We would love to hear from you! Please contact us to submit your questions.

Is your soap made with lye?

All soap is made with some form of lye, whether it is sodium hydroxide (for hard bar natural soaps) or potassium hydroxide (for natural liquid soaps). All others are made with surfactants which will be addressed later. Simply speaking, soap is made from oils and water, which (as you know) don’t mix, and it needs a catalyst to bring them together to make soap. Ultimately, when the process changes the oil and water and one of the hydroxides, it no longer contains those three separate ingredients. Instead, it has become a sodium or potassium fatty acid salt, the technical/chemical term for what we call soap. Properly formulated natural soap will contain no free lye. Because of the vegetable oils, and the glycerin produced by the process, the soap will be more moisture-producing than commercial soaps (more on this later).

What is it made of?

We are often asked what my soap is made from, or what oils we use. Every oil has eight or more qualities that contribute to a finished bar of soap. Ideally, we want a hard, long-lasting bar that has nice, fluffy, stable lather that is cleansing but doesn’t leave us feeling dry. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Our bars are all that and more! We can tell you that it has taken years of experience to achieve the proper balance of ingredients that our customers have come to love. They are not the most expensive oils (Manni brand olive oil blended from low yield trees on small estates by hand) nor the cheapest (sunflower or soy, which is most abundant and the least expensive.) The oils we use are selected because of the properties we want in a bar and formulated to achieve those balances we’ve just listed. All of our product ingredients are listed on the Ingredients section of our webpage.

How long does it last?

This is an excellent question to which we respond (tongue firmly in cheek), “How often do you bathe?” Everyone’s use is different, but we are happy to report that the overwhelming majority of our customers say their soap lasts a long time. Occasionally we hear that it “used up fast,” but not very often. We always try to remind our customers of the best care of their soap. First, keep it well-drained and out of puddles of water. Second, nylon net scrubbies work better than a traditional washcloth. We also like to point out that a bar of our soap costs about the same as a cup from your favorite coffee bar, and lasts a lot longer! We think it’s a reasonable indulgence! We can honestly say that we’ve personally never used a complete bar (we use all the soap scraps!).

Are your soaps natural?

The Food and Drug Administration has never defined what the term “natural” would be pertaining to personal care. Primarily, “natural” is a marketing term. Where Iowa Naturals is concerned we can promise that we make every effort to provide our customers with ingredients that have been researched to produce the best products. All of our soaps that are formulated with plant-based essential oils as indicated in our literature and are 100% “natural.” The fragrance oils we use are approved for use in personal care products, are standardized for use by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, and are safe.

Some of your products have chemicals in them. Why?

First of all, everything in our existence is a chemical—water is a chemical, air is a chemical. Not all chemicals are bad. Knowing what is behind that chemical word is important in understanding what that particular ingredient is for and where it came from. Adding to the confusion in understanding the ingredients is the requirement of the Food and Drug Administration for us to label ingredients in a certain way called INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient). This is also to standardize the names of ingredients so they are recognized by many people across the globe and is under the directive of the Food and Drug Administration in the USA. We make every effort to research our ingredients and select those that will benefit our customers. And, in our ingredients section we make every effort to identify where an ingredient is derived from.

What about Parabens?

If you were to Google parabens you would get so many hits it would take a very, very long time to read them all and do the research. And, you may still come away confused and unsure. It took us a very long time to research and understand making lotions and crèmes and make them available to our customers because of this controversy. We wanted to do the right thing. After carefully weighing pros and cons we comfortably went forward assured in the fact that we were doing all we could to responsibly present a product that was safe. While parabens are the most widely used preservative system in the world each individual needs to decide for themselves the path to take. We at Iowa Naturals promise that the products we make available to you are made with your utmost care and safety. For those that wish to do some reading about parabens we’ve listed some websites for you to look at.


You mentioned surfactants? What are they?

First of all, surfactants are not a bad thing, at least not all of them. A surfactant, or, surface active agent is classified into two types, petrochemicals (petroleum) and oleochemicals (fats and oils). Surfactants derived from oils are what we use in our liquid soap formulations and they are totally biodegradeable. Surfactants, like hard bar soap, have water loving capabilities (hydrophilic) and  water hating capabilities (hydrophobic) which enables them to mix with water, lift dirt and oils and keep them dispersed until rinsed away. Synthetic detergents are associated with surfactants as a nasty thing resulting from the scare of phosphates leaking into our water systems in the mid seventies. So, plant based (remember, oleochemicals) surfactants are a good thing.

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