What Fats & Oils We Use in Our Soaps
Research shows that our skin absorbs 68% to 95% of what we put on it. So Blue Mountain Soapworks uses only the finest organic oils and butters to handcraft healing, nourishing, and moisturizing soaps. Commercial soaps use only isolated fatty acids, harmful and toxic chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and known carcinogens. Pamper yourself – feed your skin & delight your senses with our natural and organic soaps instead!
Here are the fats and oils you will find in Blue Mountain Soapworks’ soaps and what they can do for you & your skin:
- Almond Oil, Sweet (Prunus dulcis) – expeller-pressed from Almond nuts. Sweet Almond Oil is a great moisturizer, makes a stable lather and helps condition the skin.
- Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca) – is expressed from apricot kernels. It absorbs nicely into the skin and is a good luxury moisturizing oil in soap. It’s high in Vitamin E and is gentle enough for a baby’s delicate skin.
- Avocado Oil/Butter (Persea americana) – Oil from the pulp of the fruit of the avocado tree. Although it is categorized as a vegetable oil, the avocado is really a fruit since it has a stone. Jamaica has abundant avocado trees (we call the fruit a “Pear”) and the fruits grow quite large! The fatty flesh is rich in fat, protein, and vitamins A, D and E, lecithin and potassium. The high sterolins in the avocado pear are highly moisturizing and said to reduce age spots and alleviate scars and sun damage. Studies have indicated that avocado oil increases the collagen in our skin, which we lose as we age. It can also relieve the itching and dryness of psoriasis and eczema.
- Babassu Oil (Attalea speciosa) – Babassu oil is a clear light yellow vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the Babassu palm which grows in the Amazon region of South America. It is increasingly being used as a substitute for coconut oil because its properties are very similar. It’s a wonderful emollient that is beneficial for both dry and oily complexions, because it gently moisturizes the skin without contributing to oil production. It’s especially helpful for eczema, itchy, dry and inflamed skin. It also makes a great massage oil. It creates a mild soap with good lather.
- Borage Seed Oil (Borago officinalis) – expeller-pressed from the seeds of the Borage, or Starflower, plant. This oil is high in linoleic and gamma linolenic acids (also known as vitamin F). It is easily absorbed by the skin so it doesn’t leave a greasy residue. It conditions and moisturizes, and is well-suited for dry, sun-damaged, mature skin, or for conditions such as eczema. It also produces a nice lathering soap.
- Calendula Oil (Calendula officinalis) – is made by infusing the petals of the calendula or Pot Marigold plant into a vegetable oil such as olive or almond. It has many therapeutic benefits and is known to promote the healing of a variety of types of skin damage (burns, wounds, dry skin, diaper rash). It has regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties, soothes dry, chapped skin and is gentle enough to use in baby skin care products.
- Canola Oil (Brassica campestris) – cold-pressed from the seeds of the rapeseed plant. Canola oil gives a nice, low, creamy lather and is a good moisturizer. It’s high in minerals and vitamins and is suitable for all skin types.
- Castor Oil (Ricinus communis) – pale-colored oil extracted from castor oil beans. The shrub is native to tropical Africa and Asia but was also a favorite as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans! Castor Oil is very common in Jamaica where it is also called “Oil Nut”. Castor Oil acts as a humectant, helping the skin and hair to attract and retain moisture. A Jamaican “bush” remedy uses castor oil to reduce liver spots on skin.
- Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao) – a pale yellow fat obtained from dried and naturally fermented cocoa beans. Jamaica has quite an abundant cocoa crop and is one of only a handful of countries in the Western Hemisphere that produce & export what the ICCO (International Cocoa Organization) calls “fine and flavor” cocoa – the basis for almost all high-end chocolate sold in the world! So how can it be anything but good for our skin?!! 50 to 60% of a cocoa bean consists of cocoa butter, which is used as a base for chocolate manufacture. The residue, after extraction of the butter, is used to make cocoa powder. In cosmetics, it is used as an ointment base, skin softener and protectant. Cocoa butter is a natural antioxidant, emollient, and moisturizer. It’s rich and creamy when it’s lathered. When Vitamin E and Aloe Vera are added, it can benefit cracked and dry skin.
- Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera) – oil obtained from the fruit of the coconut palm and one of the most important tropical crops. The hollow core of a coconut contains coconut milk; the white part is eaten raw or dried to yield copra. Cup copra is produced when freshly harvested nuts are split open and either sun-dried or kiln-dried. It is then pressed to yield the coconut oil. The major producers are the Philippines and Indonesia, but it is produced in Jamaica as well. Coconut oil is a preferred oil in soaps because it helps produce a hard bar which makes big fluffy bubbles, even in cold or salt water. In fact, a 100% coconut oil soap is the only soap that will lather in salt water!! Coconut oil is an emollient and is moisturizing, conditioning and protecting to the skin, although large quantities can sometimes be drying. For this reason, our soaps use coconut oil in combination with other moisturizing oils.
- Grapeseed Oil (Vitis vinifera) – expeller-pressed from grape seeds. Grapeseed oil is a lightweight oil that absorbs into the skin quickly without leaving a heavy greasy feeling. It’s commonly used in massage oils. It is good for oily or acne-prone skin. It is a good conditioning ingredient and helps relieve dry and itchy skin.
- Hemp Seed Oil (Cannabis sativa) – Hemp seed oil is a deep, green color with a light, nutty smell. No, it doesn’t smell like marijuana, nor does it have any of the effects that marijuana has, but it does indeed come from the seed of the cannabis plant!! It’s really lovely in lotions and creams and great in soap too. It creates a light, creamy/silky lather.
- Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis) – Technically this is not an oil but a wax found within the seeds of the Jojoba plant. Jojoba oil is emollient (soothing & softening), and mimics the natural oil secreted by our human skin to protect us from aging and wrinkling, and to lubricate our skin and hair. Jojoba oil will not turn rancid, will not clog pores, and contains powerful antioxidants and antibacterials. Soaps containing jojoba oil make superb skin conditioners, help in the treatment of acne and are great for sensitive skin.
- Mango Butter (Mangifera indica) – expeller-pressed from the Mango tree seed kernels. This is a yellowish oil and has almost no scent. It has wonderful skin softening, soothing & moisturizing properties. It helps to combat dry skin, eczema and dermatitis, is helpful in protecting the skin from the weather and UV radiation. Also good for aging skin, mango butter can be effective at reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It produces a hard bar with a stable, conditioning lather.
- Neem Oil (Azadirachta indica) – This tree is native to India and the oil is cold-pressed from the seeds. Neem trees also exist in Jamaica (where it’s sometimes called “Melia”) and were probably imported centuries ago by Indian immigrants. Neem oil is antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, makes a good insect repellent, kills parasites, is helpful for treating acne, dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, herpes, cold sores, ringworm, fungus, itching, diaper rash, skin cancer, wounds, and sunburn. What a remarkable oil!! It has been recently used in soap to help repel sand flies (so we should LOVE using it in Jamaica!!). Neem oil contains Vitamin E and produces a moisturizing bar with a stable lather.
- Olive Oil, Pure (Olea europaea) – pressed from the fruit of the olive tree. Olive oil is one of the finest edible oils and can be eaten without refining or processing (when it is known as virgin olive oil). Used for skincare in soaps and cosmetics for centuries, olive oil is an excellent moisturizer because it attracts and holds moisture close to the skin; it contains Vitamin E, is a powerful antioxidant, and will protect the skin and fight the effects of aging. In soap, the bars are slow to lather, but the soap is mild and cleans well. Traditionally “Castile” soap was made using only olive oil, but the term has loosened now to include soaps that have olive oil as one of the oils in them. This is one of the very best oils for natural care of your skin.
- Palm Fruit Oil (Elaeis guineensis) – from the fruit of a palm tree, which is native to tropical West Africa and cultivated in Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, and tropical America. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp and kernel of the fruit and is used in making soaps, margarine, lubricants, etc. When used in soaps, palm oil creates a hard, long-lasting bar of soap that is mild and cleanses well. Palm oil has been used in soap-making since about 1850. We use certified organic palm oil to help preserve the rainforest!
- Palm Kernel Oil (Elaeis guineensis) – Like Palm Oil, Palm Kernel oil has most of the same qualities as palm oil. It makes a nice hard white bar of soap with lots of luscious lather.
- Pomegranate Seed Oil/Butter (Punica granatum) – cold pressed from Pomegranate seeds. This oil is rich in antioxidants and benefits eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles and dry skin. It also moisturizes cracked, dry, irritated and mature skin. The strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties are said to help improve the skin’s elasticity.
- Pumpkin Seed Oil (Cucurbita pepo L.) – cold-pressed from Pumpkin seeds. This oil is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, along with high levels of Vitamins A, C & E. A little of this oil goes a long way, but it’s great for all skin types and absorbs into the skin well, helping to repair dry, cracked, or damaged skin.
- Rice Bran Oil (Oryza sativa) – is extracted from the bran (outer coating) of the brown rice grain and is rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and essential oils. This is a mild oil suitable even for delicate skin types. Rice bran oil is effective for keeping skin smooth and also protects against the absorption of the sun’s UV rays. It is one of the best sources of tocotrienols – antioxidants that may be much more powerful and effective than Vitamin E. Rice Bran Oil absorbs easily into the skin without leaving a greasy residue and is ideal for dry, flaky skin.
- Safflower Oil (Carthamus tinctorius) – expeller-pressed from Safflower blossoms. This oil is an emollient (conditions and softens). Safflower Oil was used in Ancient Egypt to heal old wounds. This makes a great conditioning and moisturizing soap and is easily absorbed by the skin.
- Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii) (FairTrade Certified) – A solid vegetable fat extracted from the kernels (nuts) of the wild African Shea Karite tree. High in triglycerides and fatty acids, the soft buttery texture melts easily into the skin. Shea butter contains cinnamic acid, which protects the skin against the harmful UV rays of the sun and benefits those suffering from dry skin, dermatitis and sunburn. When combined with coconut oil, shea butter soaps soothe the skin. Shea butter usually does not trigger any allergic reactions. This makes it ideal for use by persons with sensitive skin. Shea butter was traditionally used by herbalists for burns, wounds, sunburn, muscle aches and as a moisturizing beauty aid for hair and skin. The Vitamins A and E found in shea butter help in keeping the skin supple and healthy. It also prevents premature wrinkles and facial lines.
- Soybean (or Soyabean) Oil (Soja hispida) – expeller-pressed and partially refined from Soybeans. It produces a mild, stable lather. We use it in combination with other exotic or moisturizing oils. It makes a very hard white bar when used alone and when mixed with other oils it makes a wonderful hard bar of soap.
- Sunflower Oil (Helianthus annus) – partially refined and expeller-pressed from Sunflower seeds. Light, penetrating, and lubricating Sunflower oil leaves a protective moisturizing barrier on the skin and is high in antioxidant vitamin E and essential fatty acids. The seeds and petals also make a gentle exfoliant.
- Vegetable Shortening – Vegetable shortening is normally made out of soybean oil. It produces a mild, stable lather. We use it in combination with other exotic or moisturizing oils. It makes a very hard white bar when used alone and when mixed with other oils it makes a wonderful hard bar of soap.
- Wheat Germ Oil (Triticum vulgare) – unrefined and cold-pressed from Wheat Germ seeds. The genus Triticum has been cultivated for at least 10,000 years. It is a known source of pure Vitamin E. It helps to prevent and reduce scarring and may prevent stretch marks. It is used to nourish dry or cracked skin and soothes skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Mature skin, in particular, will benefit from wheat germ oil. It also produces a bar with a nice, stable lather.