The mysterious ingredients of handmade soap May 15, 2016 00:00

Are you into reading labels of the natural soap and other skin and hair care products? Some of us are becoming ingredient conscious and careful about what we are putting on our skin. Try as we might to understand the contents of our soaps and face creams, there is always something that sounds unfamiliar!

Some of the ingredients that puzzled me whenever I bought natural creams or handmade soaps were fragrance-related: limonene, citral, eugenol, linalool. Usually they are accompanied by a star, which leads to a legend informing that this ingredients is derived from essential oil, like this:

 Coumarin*

* From natural essential oils.

So what are these substances and why are they mentioned separately? I used to think it could have something to do with creating a new fragrance from natural scent chemicals. Turns out these molecules are actually ingredients of essential oils. It sounds obvious now, but I used to think of essential oils as pure substances rather than complex mixtures. For example lavender oil consists mostly of phytochemicals called linalool, linalyl acetate and eucalyptol. Some of the ingredients of essential oils might cause allergy in some people, which is why they have to be mentioned separately on the labels of handmade soaps and other skincare products. If you are allergic to them, this information on the label will help you to avoid products that contain them. And that’s all there is to it!