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Why PUFA’s Are Necessary For Hair & Skin


“PUFAs oxidize faster, and oxidation causes free radical damage, therefore consuming PUFAs will cause cancer, aging, and inflammation!” is the new ‘word of advice’ currently touted by some natural health enthusiasts… but does it carry truth? Yes and no… And the answers will surprise you!! Let’s figure it out here and now with some well-balanced considerations.

Many of these so-called “health experts” praise the benefits of Vitamin E, CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid), GA (Gamma Linoleic Acid), and LA (Linoleic Acid) all while simultaneously vilifying PUFAs… This is quite a cruel joke, because all of these are, or can only be derived from, what? You guessed it – PUFAs!

Did You Know? All animal fats (yes, even pasture-raised and 100% grass-fed) contain some amount of PUFAs because they are essential for the life and health of the animal.

So, before you toss away all the PUFA-containing products in your cabinets and pantry, let’s dust off our high school biology books, dig into some well-established science, and rediscover some foundational truths about healthy body care.

What Are PUFAs?

PUFAs are an Essential Fatty Acid (EFA)

The term essential fatty acids (EFA) refers to those polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that must be provided by foods because these cannot be synthesized in the body yet are necessary for health. There are two families of EFA, omega-3 (ω-3) and omega-6 (ω-6). [source]

Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids are types of fat found in ALL living organisms (including animals), because they are essential to all life on Earth (and the health of your hair and skin).

Beauty Products That Need PUFAs

Since it is a requirement for all life forms, technically we would not have any beauty products without PUFAs. This is especially true for Vitamin E, which is essential in any skincare and haircare product line. Vitamin E is naturally found only in omega-6 PUFA oils and fats, as Vitamin E cannot be created from saturated or mono-saturated fatty acids.

Vitamin E is nature’s most powerful antioxidant and a great anti-inflammatory as well, which is why it is found in PUFA oils, since PUFAs are more sensitive to oxidation and tend to be inflammatory when over-consumed. This means that fresh, well-preserved, low-processed organic PUFA oils are very high in anti-oxidants, which fight free-radicals, aging, and inflammation! We can clearly see from this view alone why PUFAs can actually be very beneficial when used in the correct amounts.

Fake, petroleum-derived, synthetic Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) is no true substitute for the PUFA-rich source of natural Vitamin E (d-alpha tocopherol), because it is less than half as effective and much less bioavailable (usable by our bodies).

So, do high-quality PUFAs – in balanced ratios of use – cause aging, cancer, and inflammation? NO!

Another important consideration is that the fluid nature of polyunsaturated fatty acids make them easier for the skin to absorb and utilize their unique chemistry. This makes PUFAs very useful ingredients when blended with other vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to help these become more bioavailable through topical applications.

And if you so happen to stumble upon an article claiming that PUFAs in your skincare cause premature aging, just know that there are many scientific studies available out there to contradict this misinformation.

For instance, a study published by  Oregon State University Micronutrient Information Center stated that topical application of sunflower oil (a PUFA, and what Perma-Earth’s organic Vitamin E is made out of) increased the linoleic acid (LA) content in the epidermis, or top most layer of skin. LA is the most abundant naturally occurring fatty acid in the epidermis and helps to support skin barrier function, and a deficiency of LA in the skin can lead to scaliness and excessive epidermal water loss. The research also stated that application of sunflower oil to skin normalized transepidermal water loss (TEWL), helping to prevent damage to the skin barrier function, and reduced skin scaliness after two weeks of daily application.

Research published in the  International Journal of Molecular Sciences – which studied many plant oils, including PUFA oils like pomegranate, rosehip, borage, and almond – concluded that PUFA oils act synergistically when applied topically, supporting the skin barrier and antioxidant activity and promoting wound healing and anti-carcinogenic properties.

One of the biggest causes of skin aging is certainly sun exposure, but it is the reactions UV rays cause within unhealthy cells that create that damage, not high-quality PUFAs on top of the skin. As much as 80% of facial aging is attributable simply to unhealthy cells that are damaged by UV exposure alone. UVA rays can penetrate into the deep, living layers of skin and damage your DNA.  Only avoiding excessive sun exposure and an unhealthy lifestyle prevents this damage.

By avoiding use of all PUFA oils, people are unfortunately actually eliminating one of the key ways to assist skin with repairing damage from sun exposure: anti-oxidants.

Bodily Functions That Need PUFAs

Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These are essential fatty acids that the body needs for brain function and cell growth. Our bodies do not make essential fatty acids, so you must get them from food. We’ve already talked about some omega-6 fatty acids, so now let’s brush up on Omega-3 fatty acids, which include ALA, EPA, and DHA. [source]

Sources of ALA, EPA and DHA

  • ALA

Alpha linolenic acid is abundant in flax seed and is present in small quantities in oils like hemp, walnut, soybean and canola oil (Hunter 1990). It is mostly found in the chloroplast of green leafy vegetables.

  • EPA

Fish and fish oil are the richest sources of this fatty acid with contents ranging from 39% to 50% for both fresh and salt water fish (Kinsella 1990). EPA is a parent of series 3 eicosanoid hormones. EPA is also found in other animal fats.

  • DHA

It is present in fish oil, red brown algae, and other animal fats. It is a major brain ω-3 fatty acid and is also found in eye ball (retina). Brains are made up of about 65% fat and out of this 50% is DHA.

ALA is very sensitive to destruction by light, oxygen and heat. If not protected, it becomes toxic. It is destroyed five times faster than linoleic acid (LA, which is a type of omega-6 fat). Average intake of ω-3 fatty acids has decreased to less than 20% of what was present in common diets 150 years ago. About 95–99 % of the population gets ω-3 fatty acids lesser than that required for good health, making ω-3 fatty acids an essential nutrient and therefore the most therapeutic of all the essential nutrients (20 minerals, 14 vitamins, 8–11 amino acids, 2 fatty acids).

The Misconception

“All PUFAs are bad for you in any amount, whatsoever!”

But, how can an Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) be “bad” for you, if it is necessary for life and basic biological functions?

How Did ALL PUFAs Get A Bad Reputation?

Although partially true, there has been a huge misunderstanding around PUFAs and their effects on human health. Somehow, ALL PUFAs have been demonized through unscientific claims or misconstrued claims by “health experts”.

These false claims put ALL PUFA oils (no matter the quality or source) as the main culprit for cancer, inflammation, aging, and more due to free-radical damage from the faster oxidation and the highly-processed inflammatory effects of these oils.

Good PUFAs vs. Bad PUFAs

Highly-processed and genetically modified PUFA oils do indeed have ill-effects on human health, especially when overconsumed (as in our American lifestyles with highly processed omega-6 oils), but this does not mean that ALL PUFAs are bad!

A Logical Fallacy:

Saying “ALL PUFAs are bad since highly-processed GMO PUFAs are bad”, is similar to saying that “ALL meat is bad since factory-farmed industrial meat is bad”.

Instead of avoiding any and all PUFAs, there needs to be a different approach. Consuming and using high-quality (organic, fresh, well-preserved, and less-processed) PUFAs in a well-balanced amount, should be the real focus of health experts and beauty companies.

This is a classic case of “throwing the baby out with the bath water”. We need to stop throwing enough shade to create a black hole on PUFAS, and instead shed a little light on this essential ingredient for health and beauty from high-quality sources in the right amounts!

The Conclusion

Choosing When & How To Include PUFAs

Considering the anti-oxidant quality of PUFAs and their necessity for healthy skin and hair, we now know that PUFAs are a must at some level of body care and beauty.

Choose high quality ingredients in moderate to small amounts, like organic, well-preserved, and cold-pressed, and steer clear of oils that lack skin supportive nutrients and those that are heavily processed, like corn, canola, and soybean oil (we never use these oils in our products).

Yes, PUFAs may be less stable than saturated fats and oxidize more easily, but freshness is key, and there are ways to keep your fats fresher longer and how to tell when a product has oxidized.

When a fat oxidizes, or becomes rancid, it can lead to congestion of the skin because of the way the chemical changes affect how it behaves.  Rancidity causes fats to become more sticky and resinous. A rancid fat will not absorb well through pores and can clog the skin, forming a film across the surface.  This is why care should be taken to use skincare fats that are fresh and properly handled and stored.

Fats begin to degrade when exposed to heat, light, and air. It’s best to keep skincare made with natural oils in a cool, dark place and be sure to use clean hands when handling the product. Also, look for expiration and/or manufacture dates on products and purchase from reputable manufacturers.

Perma-Earth has information about the best by date on all of their product listings in the “Expiration” item tabs.

We hope this helps to clear up any misconceptions about PUFAs and why we would dare to use them in the midst of these misunderstandings!

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Tear-Free Natural Soap?

In This Article:

What Is Natural Soap?

What Makes A Tear-Free Cleanser?

Can You Make Natural Soap Tear-Free?

How To Use Soap Safely Around Eyes

What Is Natural Soap?

What Is Natural Soap? It’s not often what you see in the supermarkets!

Most of what people mistakenly call “soap” sitting pretty on store shelves *is technically not real soap*. Did that blow your mind? It should!

The term “soap” is an FDA-protected term. If it is not true soap, legally the manufacturer cannot call it “soap”. Instead of “soap” they must use other terms such as: “wash”, “cleanser”, “bar”, “washing liquid”, “shampoo”, “body wash”, et cetera.

Only true, natural soap can legally be called “soap”. So, how does the FDA define soap?

The term SOAP is a legally protected and specifically defined term by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration.

To meet the definition of soap in FDA’s regulations, a product has to meet three conditions: 

What it’s made of: To be regulated as “soap,” the product must be composed mainly of the “alkali salts of fatty acids,” that is, the material you get when you combine fats or oils with an alkali, such as lye.

What ingredients cause its cleaning action: To be regulated as “soap,” those “alkali salts of fatty acids” must be the only material that results in the product’s cleaning action. If the product contains synthetic detergents, it’s a cosmetic, not a soap. You still can use the word “soap” on the label.

How it’s intended to be used: To be regulated as soap, it must be labeled and marketed only for use as soap. If it is intended for purposes such as moisturizing the skin, making the user smell nice, or deodorizing the user’s body, it’s a cosmetic. Or, if the product is intended to treat or prevent disease, such as by killing germs, or treating skin conditions, such as acne or eczema, it’s a drug. You still can use the word “soap” on the label.

You can read the entire regulation at 21 CFR 701.20

This is exactly why we have to have a disclaimer with any beneficial claims (other than cleansing) on our website that states “These statements are not approved by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, mitigate, prevent, or cure any disease.”

How are traditional soaps and synthetic detergents different?

Ordinary soap is made by combining fats or oils and an alkali, such as lye. The fats and oils, which may be from animal, vegetable, or mineral sources, are degraded into free fatty acids, which then combine with the alkali to form crude soap. The lye reacts with the oils, turning what starts out as liquid into blocks of soap. When made properly, no lye remains in the finished product. In the past, people commonly made their own soap using animal fats and lye that had been extracted from wood ashes. 

Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don’t form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as “soap” but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word.

You can find all of this information here on the FDA’s website:

Most of what you see on store shelves are just detergents, or another word for detergents are surfactants.

 What Makes A Tear-Free Cleanser?

The answer lies in a few subtle changes in chemical formulas of detergent cleansers.

Adult and baby detergent shampoos contain surfactants (short for “surface active agents”). One end of the surfactant molecule is attracted to water. The other is repelled by water but attracted to oily substances. Surfactants work by reducing the surface tension of a liquid, allowing the shampoo to spread and penetrate better, and remove the thin layer of oil known as sebum from the hair and scalp [source: Schwarcz]. Baby shampoos use detergents with long chain surfactants, such as sodium trideceth sulfate or nonionic polymers that are less harsh than normal detergents, and they use only small amounts of these cleansers in their shampoos.

Tear-free formulas also leave out surfactants such sodium lauryl sulfate, which can be irritating to the eyes and scalp. This does create a trade-off, though. Sodium lauryl sulfates — formed in part from coconut fat or palm kernel oil — are the chemical agents in shampoos that get hair really clean (and give a nice lather) [source: Schwarcz]. Although tear-free shampoos still clean hair, they don’t remove oil as thoroughly. But since most babies don’t do more than look cute and occasionally smear food into their hair, this usually works out just fine.

You may read more about this here:

Soap made for the body and hair will not permanently harm or damage the eyes, but it may sting and cause some irritation until it is rinsed off!

Can You Make Natural Soap Tear-Free?

Due to the very definition and make-up of natural soap, the answer is a resounding and unfortunate no. Because soap is naturally an alkali (this is how it cleanses) – it cannot NOT irritate the eyes when they come into direct contact with soap.

Can you make soap less alkali? Trying to making a soap more acidic would cause it to cease being or acting like a good soap, so it’s a no on that too. Since soap has a hydrophilic (water-attracting) side to it’s saponified molecules, the other half is hydrophobic (water-repelling), this is what makes it great at washing away dirt and grime when mixed with water! If we made soap less of a base and more of an acid by adding more acidic ingredients, it would significantly weaken its cleansing abilities (and cause an icky mess).

We add just enough excess fats (bases) to not dry the skin and hair, and also just enough lye (alkali) to be able to cleanse the skin and hair. This is a very fine balance called a superfat percentage carefully measured with highly sensitive scales each time we make soaps.

The good news is, you can use natural soap safely with babies, children, and adults!

How To Use Soap Safely Around Eyes

Can you use soap safely around the eyes? Yes you can! You just have to be careful and patient, especially while washing a baby or toddler. Baths are the safest way to do this since you can dilute the soap in the bathwater first before applying it to the hair or skin around the face. Leaning the child back or asking the child to lean back while seated during the wash and rinse of their hair makes it much easier to avoid getting soap in their eyes. They can also use the edge of the bathtub or baby bathtub for better back and neck support during the wash and rinse. Use the edge of your thumb, palm, and index finger all pressed snugly against their eyebrow area to shield sensitive eyes from the soapy water when you rinse their hair. This looks just like when you are shielding your eyes from the sunlight.

Soap made for the body and hair will not permanently harm or damage the eyes, but it may sting and cause some irritation until it is rinsed off!

Keep this in mind: most bathwater — without the use of tear-free cleansers — could still cause tears to sensitive eyes. It all depends on the pH level of the water, which is a measurement of the free hydrogen and hydroxyl ions in the water. A pH level measures water on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. If the number drops below 7, the water is increasingly more acidic, which means it has a greater amount of free hydrogen ions. Above 7, and the water is increasingly less acidic (or more basic), which means it has a greater number of free hydroxyl ions [source: USGS]. The pH range for human eyes is 6.5 to 7.6, with 7 being optimal. Any variation from neutral may cause your eyes to tear, and it has little to do with the tear-free shampoo [sources: Kiechle, WHO].

Thanks for reading our article about why we can’t have natural tear-free soap – If you have any questions, please leave us a comment below!

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Why Buttermilk Soaps?

Article Topics:

Why Milk Soaps?

But Why Buttermilk?

Cow’s Milk Vs…

Nutrient Profiles of Milks

Environmental Reasons

Lactose Intolerance, Acne, and Other Concerns

Why Milk Soaps?

Milk soaps feed your hair and skin from the outside-in

Soaps enriched with milk are creamier than those made with water, and milk’s natural fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients provide skin-renewing moisture and nourishment.

How Your Skin & Scalp Absorbs Topical Nutrients

Have you ever seen a nicotine patch and wonder how they work for smokers trying to quit? Or how merely touching a toxic yet brightly colored tree frog can lead to death? It’s because your skin and scalp absorb what you put on them!

Your skin is your body’s largest organ by far, with a total average area of about 20 square feet! That’s a lot of avenues for nutrients to reach your body… or to get slowly poisoned by toxic body products. The good news is Perma-Earth offers some of the best body care products in the world to feed your hair and skin from the outside-in.

Nutrients follow three pathways through the skin, according to the CDC

The epic epidermis!
  1. Intercellular pathways. As the name implies, there are spaces in between your skin’s cells. Nutrients may follow these pathways deeper into the skin. Along the way, your skin’s outer layer may absorb some of the nutrients in our buttermilk soaps, such as Vitamin D3, Retinol-A, Alpha-Hydroxy Protein Acids, and more beauty-promoting goodies!
  2. Permeation. Nutrients may pass from cell to cell in your epidermis. When the outermost cells take on some nutrients, they could pass some of those to the next cells behind the outer ones. 
  3. Hair follicles and glands. Nutrients that permeate slowly into your skin may reach the hair follicles or glands deeper into your skin’s layers. This represents the hardest way your skin can absorb nutrients because your follicles are much deeper in the skin.

Since milk soap is a natural product recognized as safe by the body, it can be absorbed that much deeper and easier. The famously beautiful Queen Cleopatra knew this as she used to bath in buttermilk daily.

But Why Buttermilk?

We use traditional grassfed buttermilk in our body products, which is simply cultured raw milk straight from the animal, in our case, a grassfed cow. Our grassfed and pasture-raised jersey cow sources produce very high fat whole buttermilk, much higher fat than any other milk, and an abundance of it! This is one reason why we choose grassfed cow’s milk over goat’s, sheep, or any other milk.

Fresh milk on left, the thicker, cultured buttermilk on right!

Fats are what protect the skin, keeping it nourished, healthy-looking, and moisturized. Many vitamins are only soluble or bioavailable with a fat attachment (called fat-soluble vitamins like A and D), making some nutrients completely useless without sufficient fats for your body to utilize them.

Full-fat buttermilk is not only high in fat-soluble vitamins, but particularly high in multiple different proteins too, like yoghurt! Buttermilk and yoghurt are very similar in fact, but farm-fresh raw buttermilk is higher in many different proteins versus store-bought buttermilk or yoghurt. Store-bought yoghurt or buttermilk sitting for weeks or months on the shelf is usually pasteurized (destroys proteins) and cultured with only one or two different probiotics.

Farm-fresh, raw yoghurt or buttermilk can have dozens of naturally-occurring probiotics along with many alpha-hydroxy acids like lactic acid, which promote cell renewal and rejuvenation of beauty factors such as brightness, tone, and complexion maintenance. Buttermilk is higher in lactic acid than any other milk – another reason why we choose this hand-cultured moo milk!

Cow’s Milk Vs…

Cow’s buttermilk is simply the best!

These days, the dairy aisle is saturated with options—and we don’t just mean 2 percent or whole. There’s soy, almond, cashew, rice, oat, hemp, camel…you get the idea. In a world full of milks (and “mylks”), it can be overwhelming to educate yourself on which is better

As many have stated before us, the original milk (real animal’s milk) is top tier in terms of nutrient profile perfection, complete nutrient density, quantity and quality of complete proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals – plant “mylks” (which contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid and oxalates) just cannot compare.

Can’t you turn any raw animal’s milk into a cultured buttermilk? Yes you can, but let’s summarize!

Our local sources of grass-fed cow’s milk is higher in fat and abundance than any other local and freshly available milk, which is important for skin and scalp health to assist in nutrient absorption and utilization.

Milk once cultured into buttermilk is higher in lactic acid than any other fresh milk. This also helps to lower the pH of products the buttermilk is added to – making them more gentle and beneficial for the skin and scalp.

Nutrient Profiles of Milks

You know the saying that milk is the near-perfect food? They weren’t lying.

Milk is considered a “complete protein,” meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for your body to function at an optimal level, plus all of the essential Omega 3, 6, & 9 fatty acids in balanced proportions.

And buttermilk is even better!

Nutrient Profile of Whole Buttermilk in 1 cup (8 fl oz):

  • Fats: 8 grams
    • Omegas 3, 6, 9
  • Proteins: 8 grams
    • Tryptophan
    • Threonine
    • Isoleucine
    • Leucine
    • Lysine
    • Methionine
    • Phenylalanine
    • Valine
    • Histidine
  • Retinol-A (Vitamin A): 115 UG, 17% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Calcium: 282 mg, 28% DV
  • Sodium: 257 mg, 17% DV
  • Riboflavin (B2): 38% DV
  • Vitamin B12: 22% DV
  • Pantothenic acid (B5): 13% DV
  • Potassium: 331 mg, 14% DV
  • Vitamin D3: 127 UG, 26% DV
  • Vitamin C: 4% DV
  • Phosphorous: 208 mg, 30% DV
  • Niacin (B3): 2% DV
  • Vitamin E: 1% DV
  • Vitamin K: 1% DV
  • Copper: 5% DV
  • Folate (B9): 3% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 7%
  • Magnesium: 25 mg, 8% DV
  • Zinc: 12% DV
  • Thiamine (B1): 11% DV
  • Selenium: 17% DV
  • Manganese: 1%

In summary, you just can’t beat whole buttermilk’s nutrient profile compared to other milks!

What about goat’s milk?

Many people have “herd” that goat milk might contain more nutritional benefits than regular old moo juice, so we dug deeper for the answer. It turns out, neither milk is healthier or more nutritious than the other since the nutrition content is almost the same (depending on the source, season, diet, processing, etc.), but goat milk may be a better choice for the digestive system as it has less lactose. However, this doesn’t pertain to the integumentary system – hair, skin, nails, etc. In other words, you don’t have to worry about milk soaps or lotions reaching your digestive system if you are lactose intolerant!

What are the nutritional stats of goat milk vs. cow milk?

When doing research, one must take into consideration that source is everything. For instance, the USDA says that goat’s milk on average has very slightly (1%) more fat than cow’s milk, but from our own experience in farming and using farm-fresh raw milks, our source of grass-fed cow’s milk has a LOT more fat/cream than other local pasture-raised goat’s milk.

We can simply taste this or even see this when the fat and cream separate from the milk itself a day or two after milking since raw milk is not homogenized. Goat’s milk takes a lot longer for the cream to separate so it will take longer to see and we may never know visually how much fat goat’s milk contains.

Considering all of this, we must take what the USDA and other nutrient science says with a grain of salt, as who knows what their sources were for comparison.

According to the USDA, goat milk and cow milk are almost identical in macronutrients. The USDA specifically states that goat milk comes out on top for protein and cholesterol by 1 gram more per cup, but cow milk’s fat content is ever so slightly lower.

And as far as vitamins and minerals go, both milks have a lot to offer, just in different amounts. Goat milk has more calcium, potassium and vitamin A than cow milk, but cow milk has more vitamin B12, selenium and folic acid.

Therefore, the nutritional benefits of cow’s milk vs. goat’s milk are negligible. Both can be made into their own buttermilk, which would in turn have very minor nutritional differences. We do now offer goat’s milk soaps for those who wish to feel the difference!

Environmental Reasons

Is cow’s buttermilk eco-friendly? Cows are much more efficient at producing consistent quantity and quality milk than any other animal. Cows are also the most gentle on the environment since they are strictly ruminants that cannot over-graze ecosystems as easily as goats or sheep can due to their unique mouth structure. Cow’s milk is also the most wasted milk produced, but buttermilk body products are the perfect solution to the over-abundance!

We choose to use local, raw, pasture-raised, and grass-fed milk our bath and body products – making our sourcing the best environmentally for any kind of milk products! This ensures the least amount of travel, containment, and processing waste possible.

Cow’s are easier on the land when managed properly as they are more gentle ruminants. They lack the ability to strip the ground of plant matter since they rely on their tongues and not their teeth for grazing.

Lactose Intolerance, Acne, and Other Concerns

For those concerned about lactose intolerance: Milk used in soap or other topical products has no direct relation to lactose-intolerance. While the milk enzymes and acids are released into the skin during soap use, these components remain external to the human digestive system. This is because a lactose-intolerance has to do solely with how the digestive system handles lactose poorly, not the integumentary system – which includes hair, skin, nails, etc.

However, if a milk allergy or general milk intolerance has been diagnosed by licensed health practitioners, they are advised to not use any milk products anywhere near their bodies. We have had many success stories even with those who are diagnosed as lactose-intolerant, but that is up to your and your healthcare provider to decide.

Many of our customers who choose to try milk soap can experience an improvement in skin health and a decline in acne symptoms.

What about dairy and acne?  People who are lactose intolerant by way of digestion or who have found a connection between the physical intake of dairy and skin flare-ups do have the green light to apply milk topically. Dermatologists and doctors have gone on the records stating that the dairy-acne connection stems from digestion of the milk triggering a cascade of hormonal events that ultimately leads to acne. That cascade is not triggered by applying milk products to the skin.

Similar to how magnesium is best absorbed topically by some because ingesting magnesium upsets their digestive tract and can trigger other health issues – milk applied topically versus ingestion is another very similar situation which has many health benefits! Speaking of both, we offer farm-fresh milk and magnesium lotions to feed your skin from the outside-in.

If you have any other questions or concerns about this topic, please leave us a comment below or contact us!

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Why Lye Soap?

In this article you will learn:

What Is It?

Is It Natural?

Is It Necessary In Soap?

The History of Natural Soap

Are Detergents Better Than Natural Soap?

What Is Lye?

Lye is a strongly alkaline solution, a white odorless solid that is used for washing or cleansing purposes. The scientific name is sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

Archeologist have found lye soap dated back to 2800 BC in Babylon, when animal fat and ash mixed in water made lye-based soaps. Thousands of years before pure lye by chemical process was available, people made their lye the old-fashioned way by leaching water through wood ashes layered in a barrel or other container. Our forefathers discovered lye by running water through wood ash. By doing this they could extract the lye from the potash.

Scientifically speaking, lye is a metal hydroxide traditionally obtained by leaching wood ashes, or a strong alkali which is highly soluble in water producing caustic basic solutions. “Lye” most commonly refers to sodium hydroxide (NaOH), but historically has also been used as an alternative term for potassium hydroxide (KOH).

Today, lye is commercially manufactured using a membrane cell chloralkali process. It is supplied in various forms such as flakes, pellets, microbeads, coarse powder or a solution. Lye has traditionally been used as a major ingredient in soap making.

Is Lye Natural?

Lye can be found in nature even without human intervention. Lye is a natural substance since it was originally made from filtering rainwater through hardwood ashes. However, this produces inconsistent purity levels.

For modern purposes, lye is now manufactured in mass-scale production. The 99% purity level of manufactured lye is extremely important for making consistent and safe soap products!

Is Lye Necessary In Soap?

Lye is a necessary component of making soap bars. Without lye or another highly alkaline solution, we cannot ever make soap because soap needs the saponification process – a chemical impossibility without a strong alkali!

“Soap” is an FDA-protected term that is restricted to only real soap products. According to the FDA, soap is a product in which most of the nonvolatile matter consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and whose cleansing properties are due to these alkali-fatty acid compounds. This definition was written for the purposes of excluding soap from being regulated as a cosmetic.

The History of Lye Soap

Lye soap goes back as early as Babylonian times: when a crude form of soap was discovered through melted animals fats mixed with ashes and water over a cooking fire.

When this crude form of lye soap was found by the Babylonians over 5,000 years ago, they were recorded to make soap for washing purposes based on this original discovery.

Is Lye Soap Dangerous?

If made correctly, lye soap is completely safe as there should be NO LYE left in the final soap! A well-made body soap is simply saponified fats and excess fats.

If too much lye is used, lye soap can be dangerous. For the unprofessional, inexperienced, or improperly equipped – the resulting soap can be dangerous only because of ignorance. Would you expect a person who is completely inexperienced in construction to design and build a safe home? Probably not. The same can be said about soapmakers.

Soapmaking is a scientific profession, just like baking or any other important job that has a level of hazardous risk. It often takes a year or more of research and daily experimentation in the world of soapmaking to even scratch the surface.

BUT there is an easy way to test for a lye-heavy soap: is the soap crumbly, super hard and spotty white? Does it “zap” your tongue? When mixed with a bit of water, does it read higher than a 10 pH on a pH test strip? And finally, is the soap very drying and almost “burns” when you use it? If yes to all of these, then you have a lye-heavy soap.

Are Detergents Better Than Lye Soap?

If you like to wash your body with an effective cleanser, you have 2 choices: lye soap or detergents. “Effective cleansers” have hydrophillic (water-loving) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) sides to their molecules, which helps dirt, oil, and water all wash away from surfaces very well – resulting in an effective cleanse!

But detergents (this includes “naturally-derived” surfactants) are cheaply manufactured unnatural chemicals that mimic the cleansing and nourishing qualities of real soap conveniently… But there is a catch.

Detergents strip the skin and destroy the microbiome of the skin’s acid mantle (even “pH balanced” cleansers).

Soap has an average pH of 9-10, about the same as highly alkaline water or sea water. If you do not want to disrupt the skin’s acid mantle, then technically we shouldn’t even be bathing with pure water.

The good news is that the skin’s acid mantle resets only minutes after using natural soap or washing with water, but the skin can be permanently disrupted or altered with detergents because of the chemical harshness.

Soap is very nourishing and has an almost lotion-like feel compared to using detergents. This is because well-made natural soap bars have tons of free-floating fats that the skin sucks right up – yuuuummy!

If you think your skin could benefit from acidic products after a soap cleanse, then we encourage oily skin types to try our acidic toners and then apply our fatty acid moisturizers afterward, dry skin types can just skip the toners.

So are detergents better than lye soap? We leave that up to you to decide! 😉

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Why No Liquid Soap?

In this article you will learn:

How Bar Soaps Differ From Liquid

Bar Soaps Are More Nourishing

Bar Soaps Are More Moisturizing

Bar Soaps Are Less Wasteful

Bar Soaps Are Less Expensive

There’s reasons why we haven’t offered liquid soaps even though most people prefer the convenience… Let’s dive in!

How Bar Soaps Differ From Liquid Soaps

To clarify, we are talking about pure, real soap. “Soap” is an FDA protected term! Some people assume surfactants or detergents are soap, but if it isn’t traditional, real soap it must be labeled differently: such as a hand wash, body wash, or a “beauty bar”. Most liquid “soaps” (as most people call them) on the market are not technically soaps but in fact detergents.

When we are talking about liquid vs. bar soaps in this article we are only referring to real soap!

Soap-making involves chemistry, so get ready for technical terms you may have to remember from high school! Chemically speaking, liquid soaps need a different alkali than bar soaps to complete the saponification process (the process that turns oils to soap with lye).

To recap, you can’t make any real soap without lye or a strong alkali substance. Lye is a natural product made from hardwood ashes filtered with water – that’s it!

There are 2 forms of alkalis (lyes):

  • Sodium Hydroxide forms bar soap using the cold process method (what we use) or the hot process method (explained below)
  • Potassium Hydroxide forms liquid soap using the hot process method – prolonged heat applied for several hours or more.

So, how does this change the nourishment quality, moisturization content, expense, and more?

Cold Process Bar Soaps Are More Nourishing

As mentioned above, liquid soapmaking requires the hot process method – heating for hours at a time.

If you aren’t familiar with heat factors and nutrient content: prolonged heat above 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys vitamins and proteins. This isn’t good for the nourishing aspect of our buttermilk and animal fat soaps!

Hot process soap requires hours of heating soap between 200-220 degrees Fahrenheit!

Make sure your bar soaps were made using the COLD process method, which only requires enough heat to melt the fats for a very short period of time!

Some soapmakers use the hot process method for a “milder” bar of soap that cures faster. Curing time for cold-process soap takes 4-8 weeks, while hot-process soap takes 2-3 weeks. This makes hot-process soap more efficient for quick sales or sooner use, but it’s not beneficial for the nourishing content.

Freezing Freshly Cultured Raw Buttermilk

Bar Soaps Are More Moisturizing

“Superfat” is a term used by soapmakers to describe the excess, free-floating fats in a recipe: superfats are what makes the soap moisturizing and nourishing! Usually described as a percentage, the superfat amount can range in the negatives (very lye-heavy industrial soap) to 0% and higher (up to 25% with certain fats).

A huge difference in liquid vs. bar soaps is the maximum amount of superfat allowed in the formulas.

  • Bar soaps have a maximum superfat averaging around 10% – WOW! Our animal fat soap bars average around 6-7% – not too moisturizing that it melts in your shower, but never too drying!
  • Liquid soaps have a max superfat of 0%-5% depending on the type of fats used, which is quite drying. This range is recommended to prevent separation of free-floating fats and cloudiness, which clogs the pump and makes a chunky soapy soup instead of a smooth liquid.

In order to “neutralize” the excess lye or drying aspect in most liquid soaps, borax or another neutralizing agent is usually added after the hot process method.

In short, liquid soaps will never be as moisturizing or as nourishing as bar soaps because of the chemical differences – how disappointing!

Liquid soaps usually require a plastic dispenser.

Bar Soaps Are Less Wasteful

This one may seem kind of apparent, but we need to address it. Obviously, bar soaps require little to no containment except a label, paper wrapping, paper boxes, shrinkwrap (we use certified biodegradable shrinkwrap), or they can be completely naked – Oh-la-la!!

Liquid soaps require some kind of container (whether glass or plastic) and usually a plastic pump for easy access. Pouring a glass bottle every wash would get quite slippery and possibly dangerous. Therefore, liquid soap will never be as sustainable as bar soap.

Bottles and pumps are not very sustainable, and neither is the extra shipping weight and space.

It takes a lot more energy, time, and materials to make liquid soap. As described in the hot process method, a soapmaker must heat and tend to liquid soap constantly for several hours during the creation.

Weight of bar vs. liquid doesn’t equal final volume of soap use.

Bar soap is concentrated liquid soap: 12 oz of liquid soap equals to about 3 oz of bar soap.

Liquid soap is like watered down bar soap, and therefore has a bit more difficult time lathering. It takes more effort to clean and build up a good lather with liquid soap.

Lathering is much easier with bar soap.

Lathering with bar soap!

Bar Soaps Are Less Expensive

This point is in addition to wasting materials unnecessarily: why waste money too? The bottles, pumps, and extra shipping weight/volume of liquid soaps are not cheap. The costs of bottles and pumps can range from $1-$2.50, which translates to an extra $3-$8 in final price. Let me explain!

Labor and production costs are always a factor in pricing. The cost of a product makes the final price increase exponentially (that means it’s multiplied, cost isn’t just added on dollar-for-dollar).

If a soapmaker needs more controlled space for making and storing, extra equipment, more ingredients, more energy, and possibly much more time to make liquid soap, those costs will translate to the final product.

The final price of liquid soap is at least 2-3 times more than bar soap considering all of the factors described above.

Since a 12 oz bottle of liquid soap has the same life as a 3 oz bar of soap, why wash your hard-earned money down the drain with all the unnecessary extras and none of the benefits?

A simple soap dish can make all the difference in the life of your bars!

Thanks for reading our short little article about why we abstain from making liquid soap! Liquid soap may work for some people – and that’s great! We just don’t see any need to make it at this time.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic, feel free to contact us! We’re always happy to help.

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Why Use Shampoo Soap Bars?

Before the 20th Century, people used soap bars to wash themselves – including their hair. The Victorian women had beautiful, long, flowing locks of hair, even during old age.

A quick internet search of “Victorian hair” will give you hundreds of photographic examples of what women’s hair used to look like before the birth of industrial chemical haircare.

How did these women get such long, flowing locks of hair without all of the “innovative” modern haircare concoctions – which never seem to follow through with their grandiose claims?

It was soap they used to cleanse – pure, plain soap. Most of the time castile (olive oil) soap or lard (pig fat) soap was used to cleanse the body and hair. They also conditioned their hair with plain oils or animal fats.

There were articles in magazines and books written about how to properly wash one’s huge mane with a soap bar – recommended once per week minimum, more often was ideal. Most of the time it involved an hour or more of washing the hair section-by-section. Since modern plumbing was not available to most, it took women much longer to wash their incredibly long, thick hair – unlike today. Thankfully, experienced users of shampoo bar soaps now might only need 5 minutes to wash their hair!

If you are interested in learning about how to wash your hair with our shampoo soap bars, click here.

Now wait just a second, this isn’t to say that soap was the only factor contributing to those waterfalls of hairy waves – these women were also forced to eat mostly local and in-season without all the modern-day conveniences. This means that a lot of meats and fats and other fresh seasonal foods were consumed, further nourishing their hair and scalp.

So, don’t expect to be able to grow locks like your great-great-great grandmother simply from using soap. You haven’t lived like a Victorian for one reason, plus consider the common practice of using chemical detergents on one’s hair and skin from birth!

Detergents Vs. Soaps

Detergent Shampoos

Detergents are synthetically made surfactants that act like soap, but actually strip the hair and skin of everything good and kill the microbiome of your skin and hair (and so do naturally-derived surfactants). Foaming agents, waxes, silicones, sulfates, emulsifiers, esters, and other additives are often thrown into these chemical cocktails to make them work like original soap with a lot less effort… And your hair becomes dependent upon these chemicals instead of your natural microbiome.

Detergents also affect the sulfide bonds in your hair (whether or not they are “sulfate-free”), this weakens the sulfide bonds and causes your hair to go flat, or lack body and curl. This causes you to need more haircare products to fix what the detergents broke!

We cover the process of detoxing from your hair’s addiction to drugstore shampoos, click here to learn more!

99% of us have been using detergents as shampoos all of our lives.” Even if the shampoo was claimed to be “natural” or “organic”, just research ALL of the ingredients you couldn’t pronounce. Spoiler alert: “naturally-dervied surfactants” are another word for detergents! We encourage you to challenge us if you think what you have been using is truly not a surfactant or detergent…

It would take an additional article to list and define all of the surfactants and detergents companies use – literally hundreds of different chemicals are commonly used . They are often cleverly hidden in online listings or with additional natural-sounding names such as “cleanser derived from plants” or they are omitted completely from sight!!

Don’t worry – it’s easy to become a conscious consumer with a computer at your fingertips 24/7. Type the confusing-sounding ingredients into your search engine and see what pops up. Or highlight the word on your device, tap and hold it, and select “web search” from the expanded pop up options.

Shampoo Soaps

On the same note, it’s quite easy to determine if a shampoo is truly natural or not – it needs to be 100% pure soap.

Saponified fats or “Sodium (fat or oil)-ate” are the common ingredients naming what soap is. Make sure no other surfactants or detergents are mixed in though!

Unfortunately, liquid soap will never hold as much moisturization and nutrients as cold process soap bars do – for reasons of chemistry. Pure and true liquid soap does not and will never hold a candle to cold process soap bars in hair care for 3 main reasons:

  1. Liquid soap is only stable if it has less than HALF the moisturizing superfats as cold process soap!
  2. Liquid soapmaking requires many hours of high heat, destroying a lot of vitamins and nutrients!
  3. Liquid soap does not lather like bar soap, which makes hair-washing extremely difficult.

If you are interested in more details, read our Why We Don’t Make Liquid Soap article.

So even if you don’t stay with our shampoos, try to stick with only natural soap bars – for your hair’s sake!

Hair Benefits

These are based on hundreds of real customer reports and reviews. You may take a look for yourself on our shampoo soap listing reviews and our testimonials.

Hair Growth

Customers report new hair growth as soon as 1 month of using shampoo soap bars exclusively and consistently.

Many customers report markedly faster hair growth after only a few months. We even receive “complaints” of customers needing to dye their roots more often!

Body & Texture

Customers report improvements in hair body and texture!

Because their hair had been stripped with detergents all of their life, they never knew how much natural body and texture their hair really had until they started using shampoo soap.

Detergents stifle many beautiful genetic expressions of hair that shampoo soaps allow to develop.

Less Split-Ends

Another plus to using shampoo soaps is not needing as many hair cuts due to lack of split ends!

Since shampoo soaps are so much more nourishing and moisturizing than detergents are, your hair’s integrity and strength is kept in tact for much longer. Which leads us to our next benefit…

More Moisture

upside down photo of a woman

Since shampoo soap doesn’t strip the hair like detergents, hair is much more moisturized and strengthened.

Soap provides literally hundreds of times the amount of naturally nourishing ingredients than regular shampoos.

We also include about 25% raw grassfed buttermilk in all of our shampoo soaps – nothing like the powdered milk or extracts in other shampoo soaps.

Colored Hair

Shampoo soap bar users report more time between full permanent dye treatments – unless their roots grow faster!

Customers with light blonde or grey hair also report less issues with brassy tones!

However, we don’t recommend using shampoo soap bars with semi-permanent dyes. Since shampoo soap needs more massaging during the lathering process, this can rub the semi-permanent dyes off of the hair shafts faster.

Less Products

We’re so happy to hear when a customer says they’ve eliminated most of the haircare products they used before.

Since detergents are the cause of so many cosmetic hair issues: lack of body, lack of definition, lack of texture, lack of color, etc. Many people find they don’t need as many care products as before.

This also reduces your exposure to more chemicals.

Environmental Benefits

No Plastic

This one is pretty obvious, but it can’t never be understated. The early 21st century is swimming in plastic: polluting our ecosystems at alarming rates and wrecking havoc upon our health. Using shampoo soaps is another way to eliminate plastic from your life and future generations – for good.

Less Transport

When you’re able to condense a oddly-shaped 12 oz plastic bottle of liquid shampoo into a 4 oz rectangular solid soap bar – the transportation implications are massive.

This ultimately results in reducing transportation waste by at least 2/3, maybe more if you purchase directly from the soapmaker. That means 2/3 less gas being used and 2/3 less trucks on the highways.

Then consider all of the other haircare products eliminated from being transported due to the hair benefits of shampoo soap!

Less Products

If you are consuming less haircare products due to the hair benefits of shampoo soap – you are cutting out a lot of waste.

From transportation wastes, to plastic waste, to the wastes of manufacturing and sourcing production – all of those are eliminated when you eliminate the unnecessary products.

Did you know the beauty-care industry is considered by some economic circles to be the top-grossing in the world? That’s a LOT of stuff being produced and consumed!

Local & Natural Ingredients

90%-100% of our ingredients are completely natural. 50%-100% of our ingredients are local. Many of our ingredients are certified organic.

All of these factors combined can make a gigantic environmental impact – imagine if everyone used locally produced body care!

You can read more about our ingredients here and more about lard vs. tallow here.

If you can think of any other benefits and reasons why to use shampoo soap bars, or if you have any questions or concerns – please let us know! We’re always happy to help.

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Lard Vs. Tallow

In this article:


History of Use

Our Sources

Fatty Acid & Nutrient Profiles

Preferable Uses

Defining Lard and Tallow – What Are They?

Lard is the rendered fat from swine animals
  • Lard is the rendered fat from swine – commonly known as pig’s fat or “pig tallow”. Tallow is also commonly referred to as beef tallow or other animal fats as tallow literally means “rendered animal fats”. So to lessen confusion we will refer to pig tallow as “lard” which is it’s defining name. Other animal fats may also have unique names such as “lard” to pig tallow. For instance: organ fats from cows are called “suet” while organ fats from pigs are called “leaf”. Another example is that sheep tallow is referred to as “mutton fat”. These names are helpful to distinguish between different types of animal tallow. However, when we refer to tallow on a label (just TALLOW) we are referring to rendered cow fats.
  • “Rendered” fat means that the pig fat is heated to a melting point (around 120-150 degrees F) then cooked for a short period of time to filter the fat from any other natural meaty substances that remain after butchering.
  • The end result of rendered pig fat is called lard and is shelf-stable by itself for up to 6 months in the right environment.
The final rendered lard is shown above – it is much softer than tallow due to the fatty acid profiles listed below
Tallow is the rendered fat from bovine animals.
  • Tallow is the rendered fat from bovine – commonly known as cow’s fat or beef fat. Tallow is also the name used to define other animal fats, which can be confusing, as described above.
  • “Rendered” fat means that the cow fat is heated to a melting point (around 150-170 degrees F) then cooked for a short period of time to filter the fat for purity.
  • The end result is called tallow and is shelf-stable by itself for up to 12 months in the right environment.
The final rendered tallow is shown above – it is much harder than lard due to the fatty acid profiles listed below

History of Use for Lard and Tallow

History of Lard Uses

  • FOOD: Humans have eaten the fats of wild animals, including hogs and swine for many millenia. Fats were rendered from cooking meats over a fire and also using those fats to cook other plant matter, making them more digestible.

Lard has extensive uses in baking as a natural, healthy shortening – providing a flaky, hearty and delicious crust or bread.

  • SOAP: Animal fat soaps were the original soap made. Likely discovered by accident – a crude form of soap was reported to happen from the fat drippings cooked over a primitive fire mixed with a natural lye made from wood ash that had been filtered with rainwater, resulting in a soapy substance!
  • BEAUTY: As long as people have been using lard for food purposes, it easily migrated its way over to the beauty counter of women and men.

As lard is rendered animal fat, the composition of the lard oil is most similar to the composition of human skin’s natural sebum. This makes it often a suitable moisturizer for individuals who have sensitivities to commercial moisturizers.

Many people on the lard train like to claim that lard contains Vitamins K & B, but these claims have yet to be accepted by nutritional scientists. More on this is found below!

Lard also has a history of use for haircare. Since medieval times women have used pig fat to help regrow hair with success. Women also used to set and condition their hair with lard. The combination of lard and starches produced rigid curls and stiff hair styles for women and men in the 17th and 18th centuries.

While lard is wonderful for skincare and haircare, there are stability issues that prevent it from mainstream commercialization – which is why we add an extra dose of natural Vitamin E for preservation and other ingredients to stabilize the texture. Lard does not always have a consistent color, appearance, and odor from batch-to-batch based on seasonal diet and environmental exposures of the pigs.

History of Tallow Uses

  • FOOD: For many millenia, humans have eaten the fats of ruminants, including bovine. Fats were rendered from cooking meats over a fire and also using those fats to cook other plant matter, making them more digestible.
  • SOAP: Animal fat soaps were the original soap made. Likely discovered by accident – a crude form of soap was reported to happen from the fat drippings cooked over a primitive fire mixed with a natural lye made from wood ash that had been filtered with rainwater, resulting in a soapy substance!
  • BEAUTY: Tallow has a long history in humanity of being used to soothe and moisturize skin. It is only in more recent times that plant oils and petroleum based products have taken the place of tallow in skincare.

As tallow is rendered animal fat, the composition of the tallow oil is similar to the composition of human skin’s natural sebum. This makes it often a suitable moisturizer for individuals who have sensitivities to commercial moisturizers.

Many people on the tallow train like to claim that tallow contains Vitamins A, K, & B, but these claims have yet to be accepted by nutritional scientists. More on this is found below!

While tallow is great for skincare and a hair pomade, there are stability issues that prevent it from mainstream commercialization – which is why we add an extra dose of natural Vitamin E for preservation. Tallow does not always have a consistent color, appearance, and odor from batch-to-batch based on seasonal diet and environmental exposures of the cows.

  • CANDLES: Tallow once was widely used to make molded candles before more convenient wax varieties became available—and for some time after since they continued to be a cheaper alternative. For those too poor even to avail themselves of homemade, molded tallow candles, the “tallow dip”—a reed that had been dipped in melted tallow or sometimes a strip of burning cloth in a saucer of tallow grease—was an accessible substitute. Such a candle was often simply called a “dip” or, because of its low cost, a “farthing dip” or “penny dip”.

Our Sources – Where Do We Get Our Lard and Tallow?

The source of fat we use is extremely important to us as source affects many nutritional factors of lard and tallow:

  • Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed fats are very important to retain the most natural, balanced, and nutritious fatty acid profiles, which contributes to the effectiveness of our claims (described in more detail below). For instance, sunlight exposure is absolutely crucial for the development of Vitamin D3 levels.
  • Hand-Rendered fats are important to make sure no additives were unnecessarily mixed into the final product (such as nitrates, BHT, chemical bleaches, chemical preservatives, etc.) Hand-rendering also insures that the temperatures were never raised to scalding levels, which destroys some vitamins and other nutrients.
  • Farm-Fresh, Local fats are very important to insure the provision of the freshest, most nutrient-dense fats available.

Fatty Acid & Nutrient Profiles – Lard and Tallow Are Chemically Different!

First let’s review lard and tallow’s fatty acid profiles. Fatty acids are the building blocks of fat, these fats are necessary for all life forms including animals, plants, and microorganisms. All 3 categories of fats are essential for basic biological functions (including basic skincare and haircare) in their proper proportions.

Fatty AcidsLardTallow
Saturated Fats43%46%
Palmitic Acid
Stearic Acid
Unsaturated Fats
(Mono & Poly)
Oleic Acid
Palmitoleic Acid
Linoleic Acid
Linolenic Acid
Lard and tallow are both affected by their diet, lard more-so than tallow. Pasture-raised, grass-fed lard and tallow will both have higher saturated fatty acids and lower unsaturated fatty acids – the table above is a round average estimate.

As you can see, the differences in fatty profiles vary but are still very similar! The main outlying difference in tallow from lard is that it has slightly more saturated fatty acids and an additional polyunsaturated fatty acid called Linolenic Acid. All of these minute chemical differences causes us to treat them very differently. We have to make products in various ways depending upon the fat we choose to use and their applications.

We also take into great consideration the different nutrients that (pasture-raised) lard and tallow offer. Let’s dive into that!

NutrientsLard (per 1 Tbsp)Tallow (per 1 Tbsp)
Vit. D3
Vit. E
13 IU
5 IU
4 IU
0 IU
0 mg
0 mg
These numbers are according to educational and scientifically verified nutritional sources. You may do your own research – remember to look for scientific sources! Vitamin D3 levels are greatly affected by sunlight exposure – this is another reason why pasture-raised is so important! Did you know that Lard is the 2nd most concentrated Vitamin D3 food-source in the world, second only to Cod Live Oil?!

Due to lard’s larger nutrient profile and differing fatty acids, we find lard much more useful for certain applications than tallow and visa-versa – let’s dive deeper into that next!

Various Uses Based On All The Differences – Both Have Their Proper Places!

Lard’s Best Uses for Us

  • Hair Products
    • Since pasture-raised lard is lighter and softer in texture, higher in unsaturated fatty acids, and higher in certain nutrients like Vitamin D3 – it makes a perfect fat to use as a base for our shampoo soaps, conditioners, and hair oils!
  • Liquid Lotions & Scrubs
    • Since lard is lighter and softer in texture, it makes a perfect fat to use as a base for our liquid lotions and scrubs – insuring better stability for varying temperatures.
  • Soap Products
    • Since lard is low (0-2) on the comedogenic scale (0-5, coconut and palm oils being 4) it will not clog pores – great for facial soaps! Since it is higher in unsaturated fatty acids, it provides more bubbly lather and a squeakier cleanse.
    • A pure lard soap designed for the skin even cleanses and nourishes hair quite well – unlike pure tallow soap.
    • A pure lard soap designed for NOT washing the skin will even make a wonderful laundry, dish, and surface cleaning soap due to its superior lather abilities.
  • Bath Bombs
    • Since lard is softer at lower temperatures, it is great for fatty bath bombs – Insuring well-nourished skin and cleaner drains that won’t clog up as easily!

Tallow’s Best Uses For Us

  • Moisturizers
    • Since tallow is heavier and harder in texture, higher in saturated fatty acids, and higher in Vitamin E (also more shelf-stable) – it makes a perfect fat to use as the main base for our body butters and butter balms!
  • Soap Products
    • Since tallow is a heavier and harder fat, higher in saturated fatty acids and low (0-2) on the comedogenic scale (0-5, coconut and palm oils being 4)- it makes a good, moisturizing soap. Tallow soap has a creamy but flat lather, making it perfect for a hand/body soap!
    • NOT recommended for hair although with some practice and patience one could manage to use it as a shampoo soap – it tends to weigh down hair easily and causes more of a waxy texture.
  • Deodorants
    • Tallow makes a great fat base for our deodorants since it is hard enough to be stable, yet soft enough to apply and absorb easily on the skin.
  • Candles & Wax Melts
    • Since tallow is a harder fat, higher in saturated fatty acids – it makes a very useful candle fuel and wax melts. When mixed with beeswax in the correct proportions, tallow helps to create a brighter candle flame and softer wax melt for healthier scent distributions that require lower temperatures.

Have More Questions?

Feel free to reach out to us! You can ask us any questions via commenting below, our social media pages, email, or contact form all found in the links below. We are happy to help you learn more about this fascinating topic!

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Fragrances VS. Essential Oils

Thank you for taking the time and initiative to learn more about Perma-Earth Bath + Body products – for your health and the health of our ecosystems. For a quick answer to most people’s concern when finding this article, jump to “Why Do You Use Fragrances In Some Products?”

Our fragrances are derived from scientifically-processed natural sources and are certified skin-safe by the FDA, INCI (Personal Care Products Council), and are acknowledged by the IFRA’s 48th Amendment Standards (International Fragrance Association). The IFRA standards are based on safety assessments from RIFM (Research Institute for Fragrance Materials).

We will always offer products scented exclusively with 100% natural fragrances and essential oils as well that have passed their GCMS reports. No need to worry, we keep everything very separate in production and shopping online – we clean all equipment thoroughly between uses and we make the distinction between the use of fragrances and/or essential oils quite clear on our website. We pride ourselves in offering the best of both worlds to customers who seek the highest quality products in their favorite scents!

In this article:

The Scents We Use

Phthalates, Parabens, and Certifications

Naturally-Derived Fragrances

Synthetic Fragrances

Essential Oils

What Should I Use?

The Scents We Use

Perma-Earth Bath + Body only uses certified skin-safe, phthalate-free and paraben-free fragrance oils, naturally-derived fragrances, and/or essential oils, or no scent at all (see our SENSITIVE shop category for everything unscented). We specify what is in each and every product with a full list of ingredients: we share absolute everything we know in terms of ingredients.

We blatantly separate fragrances and essential oils, but for a slight few formulations we may mix the two. In blended cases, we automatically categorize the product as “Fragranced”, also listing the specific essential oils used in the formulation. For products categorized as “Essential Oil” we exclusively use only essential oils in those products.


For fragrances, we always consider the recommended amount for every application according to the specifications of each fragrance approved by the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients), which is directed by the Personal Care Products Council. These are the experts who test and certify the fragrances for multiple cosmetic uses.

Fragrance ingredients in cosmetics must meet the same requirement for safety as other cosmetic ingredients. Fragrances must be considered “safe for consumers” (in FDA’s standards) when they are used according to labeled directions, or as people customarily use them. More information about fragrances are detailed below.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are quite different from fragrances in that there is no official recommended usage rate (by the FDA or otherwise). We usually follow recommended usage rates from the essential oil companies themselves. All essential oil companies are regulated by their own scientists when this article was written. Therefore, each and every essential oil company claim is their own and they are not regulated by any other party. This includes claims of “therapeutic-grade”, “medicinal”, “edible”, “scientist-approved”, etc.

For informational purposes only, our stance is that we do not consider any essential oil to be safely edible unless specifically directed by a licensed healthcare practitioner under special supervision and circumstances.

The owner of Perma-Earth (and author of this article) is someone who has worked with essential oils for over a decade at the time of this writing. I know how to properly test essential oils myself, I have personally compared dozens of different essential oil companies, I make myself aware of their origins, and I make sure that we only use 100% pure, therapeutic-grade (non-diluted, properly extracted, responsibly sourced) essential oils in our products.

More information about essential oils are detailed below.

Phthalates, Parabens, and Certifications

As mentioned above, we use phthalate-free, paraben-free, and certified skin-safe fragrances in some of our products according to the INCI and Personal Care Products Council (click links on names in the previous section to learn more).

What Are Phthalates?

Phthalates are defined as a salt or ester of phthalic acid.

Why Are Phthalates Used In Most Fragrances?

Phthalates are often used in most fragrances as solvents or to strengthen the scent and help it linger longer – for days, months, or even years.

Again, Perma-Earth chooses never to use fragrances which contain phthalates!

Why Are Phthalates Considered Dangerous?

Phthalates are linked to cancers, metabolic syndromes (such as diabetes), and hormonal imbalances.

Many people also associate headaches and migraine triggers while inhaling “phthalated” fragrances.

Where Else Are Phthalates Found?

Mainly in plastics to increase durability. This is just another reason why we attempt to avoid choosing plastics as much as possible.

What Are Parabens?

Parabens are a class of widely used preservatives in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Chemically, they are a series of parahydroxybenzoates or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid.

Why Are Parabens Used In Some Fragrances?

Parabens are often used in some fragrances to act as a preservative, helping to keep the integrity of the scent for longer periods of time and to also increase the strength of the fragrance.

Why Are Parabens Considered Dangerous?

Parabens have been linked to inflammatory responses and immune-system disruptions.

Many people have reported increased skin and scalp sensitivity when using paraben-containing products.

Where Else Are Parabens Found?

Mainly in the cosmetics industry. This is ironic considering how irritating it can be for many.


As stated and linked above, we only use phthalate-free and paraben-free fragrances with an INCI from the Personal Care Products Council. Please search above in the first section for links in the names.

Naturally-Derived Fragrances

Perma-Earth uses naturally-derived fragrances in some products, which are clearly defined as “naturally-derived fragrances” in the ingredients list.

What Are Naturally-Derived Fragrances?

In summary, natural aromatics are made by physically extracting the volatile fractions from plants without chemically altering them. Natural fragrances are complex fragrance compounds made exclusively from natural aromatics as defined by IFRA (the International Fragrance Association). The ingredients used in natural fragrances can be essential oils, oleoresins, distillates, fractions, concretes, absolutes, etc.

Why Not Use Only Natural Fragrances?

Natural fragrances, similar to essential oils, are very limited in scope of scent variety – not many choices. Of these limited choices, very few hold up to the standard that many are conditioned to know from fragrances. These include: strength, durability, and trueness to scent ideals.

In short, they are very similar to essential oils, but often less potent and easily broken down by environmental factors such as sunlight, air-exposure, age, etc.

Synthetic Fragrances

Perma-Earth Bath + Body uses phthalate-free, paraben-free, and certified skin-safe fragrances oils processed from nature in some of our body care products. Abstaining from phthalates and parabens often eliminates many issues people have with fragrances in general. You may read more information about phthalates and parabens above in this article.

What Are Synthetic Fragrances?

“We know that fragrance oils can be a mix of processed and purified essential oils, synthetic aromatic chemicals, and resins.  We know that a perfumist must use the proper solvents to dissolve powder and crystalline ingredients into the fragrance oil.  A perfumist can either duplicate an aroma by use of gas chromatographic (GC)-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) (which shows him the ingredients contained in a fragrance), or he can create a unique fragrance oil by combining the right combinations of top, middle, and base notes.” – Nature’s Garden Wholesale Candle & Soap Supplies

Sometimes, it’s better to let the experts, or one of our fragrance suppliers, explain the matter in their terms. Please visit this link for a more thorough introduction into the world of fragrances: What are Fragrance Oils Made Of – Natures Garden Fragrance Oils (

The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requires a product marketed to consumers include a list of ingredients. The product must also be labeled with its net contents, the identity of the item and the name or place of business of the products’ manufacturer, packer or distributor.

Under U.S. regulations, fragrance ingredients can simply be listed as “Fragrance” as they are legally protected trade-secrets. People with questions about allergic reactions to a fragrance may wish to contact the product manufacturer for more information. Learn more about this subject here: Trade Secrets – Safe Cosmetics

We, as non-producers of the fragrance, do not have access to what exactly constitutes each and every fragrance. HOWEVER, if you have any questions about any fragrances we use in a specific product, we can provide you with as much information we know about that fragrance – including our source of purchase and the INCI sheet.

Why Use Synthetic Fragrances In Any Product?

We feel they are safer for those seeking their favorite scents in healthier alternatives since our sources do not contain phthalates or parabens – they are very similar chemicals mimicking natural scents except synthetically created. Think of a lab-made diamond versus a naturally-mined diamond for example: they are both essentially the same, but made differently! This is a very similar circumstance with synthetic fragrances vs. natural scents.

Essential oils can cause many issues… Some essential oils shouldn’t be used if you have certain health conditions (pregnancy, nursing, kidney problems, etc.) Some essential oils have a negative, irritating effect when applied on the body in body care products, no matter how diluted they are. These include but are not limited to: cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemongrass, and more. While it may not irritate some, it can irritate others. This is especially noticeable in leave-on body-care products. And finally, some essential oils actually cause photosensitivity when used in leave-on skin products then exposed to sunlight – we’re looking at YOU, citrus essential oils!!

Fragrances cause LESS cases of irritations than essential oils. This may come as a shock, but here goes: we have many MORE reports of essential oil sensitivity in comparison to our phthalate-free, paraben-free fragrance oils! Meaning: essential oils actually cause more irritations than do the fragrances we use – according to our customers! And yes, we only use 100% pure essential oils or absolutes, nothing else is added to cause this reaction and it has happened even with the most well-known brands.

Eco-Friendly! SAY WHAT?? Environmentally speaking, synthetic fragrances are much less of a burden on the ecosystem… let me explain. It takes 60,000 roses to produce a single 1 oz of rose essential oil. It takes nearly 16 pounds of lavender buds to produce a single 1 oz of lavender essential oil. To put this in perspective, we use approximately 1 oz of essential oil per 5 bars of soap… That’s a LOT of farming and processing just for scenting a few bars of soap!

The sky’s the limit! Some of our favorite scents such as fruits (apples, pumpkins, peaches, etc.), flowers (such as lilies, wildflowers, and more), musks, citruses, clean scents, etc. cannot be produced naturally with an ideal outcome or even at all for any use in body care products. The saponification process alone in cold-process soaps (mixing fats with a natural alkaline to make soap) renders many natural fragrances and essential oils worthless in the end and completely void of scent (citruses for example).

Fragrances perform to most people’s ideals. We want to get nourishing body care products into as many hands (and on as many bodies) as possible. We want to appeal to those who may not even try the more natural products otherwise: we choose to cater to our customers. Therefore, we offer completely naturally-scented (or unscented) products in every category, while also offering what most customers want as well: strong, safe, and creative scents in a large variety with familiar fragrances.

In the beginning we used ONLY 100% natural fragrances and essential oils. We still do use them! But guess what? Most people weren’t happy – they didn’t stick around for very long either because they missed their old fragrances… So we listened to our customers and fixed that issue! Yes, it’s a completely superficial reason why people want synthetic fragrances, but humans are creatures of habit and this is backed by science. Fragrances are strongly associated with feelings of nostalgia: the olfactory (nasal) system in humans is directly linked to the memory bank of the brain. Many people feel very unhappy, or even lost, without the scents linked with positive memories in their lifetime, especially during their formative years.

We will always offer 100% natural fragrances and essential oils as well. No need to panic, we keep everything quite separate and we clean all equipment thoroughly between uses. We pride ourselves in offering the best of both worlds to the most quality-seeking customers!

Where do you source your phthalate-free, paraben-free synthetic fragrances?

Here is our short list with links attached: Brambleberry, Nature’s Garden, Smell No Evil, Lone Star Candle, and Nurture Soap.

What Are Essential Oils?

An essential oil is a natural oil typically obtained by distillation or pressing and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted. Essential oils are considered volatile since they readily evaporate when left uncontained as they only contain the volatile organic compounds of a plant. Essential oils are often used in aromatherapy or topical therapy for evoking natural biological responses in the human body when exposed to these organic chemical compounds.

Essential oils are quite different from fragrances in that there is no official recommended usage rate (by the FDA or otherwise). We usually follow recommended usage rates from the essential oil companies themselves. All essential oil company claims are regulated by their own scientists when this article was written. Therefore, each and every essential oil company claim is their own and they are not regulated by any other party. This includes claims of “therapeutic-grade”, “medicinal”, “edible”, “scientist-approved”, etc.

The major thing one we are concerned about with essential oils are the purity levels, which is reported in each essential oil’s GC/MS reports. We only use PURE natural essential oils according to these scientific tests.

For informational purposes only, our stance is that we do not consider any essential oil to be safely edible unless specifically directed by a licensed healthcare practitioner under special supervision and circumstances.

The owner of Perma-Earth (and author of this article) is someone who has worked with essential oils for over a decade at the time of this writing. I know how to properly test essential oils myself, I have personally compared dozens of different essential oil companies, I make myself aware of their origins, and I make sure that we only use 100% pure, therapeutic-grade (non-diluted, properly extracted, responsibly sourced) essential oils in our products.

Where Do You Source Your Essential Oils?

Here is our short list with links attached: Brambleberry, Bulk Apothecary, and Now FOODS.

What Should I Use?

We leave this entirely up to the consumer’s discretion, however – here are some clues!

We break everything up into “Fragranced”, “Essential Oil”, and “Unscented” in our main product categories – or we always suggest to check the ingredients list in the product tab called “INGREDIENTS”.

Do you have a sensitivity to all scents and fragrances? Stick with our unscented selections in our Sensitive product category!

Do you only use certain brands of essential oils? No worries, make your own concoctions with our base of unscented products in our Sensitive category!

Do you have a history of fragrance sensitivity, but still want to try something of ours that is phthalate-free and paraben-free fragranced? Maybe start with some fragranced sample-sizes (listed as product variations on some products – limited availability – while adding to cart) and see how that does you!

Don’t see something you want? Contact us and let us know what we can do to improve your experience!

Thank you again for taking the time and initiative to learn more about Perma-Earth Bath + Body products – for your health and the health of our ecosystems. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns!

  • written by Mariah Campbell, owner/founder of Perma-Earth LLC
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Grow Roses for Beauty, Food, and Health

Around Valentine’s Day, Buy Living Roses!

Roses are the Perfect Early Addition to your Garden Landscape for Beauty and Practicality!

Written by a Certified Permaculture Landscape Designer

This is the year for you to grow attractive perennials that are also edible or medicinal, adding not only beauty but value to your landscape.

In this article, you will find tips on planting hardy roses early in the spring! How does Late-February to Early March sound? As long as the ground is thawed and all danger of severe frost has passed, you will be good to go!

Most people think of roses as finicky, disease-prone, and overall too fancy and high-maintenance of a plant for their natural gardens.

Well, I LOVE to burst this bubble because there is a perfect solution for most of your rose desires! Good news if you want ease of maintenance or are a black thumb, these roses should survive your neglect. Of course, try to follow the directions on how to plant it and care for it when you purchase!

Now, Let’s Get Planting!

All Roses love well-drained soil, a good pH balance (around the acidic to neutral 5.5-6.5 area), and full sun (6+ hours per day). Keep these factors in mind when planning your rose plot.

As we organic gardeners know, the natural way to attain a fertile and slightly acidic pH soil range is to amend the soil with sulfurous compost (freshly decayed biological matter).

Roses are notorious for being difficult to grow and maintain, which is why we will focus on the hardier variety in this article.

Rosa Rugosa – “Beach Rose”, “Japanese Rose”

Hardy to: USDA ZONES 2-7

Growth Habit: Vining to Impenetrable Bush

Best time to plant: February-March


A very hardy and yet beautiful addition to the garden!

The Rosa Rugosa has many different sizes, varieties, and shades of flower petals like the traditional pinks (from light blush to striking magenta), reds, yellows, and white to the newer varieties of wine-red, striped, or a slightly peachy shade. But, only the original plants with pink-colored flowers will be a guarantee for all of Rugosa‘s distinguishing characteristics.

These flowers are not particularly a show-stopper, except when seen in sheer numbers on a large and fragrant specimen. The flowers are also not good for cut arrangements, although they are extremely useful in crafts, potpourri, and other décor.

Despite a few superficial drawbacks, another positive aspect of the Rugosa is that it is a recurrent bloomer except in much warmer climates, meaning that it will have more than one blooming period in a season!

Edibility & Health

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The Rugosa is known for producing a sour, astringent, but edible cherry-tomato-sized reddish-orange fruit called “Rose Hips”.

You can eat the sour-tasting fruit for their extremely high levels of natural Vitamin C, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories (a great winter survival food).

Rose Hip Tea is available for easier absorption and palatability. The homesteader can even use fresh rose hips to make deliciously tart jams and jellies!

The naturally high content of Vitamin C also makes rose hips a booster for the body to synthesize collagen, helping to restore lubrication and youthfulness to the skin and joints.

Beauty & Cosmetics

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Rose Hip Seeds are also useful as they are made into an anti-aging skin oil high in beneficial fatty acids. This oil is great for wrinkles and dry skin, but should not be used on skin prone to acne, as it’s humectant abilities are too powerful for oily skin types.

Use the flower’s small and sparse, yet delicate and powerfully fragrant, petals to make a natural perfume or potpourri to freshen up your body and home.

Or make infused rosewater (rose hydrosol) to naturally brighten up your face.

Rose Hydrosol Recipe

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You can easily make your own rose hydrosol by:

#1. The Quick Method:

Lightly steam or “simmer” a handful of dried rose petals and 1 cup of purified water in a stainless steel pot, tightly covered for 15 minutes to an hour.

The length of time will determine concentration of rose biochemical ingredients: The longer, the more concentrated. But don’t steam the petals at too high of a temperature for too long, or else you will destroy the benefits.

#1. The Cold Method:

This method keeps more of the beneficial biochemicals intact, but it takes longer, so you will need patience!

A. Fill a clear jar up with dried rose petals, stuff as much as you can in there, but not too tight!

B. Fill the remaining space of the jar up with purified water and close the jar.

C. Allow water and roses to sit in a sunny window for 1-3 days, shaking contents occasionally. Again, the longer you let it sit, the more concentrated it will get, but don’t let it sit for too long or else bacteria and mold might start to grow!

#2. Put the remaining water it in a spray bottle. Dark glass bottles are best to eliminate plastic chemical exposure and to protect the hydrosol from sun damage.

#3. Spritz your clean face every morning and evening.

#4. Store in the refrigerator for long-term use (good up to 1 month), or your shower (good up to 1 week) to use quickly.

Or you can purchase one premade from a reputable source from the affiliate link embedded in the image shown above.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the plant has been used for centuries to treat irregular menstruation and gastritis, as Rosa Rugosa is one of the original rose cultivars, going back thousands of years to its origins in Japan and Siberia.

Reddish-Orange Rose Hip Powder is useful in soaps and other cosmetic colorants. In Ancient China, dried rose petals were ground up and processed to make lip colors and rouge blushes.

History & Hardiness

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The plant has been naturalized in the Northeastern part of the United States ever since it’s first documented planting in the mid-1800’s.

It has since spread far and wide due to its weedy growth habit, which does not respond well to cuttings, so expect to let it grow to full size for best results in your garden.

Sometimes considered an invasive species and will readily hybridize with other roses, so you might want to check with local authorities.

But this actually makes it more appealing to me–the hardier and less maintenance means the better suitable for my organic gardens!

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Rosa Rugosa is resistant to many diseases that other roses are prone to contracting like rose rust and black spot.

It’s pollen, bold fragrance, and bright colors will also attract and feed pollinators like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Be forewarned in that it is like most roses, thorny and prickly. But, unlike other roses, the Rugosa only needs at minimum a few hours of sun in the right conditions.

Of course, it will produce best and be its healthiest in full sun (6+ hours per day)!However, if the rugged Rugosa is not your thing, there are other options!

Companion Plants

Who wants to see just one plant dominate the landscape? Although Rugosa roses are wonderful and hardy specimens by themselves, they will be healthier and happier-looking with other helpers around it.

Some of these perennial plants that form a symbiotic relationship with roses are:

Garlic – or any other plant from the Allium family

Another beautiful, hardy, and incredibly useful plant is garlic! Not only will it be good for your roses, but they are amazing for your health and cooking recipes!

Planting bulbs around any large perennial (tree or bush) is a good idea, for when spring comes, they help break up the soil, letting the warm sunlight and rain come pouring into the ground!

Geranium – think wild geranium, or “Cranesbill”, for your perennial garden

Beneficial for keeping those pesky bugs at bay, the Cranesbill wild geranium is also useful in the home apothecary for numerous reasons. Its traditional uses include reducing signs of aging in skin and helping stop diarrhea


Wow, can you get any more of a fragrance northern perennial pairing? Roses and lavender are both beautiful in their own way, complimenting each other in shape and color! The spiked small purple flowers and silvery soft leaf foliage of the lavender contrast beautifully with the glossy, sharp dark green foliage of the bigger, round roses.

Lavender is another one of those garden plants good at keeping pests away. Its herbal uses are that it can be used as a calming tea or for a good nights sleep.

Sage – Salvia

Similar to lavender, some sages are also great for cooking and herbal uses! Sage can help liven dishes with its herbaceous and fresh flavor. Or you can use sage in your herbal recipes to help with digestion and other issues. Sage is known to ward off negative emotions or heavy feelings.


Other types of hardier roses (but not as hardy or as practical as the Rugosa), would also do well when properly cared for. Here are some other books and articles about Rugosa roses and other hardy roses that will give you more varieties so you can find the perfect one for your needs!

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The Rugged Rugosa – American Rose Society

10 Hardy Roses to Plant in Your Garden – Canada

Hardy Roses to Minnesota Gardens – Minnesota

Different Kinds of Roses – Illinois


**Statements on this website have not been approved by the FDA. These statements are for educational purposes only and not intended to cure or treat any disease. Please consult with your healthcare provider before implementing any new health program.**

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DIY Easy Feather Lampshade

DIY Easy Feather Lamp

Here’s how to turn your old unsightly lampshade into a whimsical, romantic, and naturally charming light!


I adore our guinea fowl, not only are they a bit of comedic relief, but they are good security alarms, tick & insect hunters, and the females lay eggs. I also love their feathers! I had been collecting them in hopes of finding something to do with them on a rainy day, and did I ever!


I picked up this vintage lamp at an antique store a while back and thought it was simply charming, except the stained shade, which I had intended to replace long ago… Then, Voilá! I had an idea!

What I thought would take me a couple of hours ended up taking me around 4-5 hours of straight work by myself (set-up and clean-up included). So, this is definitely something for a rainy day with a friend and no distracting television, especially if you want it to look decent.

This is also a simple and easy project for you and (older) children to do! I’d say from 12+ years could do this with no problem. Any younger and they might be getting bored too quickly and be too messy with it for a professional look.
Get ready! You will need:


1. A lamp with a cleaned lampshade, preferably a light or white colored shade that isn’t in too shabby of shape. You don’t want to put these beautiful feathers on a crumbling structure. Have fun picking out your lamp from a yard sale, consignment shop, antique store, or your storage closet!
2. Tacky glue. Any will do, but make sure you get the sturdy crafting kind.
3. An iron with ironing board (I’ll explain later).
4. FEATHERS!!! We want feathers with a backbone (wing feathers) in this particular project. If you want to use downy feathers, that is fine too, but you might want to use a brush to “paint” the glue on the lampshade instead of putting it down in globs, which will block out more light than necessary and might alter your design when the lamp is lit.
5. Some spare paper like newspaper or anything that you don’t mind getting glue all over to cover your workspace.
6. Strong scissors for cutting the feathers.

All set? Let’s get creative in making our own décor!



1. Set out the paper or covering material on your workspace, preferably a cleared table with plenty of room for you to spread out your iron (plus access to a socket to plug it in), ironing board, glue, feathers, scissors, and lampshade. If you don’t have access to a table, don’t feel bad, you can also do all of this on the floor, which is where I ended up!

2. Decide what kind of design you want to put on your lampshade. I could visualize it in my mind because mine was a simple design to look like a bird’s wing, but if yours is more complicated, then might I suggest you draw it out to make sure that is what you want before committing?

3. Cut your feathers to your liking. I cut my feathers’ “stems” off so that they wouldn’t get in the way and to prevent a wavy texture from fuddling up the gluing process.

4. Iron all of your feathers. If you have a buddy, you can get them to iron the feathers while you glue the finished pieces on. It doesn’t take very long, but every feather is different. Do some timed tests to figure out the most efficient way to iron your feathers, whether you need to only iron them for 20 seconds on each side or one minute on one side, or something else entirely. I heated my iron up all the way on high heat and ironed them for at least one minute on both sides (my feathers were sturdy). You can always run a test by ironing one of your least favorite feathers and making sure it doesn’t burn while it is flattening. Yes, that’s why we need an iron! If the feathers aren’t perfectly level with the shade, the feather will have more chances to come unglued and then your lamp will look a little haywire… Unless you’re going for that style of course!

5. Put some glue on your feather or on the lampshade, one feather at a time or one space at a time, whichever way feels best for you. I put the glue on my feathers first and then pressed them onto the lampshade. Make sure you do the ones you want to cover up FIRST and then glue on the ones you want to cover the ones under it. Sound confusing? Make sure you glue them in the order you want! For instance, I wanted the bigger parts of the flight feathers to be covered up by the softer feathers to make it look more wing-like, so I started from the bottom and glued the big flight feathers on first, then worked my way around in one direction and then up in sections.


6. You can finish with some hairspray if you prefer or just leave it as-is (that’s what I did)! Put it back on your lamp base and place it somewhere beautiful! I tend to like feather lamps in a bedroom or living room. Feather lamps can give these rooms a sense of whimsical, romantic, and natural charm!

Check out another project made with Guinea Fowl Feathers:


This “Yin & Yang” Chinese Dreamcatcher is what my husband and I made to match our lamp!

COMMENT BELOW: Let us know how you did and don’t forget to share pictures of your masterpiece!

Blessings, Grace, Love & Thanks!
– The Campbell’s