of glycerin the integrity of their soap suffers creating a more drying and sometimes irritating bar.


Do you use fragrance oils?

No, we use no fragrance oils, no parfum, no botanical extracts - not now, not ever.  When it comes to scent we offer two varieties of Natural Soap.  Our fully unscented soap will smell only of the ingredients, like Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter or Hemp Oil.  For scenting material in our other bars we use solely Essential Oils distilled from plant life with some natural botanicals like ground organic Lavender flowers or organic Chamomile blossoms adding some scent.  We try to use essential oils documented to be non-sensitizing and non-irritating to the skin and follow many of the recommendations of Julia Lawless of Aqua Oleum of Great Britain.


Do you have fruity smelling soaps like mango and peach?  They are natural aren't they?

No, the only soaps we make which are considered to be “fruity” would be those we have scented with the following Essential Oils: whole fruit steam distilled lime, peel expressed sweet orange or lemon which we use only in our kitchen hand soap due to photo sensitivity concerns.  Mango and peach are not available in natural essential oils.


Do you make soap which will treat Eczema?

No.  Our soaps are pure and gentle and contain wholesome ingredients which feel wonderful on the skin.  There are many emollient hydrating, natural ingredients included in our homemade recipes which have been documented to be non-irritating and beneficial to those with eczema.  We have noted in our write-ups when several clients have reported favourable use of a product, but none of our soaps are meant to be used for treatment purposes.  


Does your soap contain LYE!?!?!

Yes!  All soap contains lye.  Lye is such a misunderstood and feared ingredient and requires some discussion.  To make soap you need three necessary ingredients:  #1 a fat of your choice animal or vegetable, #2 water, and #3 either sodium hydroxide (better known as the dreaded lye) to make bar soap or in the case of liquid or “soft soap” potassium hydroxide is used.  It is the only way to make soap with the soap making process being called saponification. The sodium hydroxide that we use in soap making is of top "food quality" rating at 4x the cost of technical grade used by the majority of soap makers, natural or otherwise.

Now don’t take my word for it, do some research.  Commercial bar makers use more fuzzy terms like “sodium cocoate” which really means sodium hydroxide (lye) with coconut oil or “sodium tallowate” which really means sodium hydroxide (lye) with animal fat.  So you see the lye is still in there they are just using a different term.  Some commercial bar makers will use a third party previously saponified product and the ingredient list will become even murkier, but, if you peel back all the layers of the ingredients lye is still in there!  Such is the nature of soap for about 5000 years.  Now this being said, there are some “soap” bars out there which are truly not soap bars as they contain a higher concentration of other ingredients which makes them truly not a soap anymore.  They are usually called a “cleansing bar” or such on the label.  Those ingredients should also be researched in detail to be understood but that is a whole other subject in itself.  Read ingredients, investigate and try to understand what you are using or eating.  Try to purchase products at as basic a level as possible.  Some of the best advice that I have ever received and much more complicated than anyone could have ever expected.

So back to the original question, yes our soap contains lye.  If soap is made properly, the lye is used up in the saponification process to turn oil into soap. There is no lye present in the finished bars of soap or shampoo. While all real soap must be made with lye, no lye remains in the finished product after saponification.


Do you use natural colourants?

No.  When we first started making our natural soap we committed to a truly natural product which meant from our understanding no colorants, no preservatives and no chemical scents.  Our bars are the natural colours of the ingredients and produce truly lovely shades of white, cream, beige and brown dependant upon the recipe.  We love that look, many tell us it looks delicious and VERY edible like fudge!


Why are ingredients on personal care products in weird hard to read terms?

About eight years ago there was a standardization of terms used for ingredients in cosmetic products called the International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient guide or INCI.  Soap is considered a cosmetic product so labeling must follow the approved INCI terms.  If you produce soap in Canada for sale you must register with Health Canada and supply them with ingredient listings for each and every product offered to the public.  These terms can be ambiguous as they have no descriptive component.  For example:  Olive Oil is required to be listed as: Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil.  This is the only descriptive option which does not distinguish the cut as in Olive Pomace Oil, Pure Olive Oil or the top quality cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  All this means is that it is of more importance than ever to further investigate the ingredients being used to make your personal care products and to make personal inquiries to assure quality and integrity for you and your family.


Do you test your products on animals?

No.  Never have, never will!