Ask us ANYTHING
Any niggling questions or nagging doubts? Just in case, we’ve done our best to anticipate and answer these below, we’ve also prepared some super-informative material about the ‘usual suspects’ you’ll find in your everyday cosmetics, just to keep you in the loop.
How did you decide on what ingredients were good to go into soaper duper formulations and which were not?
It was easy. Our super-chemist, in addition to being a genius, is a mum. So when we were working through the labyrinth of formulating ‘naturally derived’ for a believable budget, her litmus test (no scientific double-meaning intended) was to ask herself whether she’d be comfortable using each of our ingredients, every day, on her young son. Found truth: there’s nothing like a bit of parental guilt simulation to keep your cosmetic chemistry on the straight and narrow!
What’s the difference between a natural ingredient and a naturally derived ingredient?
The term ‘naturally derived’ is newer, and necessary, because the bubble has burst on brands who claim that synthetic-plus-a-small-twist-of-plant-oil = natural. Legislators have tightened up on packaging claims, so watch for a lot of rewording on brands ‘formerly known as natural’. Many natural ingredients in their unfettered form can be smelly, unstable, difficult to mix, and not always very aesthetic. Think about it, skunk spray is natural (composed mainly of three low-molecular-weight thiol compounds, (E)-2-butene-1-thiol, 3-methyl-1-butanethiol, and2-quinolinemethanethiol, as well as acetate thioesters of these) but it doesn’t do beans for your dry and flaky shin skin.
According to ISO*, an ingredient can be labelled as naturally derived (which means it comes from a natural material but is then modified to make the final usable product) if at least 50% of its molecular weight (flashback to 8th grade science class, right?) is from a natural source.
SOAPER DUPER products have very high percentages of naturally derived ingredients, are delivered in jumbo servings, and have been manufactured with as few compromises as we could (to the customer, to the cost, and to the environment). We’re very proud of our products and would challenge other cosmetic companies (big and small) to start thinking cleaner and greener!
*ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 163 national standards bodies, that brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards, and give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency… ISO has published more than 21,000 International Standards and related documents, covering almost every industry, from technology to food safety, to agriculture and healthcare.
Do you test on animals?
At SOAPER DUPER , we do not believe in or authorize animal testing for our products or the ingredients that go into our products. (This means we do not do animal testing, our suppliers do not do animal testing, nor do we pay people to do animal testing for us). Each of our product information files contains a declaration from the supplier that their products are not tested on animals, and that the ingredients comply with the European Ban on Animal Testing which has been in place since 2009.
Are Soaper Duper products organic?
No, at SOAPER DUPER we have not tried to create products that are organic. Because to be labelled as organic, ingredients have to be grown without pesticides, in controlled soil that has undergone a five-year wash-out period prior to planting. All organic ingredients have to be certified – as do the factories that use them – by THE SOIL ASSOCIATION, an added cost that we would rather use to put great stuff into our products. All-organic cosmetic and toiletry formulations are notoriously difficult, because organic ingredient options are so limited and not all unprocessed organic ingredients mix well to make ‘nice-to-use’ textures. What we have done is focused on including naturally derived ingredients wherever we can, without compromising on our ‘budget- friendly’ ethos, our ‘free-from-the-usual-suspects’ ingredient lists, and (obviously) our quality.
Are Soaper Duper products vegan?
We haven’t formulated SOAPER DUPER products to be vegan, but can say that we don’t test
our products on animals nor do we use animal by-products in any of our formulations. Important to note, for purists out there who are parsing, is that products don’t have to be at all natural to be labelled as vegan (plastic microbeads, for instance, which end up in the ocean and are killing scores of fish because they look like food, can technically be classified as vegan).
Are Soaper Duper fragrances all-natural?
In fact, no, and here’s why: while most of our fragrances do include some naturals, experience has taught us that pure plant oils can often cause skin sensitivity and some contain higher levels of allergens. (Think about it, the most potent poisons on earth are ‘natural’.) Man-made, or mixed-fragrance, compounds are often safer, and we can control them from batch to batch to reduce any potential skin reactions. (Our fragrances are also phthalate-free, which according to our chemist, is an impressive achievement.) Also, as we’re unwavering on our ‘clean & green at affordable prices’ positioning, loading our formulas up with weather-sensitive essential plant oils would be, from a reliable ingredient supply/steady price perspective, a bit reckless. (We were going to say rash, but thought maybe bad choice of words, given the subject matter.)
What is Soaper Duper’s position on plastic?
That’s simple: we think there’s enough of it in the world already. So whenever we can – and we’ve done really well so far – we use recycled plastic, where possible, and we choose packaging formats that can easily be rinsed and recycled. Nobody has figured out (yet) how to make a 100% recycled plastic tube that doesn’t fold, crinkle and crack. So we only have 55% recycled plastic in our tubes, but we’re working on the rest.
Do any of Soaper Duper’s formulas contain plastic microbeads?
Not one. (Plus, we’re trying to persuade all of our suppliers to refuse to include them in any brand’s product. Because there’s nothing like a bit of positive action peer pressure!)
What’s suspect about sodium laureth sulfate (Sls/aka Sles)?
SLES is an inexpensive anionic (negatively charged) surfactant that’s used in a lot of soaps, shower gels, shampoos – and yes, even toothpastes – to make things foam. Here’s the issue with it, according to our chemist (who we love because she’s remarkably logical and will have a layman’s explanation for pretty much anything we ask her): the head of an SLES molecule loves water, but the tail hates it. So when SLES comes into contact with something greasy (like the oil/sebum that naturally exists on our skin) they act like they do around water and stick in their tails. Your skin cells don’t all fall off every time you wash, right? So SLES molecules can stay entrenched in skin because the tails are stuck. SLES residue can cause chronic dryness, irritation and reduce the skin’s ability to repair its barrier.
What’s suspect about Benzophenone?
BENZOPHENONE-2, or “BP-2”, is a sunscreen ingredient (surfers, take note) that has been shown – at even very low concentrations – to kill juvenile corals, cause colourful corals to bleach and increase the frequency of mutation in corals. As BP–2 is not removed at the level of most municipal wastewater treatment facilities (something we might hope for in the future), when you shower it off your skin, it ends up being released into coastal waters, and – especially in the Caribbean and Indo–Pacific (where we all hope we’ll eventually holiday) – it threatens near–shore coral reefs. Scan your prospective sunscreen choice for BENZOPHENONES, people! It’s easy to avoid them.
What’s suspect about Cocamide DEA?
Cocamide DEA is a high-irritation-potential foaming agent that is used to thicken bath and shower gels, made from the reaction of coconut oil fatty acids with diethanolamine. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorises Cocamide DEA as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ and The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment includes Cocamide DEA on its list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer. At Soaper Duper, we’ve used natural soap bark, plant, and shea butter-based surfactants to get things foaming up instead. Why worry, right?
What’s suspect about MIT?
MIT(or methylisothiazolinone) is a powerful biocide and preservative that has long been used in a wide range of personal care products. MIT was originally employed for use in rinse-off toiletry products (like shower gels and shampoos), but enthusiastic chemists began to use it as a preservative in leave-ons (like body lotions and facial moisturizing formulas) and it then also became popular as a preservative in household products (like wall paints and appliance cleaners). So popular, in fact, had MIT become, that its use had doubled during the first decade of the 21st century – unfortunately creating overload sensitization problems for some, and a marked increase in the incidence of allergic contact dermatitis and eczema. MIT is now banned from being used in leave-on products in Europe and Canada.
What's suspect about Phthalates?
Phthalates (or phthalate esters) are mostly used as plasticizers to increase flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity in plastics. And while it’s next to impossible to eliminate exposure to all phthalates (because flexible plastics are all around us – phthalates have been found in 100% of people tested) women who are exposed to high levels of phthalate–containing cosmetics may be at a higher risk for potential adverse health effects. Phthalates are also suspected to have a disruptive effect on the endocrine system – high doses have been shown to change hormone levels and cause birth defects. The ‘suspect’ related activity list for phthalates is extensive, use of them is now restricted in the USA and the EU, and the ‘health capital of the world’ (The State of California) has listed the phthalates BBP, DBP, DEHP, DiDP, and DnHP on the Proposition 65 list of chemicals “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm”.
What's suspect about Triclosan
Sure, a hand sanitizer will work well if it’s got Triclosan in it, because Triclosan stops bacteria from
breeding. The suspect issue is that the residue that washes off when Triclosan trickles down the drain (when we eventually wash our hands the old–fashioned but effective soap and water way) continues to kill natural flora and manageable natural microbes (in fact, Triclosan was first registered as a pesticide, and used widely as an industrial chemical (in everything from toys to toothbrushes). According to the FDA ‘Animal studies show that Triclosan alters hormone regulation’ and ‘other studies have raised the possibility that Triclosan contributes to making bacteria resistant to antibiotics’. As of today, there is ‘no evidence that Triclosan provides an extra benefit to soaps and body washes over washing with regular soap and water’ and there is evidence that it can contaminate wastewater, so at Soaper Duper, we’re opting out of it!
What's the Soaper Duper view on mineral oil?
Not that we profess to be a ‘jury’, but at Soaper Duper, we believe that ‘the jury’s still out’ on mineral oil. Because while some sources say that cosmetic grades of mineral oil – which are highly refined and purified – are safe, tested, and risk–free, naturalists opine that long-term use of mineral oil, which is a petroleum-based product, can lead to a build-up of related toxins in the skin, the effects of which are still unknown. In acne–prone people, mineral oil – being an occlusive – can occasionally (but not always) exacerbate issues. On the other hand, cosmetic grade mineral oil can act as a barrier and prevent dehydration, so is an excellent ingredient for use on chronic dry and flaky skin. To mineral oil or not to mineral oil, that is still the question. So at Soaper Duper, we’ve played it safe, left it out of our equation, and managed to make a range of marvellously affordable moisturizers without including it.
Some people say that silicones are bad. Why do your handcreams contain dimethicone?
Dimethicone is a silicone but we have no problems formulating with it. It’s a very big molecule,
doesn’t penetrate into the skin, and gives a really nice fresh, airy moisturizing feeling without being heavy or shiny. There are no environmental concerns surrounding Dimethicone as an ingredient, or in rinse–off, and so we’ve included it (and reckon it has helped us make what we think is the best non-greasy miracle moisturizing hand cream ever).
I'd like to know more about Laureth-4
Laureth–4 is a polyoxyether of lauryl alcohol (have we lost all you non-chemistry heads at hello?)
that acts as a surfactant and a solubilizer, or mixing agent. We use it to solubilize and encapsulate our fragrance, so that it mixes consistently into our bulk formulations (fragrances are oily and can end up floating on top of products if they aren’t properly mixed). Imagine the boredom at the bottom of your unfragrant jar of body butter. Laureth–4 at present industry standard practices of use and concentration has been evaluated by the Cosmetic Industry Review panel (which is a USA–based body that assesses and reviews the safety of ingredients in cosmetics) and concluded to be safe.
What have we got against artificial colours?
Listen, we all love our makeup and hair colourants, but artificial colours can release molecules that can be irritating and toxic, and while that fabulous bright blue may be irresistible in an eyeshadow, it won’t offer any added benefit to you in body lotion. Natural colourants – the other option – tend to act naturally. They change and fade under UV exposure, and can make their formulations look unstable or out-of-date, even if they’re nifty and new. So natural colours are generally a ‘no-go’, and artificial colours, well, why would we?
Do you use palm oil in your products?
At Soaper Duper, we do not use palm oil and, whenever possible avoid using palm oil derivatives. When we can’t avoid using materials that are palm-oil derived we do everything we can to ensure that the palm oil used is RSPO certified.
It’s also important to consider that vegetable oils are often used for their fatty acids in the reactions needed to create other ingredients – many that appear completely unrelated to oils or palm oil on the ingredient list- and this is true across the cosmetic industry and across many other industries (most which do not require ingredient listings, and therefore don’t incur the same scrutiny as the cosmetics industry.
Cosmetic vegetable oils are always a blend of commodity oils -which could be sunflower, rapeseed, coconut or palm oil- and are extremely difficult if not near impossible to trace the source of with 100% accuracy.
So wherever our chemists can, they source accordingly. But sometimes they have to choose between two suboptimal options, keeping in mind that our mission is twofold: to raise awareness, and to offer beauty products that are cleaner and greener and that our customers can actually afford.
The good news? The cosmetic industry is in a constant state of improvement.
New ingredients come in daily. And at Soaper Duper, we are incorporating everything possible to ensure we achieve our mission to be perfectly luxurious and gloriously guilt-free.
We applaud you (for worrying about it as much as we do).