With the growing trend of DIY skincare, there are numerous recipes sharing online and on social medias, and many people get free recipes from these sources.  The internet can be a very useful source for free recipes, but it can also be an unreliable source.  Here, I list out some answers to some of the most common misconceptions;

1. Essential Oil vs Fragrance Oil

This has to be No.1 on the list.  People would come into the shop and ask if our oils are pure, then they would ask for special flavors such as, chocolate, rain forest, ocean, strawberry, mountain...etc.  Most of the time these flavors are not natural, they are artificially made fragrance oils (except for essential oil blend name).  Fragrance oils are made for the specific aroma, and it does not have any health or skin benefits.  Infact, they may cause irritation or discomfort to some sensitive people.

Beware !  There are dishonest sellers sell fragrance oil and claiming it pure essential oils.  As a result, people get irritations from using fake essential oils.  We recommend people to buy only from reputable sellers and do not purchase cheap oils.

2. Use Oil free products:

This is the second most common misconceoption on the list.  People automatically associating oil to breakouts. The lack of oil content in the skin can actually cause overdrying.  Overdrying will induce the skin to produce excess oil and causing congestion or breakouts.  

3. Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, and Lye:

The misconception of lye, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or caustic soda of being a harmful ingredient in soap.  The answer is NO ! All real soap are made out of oils, butters, fats, grease, lye and water.  Sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide are mixed with water to create the lye in order to make soap.  No Lye = No Soap !  No lye remain in the finished product after saponification, and therefore handmade soaps are safe for the skin.

Read the ingredient label, and you will find these similar terms simply meaning oils mixed with lye,

  • saponified oils: oils that are mixed with sodium hydroxide and water (lye).
  • sodium olivate (oils): the generic name for the mixture of olive oil with sodium hydroxide and water (lye).

In the old days when sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide were not exist, people use potash to make lye to make soap.

4. Emollients vs Humectants

Emollients, are ingredients that soften the skin and seal in moisture. Humectants, are ingredients that attract water to the skin. That's why we recommend serum before oil.  The serum to hydrate the skin, then use the oil to soften the skin and retain moisture.

5. Antioxidants vs Preservatives

  • Antioxidants do not have anti-microbial qualities.  Antioxidants only delay the oxidation of oils.
  • Preservatives slow the growth of microbes to prevent contamination in product.
  • Common preservatives are effective and easy to use, but maynot be suitable for organic formulation.
  • Natural preservatives are mild and gentle on the skin however they maybe less effective, usually work under pH 5.5.
  • Vitamin E, Rosemary Extract, and Grapeseed Extract are not preservatives, they are antioxidants.

Preservation is a very complex issue.  When formulating natural products, the choice of preservatives are limited and they are not as effective and user friendly as common preservatives.

6. Emulsions

  • Oil and Water do not mix together, an emulsifier is needed to bring them together.
  • Oil in Water (O/W) - Oil being surrounded by water. For example: lotion and cream.
  • Water in Oil (W/O) - Water being surrounded by oil. For example: sunscreen, and makeup.
  • The ratio between water and oil does not determine whether you have an oil-in-water or water-in-oil emulsion.
  • Most emulsifiers are synthetic or derived from natural plants.
  • Generally speaking, water content at 60% - 80% for both O/W or W/O.
  • Many people mistakenly use emulsifier to add body.

7. Thickeners

Thickeners are used to create thickness to the product, many people mistakenly use excessive emulsifier to add thickness to the product.  Thickeners can be water soluble and oil soluble for adding into water phase and oil phase.

8. Colorants

  • Natural botanical powders, from seeds, leaves, shells, stems, roots, and plant materials.
  • Dyes, color additives that add color to the product and can stain.
  • Pigments, color additives that adds color to the product but do not stain.
  • Lakes, mixture of pigments and dyes.
  • Micas, micas are natural minerals to provide shimmer and shine.  They are usually colored with dyes, pigments, or lakes.
  • FD&C colorants,are manufactured artificially. They are easy to use & control, and have a wide selection of colors. They are coded representing different colors.
    • FD&C = Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics
    • D&C = Drugs and Cosmetics
  • Oxides & Ultramarines, they are pigments artificially made in lab.

9. Soap

Marseille Soap: No, we don't make Marseille soap.  Authentic Marseille soaps are made in Marseille, France using the traditional method which carry out in large coultrons, and the "72%" does not mean "72% olive oil", it means 72% saponified vegetable oil.

Cold Processed Soap: They require at least 2 months curing time to lower its pH, and for the water to evaporate.

Liquid Soap: Most conventional liquid soaps are mass produced using mixture of water, surfactants, foaming agent, and preservatives.  However, our liquid soap, shower gel, and cleansing foam are made using the traditional method which involves oils and lye to create the soap base, and then diluting the soap base with water to turn into liquid soap.  This method is similar to cold process soap making and it is very time consuming.  The result is great, and our customers love them.

Distillate: Pure Distillate is the by-product of essential oil from steam-distillation. Floral Water Mixture is a mixture of essential oil, solubilizer, and de-foamer. Pure lavender distillate from steam distillation smells nothing like the lavender essential oil, it is more a sweet and grassy smell.

With the growing trend of DIY skincare, there are numerous recipes sharing online and on social medias, and many people get free recipes from these sources.  The internet can be a very useful source for free recipes, but it can also be an unreliable source.  Here, I list out some answers to some of the most common misconceptions;

1. Essential Oil vs Fragrance Oil

This has to be No.1 on the list.  People would come into the shop and ask if our oils are pure, then they would ask for special flavors such as, chocolate, rain forest, ocean, strawberry, mountain...etc.  Most of the time these flavors are not natural, they are artificially made fragrance oils (except for essential oil blend name).  Fragrance oils are made for the specific aroma, and it does not have any health or skin benefits.  Infact, they may cause irritation or discomfort to some sensitive people.

Beware !  There are dishonest sellers sell fragrance oil and claiming it pure essential oils.  As a result, people get irritations from using fake essential oils.  We recommend people to buy only from reputable sellers and do not purchase cheap oils.

2. Use Oil free products:

This is the second most common misconceoption on the list.  People automatically associating oil to breakouts. The lack of oil content in the skin can actually cause overdrying.  Overdrying will induce the skin to produce excess oil and causing congestion or breakouts.  

3. Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, and Lye:

The misconception of lye, sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, or caustic soda of being a harmful ingredient in soap.  The answer is NO ! All real soap are made out of oils, butters, fats, grease, lye and water.  Sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide are mixed with water to create the lye in order to make soap.  No Lye = No Soap !  No lye remain in the finished product after saponification, and therefore handmade soaps are safe for the skin.

Read the ingredient label, and you will find these similar terms simply meaning oils mixed with lye,

  • saponified oils: oils that are mixed with sodium hydroxide and water (lye).
  • sodium olivate (oils): the generic name for the mixture of olive oil with sodium hydroxide and water (lye).

In the old days when sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide were not exist, people use potash to make lye to make soap.

4. Emollients vs Humectants

Emollients, are ingredients that soften the skin and seal in moisture. Humectants, are ingredients that attract water to the skin. That's why we recommend serum before oil.  The serum to hydrate the skin, then use the oil to soften the skin and retain moisture.

5. Antioxidants vs Preservatives

  • Antioxidants do not have anti-microbial qualities.  Antioxidants only delay the oxidation of oils.
  • Preservatives slow the growth of microbes to prevent contamination in product.
  • Common preservatives are effective and easy to use, but maynot be suitable for organic formulation.
  • Natural preservatives are mild and gentle on the skin however they maybe less effective, usually work under pH 5.5.
  • Vitamin E, Rosemary Extract, and Grapeseed Extract are not preservatives, they are antioxidants.

Preservation is a very complex issue.  When formulating natural products, the choice of preservatives are limited and they are not as effective and user friendly as common preservatives.

6. Emulsions

  • Oil and Water do not mix together, an emulsifier is needed to bring them together.
  • Oil in Water (O/W) - Oil being surrounded by water. For example: lotion and cream.
  • Water in Oil (W/O) - Water being surrounded by oil. For example: sunscreen, and makeup.
  • The ratio between water and oil does not determine whether you have an oil-in-water or water-in-oil emulsion.
  • Most emulsifiers are synthetic or derived from natural plants.
  • Generally speaking, water content at 60% - 80% for both O/W or W/O.
  • Many people mistakenly use emulsifier to add body.

7. Thickeners

Thickeners are used to create thickness to the product, many people mistakenly use excessive emulsifier to add thickness to the product.  Thickeners can be water soluble and oil soluble for adding into water phase and oil phase.

8. Colorants

  • Natural botanical powders, from seeds, leaves, shells, stems, roots, and plant materials.
  • Dyes, color additives that add color to the product and can stain.
  • Pigments, color additives that adds color to the product but do not stain.
  • Lakes, mixture of pigments and dyes.
  • Micas, micas are natural minerals to provide shimmer and shine.  They are usually colored with dyes, pigments, or lakes.
  • FD&C colorants,are manufactured artificially. They are easy to use & control, and have a wide selection of colors. They are coded representing different colors.
    • FD&C = Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics
    • D&C = Drugs and Cosmetics
  • Oxides & Ultramarines, they are pigments artificially made in lab.

9. Soap

Marseille Soap: No, we don't make Marseille soap.  Authentic Marseille soaps are made in Marseille, France using the traditional method which carry out in large coultrons, and the "72%" does not mean "72% olive oil", it means 72% saponified vegetable oil.

Cold Processed Soap: They require at least 2 months curing time to lower its pH, and for the water to evaporate.

Liquid Soap: Most conventional liquid soaps are mass produced using mixture of water, surfactants, foaming agent, and preservatives.  However, our liquid soap, shower gel, and cleansing foam are made using the traditional method which involves oils and lye to create the soap base, and then diluting the soap base with water to turn into liquid soap.  This method is similar to cold process soap making and it is very time consuming.  The result is great, and our customers love them.

Distillate: Pure Distillate is the by-product of essential oil from steam-distillation. Floral Water Mixture is a mixture of essential oil, solubilizer, and de-foamer. Pure lavender distillate from steam distillation smells nothing like the lavender essential oil, it is more a sweet and grassy smell.