Does Lye Soap truly meet Organic Standard to be called organic soap?
In the attend of getting my lye soap organically certified, I found out during my search and talk with USDA local agent and USDA approved agencies, the following facts:
- USDA only certifies agriculture products.
- USDA doesn’t regulate cosmetic products therefore, it doesn’t certify them.
- Some agencies in the case of cosmetic products NSF are authorized by USDA to certify cosmetic products. However, these agencies standard is different from USDA one.
- A cosmetic product can be certified organic if its organic ingredients equal or exceed 90% of total ingredients.
- Water is not considered organic. From this point and above, lye soap failed to meet organic requirement. For, water alone can account for 38% of oils used in order to truly dissolve the Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) for the Lye solution. A less percentage can be used. However, less than 20% water ratio to oil could result in high concentration of the lye solution to the point that the sodium hydroxide won’t dissolve completely and therefore be present in the final soap.
- With 70% of organic ingredients in the product, it can be stated in the title “as product made with organic ingredients” and list up to 3 ingredients. Even with hand made lye soap with 38% water to oil failed this requirement. For, in addition to the water, the sodium hydroxide the third ingredient in lye soap after oil, distilled water, makes the non organic ingredients in lye soap to account for more than 30%.
- For less than 70% of organic ingredients, the product should not be call organic nor made with organic ingredients in the title. Only the organic ingredients can be stated in the ingredient statement. Therefore, technically, lye soap can not be called organic soap. The organic ingredients can only be stated in the ingredients statement.
- How some soap makers list their soaps organic? Some could make tea with water and organic herbs before making the lye solution and called the tea organic. These are exceptions to the rules. The bottom line is certified organic soap is not the only criteria consumers should base their judgement where making their buying decision. I will urge you to read the ingredients to see if you are comfortable with the ingredients in the soap you are buying. I personally list all my ingredients in detail and in order to allow my clients to be aware of what Nina’s Soap is made off. As I shop for my ingredients though, I value organic oils over any other type. I even call my suppliers for clarification.
As for being certified organic, I might do it someday, as for the moment I prefer to be true to myself and my products and let my clients decide for themselves.