What's In Your Stuff?
One of the main reasons we started Belham Herbals was because we wanted to know what we put on our bodies when using skin care products. Many of the products that are sold by big name retailers may be popular, but when you turn them around to look at the ingredients you're presented with several dozen names that you've never heard of, nor can you determine what they do. Some handcrafted "natural" sellers do not disclose their ingredients at all.
Our policy at Belham Herbals regarding product formulation is "Simplicity & Honesty"- we avoid anything unnecessary and we let you know exactly what is in what you're putting on your body.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you make your soap? How?
Our soap bars are handcrafted 100% from scratch using the Cold Process method.
What's in your soap bars?
As always, we promote the use of the most sustainable ingredients, only cruelty-free sources (especially of animal-based products), and local sources whenever possible. All of our bars contain Georgia Olive Oil from Georgia Olive Farms, Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) sourced Palm Oil, Coconut Oil, & Unrefined Shea Butter from Ghana. Each bar contains slightly different ingredients, scents, colorants, additives, etc, that are unique to that bar. We use items like local beach sand, locally roasted coffee beans, and herbs grown in our very own gardens.
Are your products vegan?
We do have some products that are vegan, though we are not a vegan company. Our Goat's Milk line is not vegan, and is formulated with Goat's Milk. Our Sea Island Cotton is formulated using Cruelty-Free Silk & Cotton Honey. Our Midsummer Sun (Summer Seasonal) is formulated with honey. The remainder of our items are vegan.
The only animal-based ingredients we use are local Honey (from HL Franklin's Healthy Honey), Cruelty-Free Tussah Silk, & Meyenberg Goat Milk (Why Meyenburg? It is Kosher, and their goats have not been treated with rBGH's. We are currently trying to source local Goat Milk in bulk, please contact us if you are interested in partnering with us). All of these products are sustainably harvested and cruelty-free.
Where do you get your Essential Oils?
Our Essential Oils are sourced individually from varying sources; some of our oils are cold-pressed (such as citrus oils) and others are steam-distilled. We are working on compiling a directory of the country of origin and means of extraction of all of our oils. We are aiming to move towards 100% organic oils whenever possible. We do not use MLM based companies to source our oils, we use industry-specific, therapeutic-grade sources.
Are your products 'natural'?
We use 99% naturally-derived ingredients or better. We do use fragrance oils to replicate scents that are hard or harmful to naturally source (apple essential oil doesn't exist, for example, and clove essential oil can be very irritating to customers with sensitive skin) and we use gentle preservatives at a very low rate in our body creams for your safety.
Are your products organic?
This is a tricky question. Because of simple chemistry, soap bars cannot be 100% organic - they require 10-15% sodium hydroxide (lye) to create, of which an 'organic' source does not exist. So even though there is no lye remaining in the finished soap bar, no one can make this claim. The best a bar of soap can do is to be made with organic ingredients, but this requires expensive certification that we cannot yet afford. We do hope to become certified at some point in our future, but we can only do so if our customers continue to support us!
Do you use parabens?
We use no parabens in our products. Parabens are commonly used in preservative systems, and some even occur in nature (in blueberries, for example). Though many agencies have found parabens to be perfectly safe when present in small amounts, we have no need to include them in our products.
What are pthalates? Do you use them?
"Pthalates, a family of industrial chemicals used to soften PVC plastic and as solvents in cosmetics and other consumer products, can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system — particularly the developing testes — according to animal studies." (Source) We use only pthalate-free ingredients. Some fragrance oils other bath & body makers include pthalates, and they do not even have to be labeled as such, they can be included in the word "fragrance" in the ingredient listing.
Do you use preservatives?
Yes, we do, but not in our soap - our body creams (like all lotions) contain oils suspended in water, which if left unpreserved, is a recipe for mold and bacteria growth. Rather than assume you only want your lotion for a week and you want to keep it refrigerated, we use very gentle preservatives so that no bacteria or mold will be slathered on your skin or find its way into any small cuts or nicks on the skin's surface. We use no parabens or formaldehyde in these preservatives.
Do you use surfactants or sulfates?
We use no harsh sulfates and have no need for surfactants, because our soap naturally has a great, fluffy lather!
Do you have a product for my eczema, depression, or arthritis?
Did you know that the FDA explicitly forbids us from making medical claims about our products, or even mentioning diseases or medical conditions in marketing materials? We cannot recommend specific items for your ailments, even if we believe they may work. We know that some companies DO make these claims - and they are doing so illegally. We prefer to stick to guidelines because we like being in business - and we don't believe in making anecdotal claims that haven't been backed up by scientific studies. The best we can say is that our soap is great for those of you suffering from sensitive skin. We encourage you to talk to your doctor or do research on essential oils or herbs to see which of our ingredients would help you most.
Can I use your soap as shampoo?
Sure! Remember, though, that there are no surfactants, or silicones, present in our soap. The lather and feel will be different than you are used to and it may take a week or so before you are used to the feel. We recommend that you do a rinse with diluted Apple Cider Vinegar (and you can infuse it with herbs like rosemary or lavender!) at least once a week to keep your hair pH balanced.