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Soap facts

What's so great about natural soap?

Natural soap contains only ingredients found in nature instead of artificial man-made detergents, colours and fragrances. These natural ingredients do a great job of cleaning you without stripping your skin's natural oils, or exposing your biggest organ (your skin!) to man-made and potentially harmful chemicals (like some fragrances).

If well formulated, natural soap can also actively nourish your skin due to the addition of skin-loving oils and butters used in making it. Natural soap is the original, traditional and most delicate way to clean your skin.

Does BAR OF HOPE soap contain harmful ingredients like lye or caustic soda?

In short - no, BAR OF HOPE soap does not contain harmful ingredients. While lye (also called caustic soda or sodium hydroxide) is necessary in the soapmaking process, the end result, which is the soap you buy and use, does not contain any lye. Lye is only used to saponify the oils in order to create soap and once that process is complete, no lye remains in the soap.

But my friend/neighbour/cousin makes soap without lye!

There can be no soap without lye! It is likely they are doing one of two things:

1. Making a detergent.
2. Making a soap using a melt & pour base.

A detergent is not technically a soap. For example, “Dove” is referred to and thought of as a soap by many, but if you look at the packaging, it is labelled a “beauty bar” since it’s actually a synthetic detergent packaged as a soap. When using melt & pour, while you may not be using lye, the soap you are melting for the base was made using lye, otherwise it not be a soap, (making it a synthetic detergent as per 1.).

If someone were to try making 'soap' using only oils and butters, but no lye - then they would end up with a lotion bar and not soap since saponification wouldn't have happened!

Isn't soap drying for the skin?

All BAR OF HOPE soaps are skin-friendly and designed to not only clean well, but also nourish skin. This is achieved by formulating them in a way that a perfect amount of good oils and butters remains after the saponification process. The technical term for this is 'superfat'. These additional oils/fats get released when the soap is used and remain on skin once dried. The result is silky, velvety feeling skin.

The only soaps that are potentially going to be drying on the skin are the household dishwashing or laundry soaps - as you wouldn’t want them to be leaving oily residue on your dishes or fabrics, so they are formulated with a very low superfat. This is compensated for by adding some extra plant-based glycerin to nourish the skin in place of the additional oils.

What is a salt spa soap bar?

Salt bars are soaps enriched with a high amount of salt (anywhere from 10% upwards, depending on desired effect) because of the abundance of beneficial minerals it contains to balance the skin. Salt is known to draw out toxins from the skin, and as a humectant, it allows skin to absorb more moisture. It is great for balancing oily or acne-prone skin, as well as to revive dry skin.

Salt bars tend to be from mildly to vigorously exfoliating, therefore improving blood circulation and well, waking you up!

Is it true that the more a soap bubbles, the better it cleans?

In theory - yes, but in practice - not necessarily! While the oils that are known to produce very bubbly soap are also known to be very cleansing (due to the shortness of the fatty acid chains they contain, but we won’t bore you with the details!), it is possible to formulate very bubbly soap using gentler, less-cleansing or skin oil-stripping oils with bubble-boosting additives like sugar, honey, milk etc.

When formulating soaps using the naturally bubbly high-cleansing oils, it is important to include a higher than usual superfat as to not dry out the skin. All BAR OF HOPE soaps are designed to be reasonably to wildly bubbly, as well as kind to skin.

Is it true that 'natural' soap leaves more of a mess in the shower?

Yes, it's true - but that’s not a bad thing. To help reduce the amount of shower scum, all BAR OF HOPE soaps have added citric acid, which is a plant based and skin-friendly compound. When the citric acid mixes with the lye, it creates potassium citrate which is a chelator - a compound that prevents scum by binding to the impurities in the water, thus preventing oil from binding to them.

The scum is actually from the extra oils and butters that are in the soap in the first place to nourish your skin, give it a natural glow and make it velvety soft. Products that strip away oils from your shower door strip it from your skin, too. And they are technically detergents, not soaps - more on this in the first question on this page.

The residue oil in the shower will very easily come off during your regular shower clean with your cleaning product of choice, including natural or homemade.

Ingredients and process

For a full breakdown of the ingredients used across the BAR OF HOPE range, see the What's Inside page.

You talk about using natural colourants, do you mean like micas?

No, micas (the ones used for colouring soap) aren’t natural colourants. In their original state, yes they are natural, but only until the pigment (colour) is added to them in the lab. The source of the pigment is not always known so in many cases it is synthetic - which renders the mica powder a non-natural ingredient, and therefore not something used in BAR OF HOPE products. BAR OF HOPE products using only botanicals (plants: leaves, flowers, roots), clays and charcoal to achieve different colours.

What are BAR OF HOPE products scented with?

Only natural essential oils are used to scent BAR OF HOPE products, which is why they smell so incredible. No lab/man-made fragrance oils are used.

Essential oils are oils extracted from plants that capture the essence of smell and flavour of the plant. The oils are extracted through either steam/water distillation, or cold pressing. As essential oils can be extremely potent, there is a general usage limit for bath & body products of around 1-4% (in relation to total oil weight used to produce the soap), but some oils can only be used at as low as 0.5% due to potential irritation, such as oils containing eugenol (some of these can be found in the BIG Red soap, used at recommended limits).

All essential oils blends used in BAR OF HOPE products are multi-layered in order to deliver a strong and satisfying olfactory experience during use.

Are BAR OF HOPE soaps made using hot or cold process?

Both of these two different processes are used to make BAR OF HOPE soaps. Depending on specific recipe ingredients, or the end goal for a soap, one or the other might be better suited which is why both are used throughout the full product line.

Hot process is used when incorporating additives that need to be protected from the saponification process, or when wanting to dictate which specific oil or butter should be used as a superfat. Hot process also preserves a lot more of the benefits of any botanicals or essential oils added to the soap. Cold process, on the other hand, allows for more intricate designs or embeds, like the Terrazzo soaps.

Each process produces a different looking or textured soap (cold process soap is smoother and ‘prettier’ and hot process is a lot more rustic looking), but in the end, it’s all great soap!

Are your products vegetarian/vegan?

The entire BAR OF HOPE range is currently vegetarian, and all the soaps are also vegan. The lotion bars use beeswax as the hardener in order to not have to package the lotions into jars. Beeswax is the most skin-loving option, but they can be made using vegan waxes (for example, Candelilla wax) on request.

We love and respect animals and only use non-vegetarian/vegan ingredients when they are the best choice for the purpose of the product. Any non-vegetarian/vegan ingredients used are from reputable, sustainable and animal-respecting sources.

Is BAR OF HOPE an ethical, sustainable business?

Absolutely, yes. From the start, everything about BAR OF HOPE was designed to be as sustainable as possible and we continuously look for better, more sustainable ways to source ingredients, and create and package products. All the products are designed to help you avoid use of plastic and we reuse wherever possible in order to avoid waste. For example, the dishwashing soap is poured into second-hand teacups as a plastic-free alternative to traditional dishwashing detergent used in most households.

Minimum packaging is used for all the products. Second-hand fabric is sourced from local op-shops to make the beeswax wraps for lotion bars, used and no longer needed books (such as out of date textbooks) are used for all the soap wrapping, and paper and padding from ingredient deliveries is used for postage packaging.

All orders are posted in plastic-free compostable (both home and commercially) bags from r3pack. These are just some of the measures we take to ensure we minimise waste as much as possible and operate in the most sustainable, feasible way. We are learning and innovating all the time!

We also pay careful attention when selecting suppliers, for example - our coconut oil supplier, Pure Coco, is a family owned and operated small business based in New Zealand, working directly with villages in Fiji and Asia.

We have chosen to support The Salvation Army by regularly donating soap for food parcels and to be sold in shops.

Your experience

Your experience is at the heart of how we approach the design of every single product. Below is some key information, but there is more on our Soap care page.

How long does BAR OF HOPE soap last?

That’s like asking “how long is a piece of string?”! The soap's lifespan will depend on a few things: how much it gets used, how well it’s drained and kept dry between uses, how well cured it is, and the recipe. The curing and recipe is something we control, but careful storage is something you need to help us with. Read more in our Soap care page.

Why does my skin feel 'squeaky' in the shower, but then soft once I dry?

'Superfat' is the technical term for the amount of good oils and butters left in the soap after the saponification process, which are released when you use the soap and stay on your skin. While in the shower, those nourishing butters and fats will feel 'squeaky' on your skin because of the water. As soon as you dry off with a towel, your skin will feel velvety soft.

I have allergies. Can I use BAR OF HOPE products?

We recommend that you read all the information on the relevant product pages or labels prior to purchase or use, especially if you have any known allergies. BAR OF HOPE products contain only natural ingredients, but if you have a known allergy to one of them then please do not buy and use that product.

BAR OF HOPE soap kitchen is not a dedicated nut, gluten or other potential allergen free manufacturing space so we do not claim to be allergen free.

Some of BAR OF HOPE products contain nut exfoliants, oils and butters, and some have wheat based or gluten containing ingredients.

Some products contain small amounts of essential oils (maximum of 3% per amount of oil, so less than 3% of the total soap). Please make sure to read all ingredients carefully.

If you're pregnant or suffer from any skin related medical condition, please check the ingredients with your health care professional prior to use.

The ingredients will list the exact essential oils contained in that product.

Can I get skin irritations or reactions from BAR OF HOPE products?

With anything that gets applied to skin, we recommend patch testing on a small area first. We're all individually unique so what works for one, may not work for another.

Shipping and refunds

There is a flat fee charge of $5 for NZ wide delivery, and free NZ delivery for orders over $70. For detailed information, please review the Shipping & Refunds policy, or read on for some frequently asked questions.

How quickly can I expect my order to arrive?

Orders are normally shipped within 3 business days, at the latest, but generally 1-2 business days. Once shipped, you will receive an email with the tracking link and, if you provided your phone number at checkout, you'll receive an SMS.

Can I get a refund if I'm not happy?

Due to the nature of our products, we generally can't offer returns or refunds. But our customers' feedback is extremely important to us, so we will do our best to accommodate you if possible.

Can I pick up to avoid shipping costs?

Yes, you can. Once you get to checkout, you can select the pick-up option and, based on the address, decide if that's your preference.

Is your packaging sustainable?

Absolutely. Our courier bags are non-plastic and both home and commercially compostable. All the other packaging materials are reused and/or home compostable. We encourage you to keep whatever you can and keep reusing.