Frequently Asked Questions

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We have gotten a lot of questions over the years, and have found that some of them come up more often than others. The questions and answers are grouped by category to make your search easier. Some of them may also reference additional topics or pages. If you find you still have a question that isn’t answered here, please reach out to us. Click this link to visit our contact page.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are all of your products Vegan?

Currently all of our soaps are vegan. Our lotion, body butter, sugar scrubs, bath tea, bug repellent, facial masks, and oils are all vegan. We do use some ingredients that are not vegan. Beeswax and honey are the two most commonly used ingredients that would disqualify a product from being vegan. Most of our products that use these are balms and salves. We do make changes to our recipes from time to time. It’s always best to check the ingredients to be sure. If you have any questions regarding ingredients, please reach out to us, we are happy to help!

Are your products gluten-free?

The only products that are not gluten-free are those containing oats. We aren’t sure if oats actually contain gluten, but we don’t always purchase gluten-free oats. If you are sensitive to gluten, we would recommend avoiding our products that contain oats. If you aren’t sure if our products have oats in them or not, please contact us.

Can I submit product recommendations?

Yes, please send us a message via the contact us link at the bottom of the page!

Do you make all of this stuff?

Yes! Bay Berry Bliss is a family-owned business. We (Chuck and Kelly) make all of our products entirely from scratch in our soap kitchen located in Northwest NJ.

Other Product Questions

Are any of your products nut-free?

All of our soaps except for Castile contain coconut oil. Some of our other products include coconut oil. I recommend checking the ingredient label carefully to be sure there aren’t any ingredients that you’re allergic to. If you have any questions, we are happy to help!

Can your tick spray be used on a dog or pet?

To the best of our knowledge, rose geranium and cedarwood are safe for use on dogs. We use this on our dog without any problems. To be sure, check with your veterinarian and do a patch test when applying it for the first time to ensure your dog doesn’t have a reaction. Remember a dog’s nose is very sensitive. You can spray a small amount on a paper towel and use that to coat your dogs fur.

Cats are an entirely different story. We aren’t sure if these essential oils are safe for cats. It is best to check with your vet for this. Cats ingest whatever you put on their fur, and they have trouble metabolizing some essential oils. We could not find a reliable source of information on this yet. If you find one, please let us know.

Do you have a facial moisturizer?

Yes! We have a luxurious facial oil made with organic rosehip and marula oils. The blend was chosen to include oils that are non-greasy and will not clog your pores. These oils are chock full of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. They act to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier, prevent free radical damage, and increase skin elasticity. Also, many people like to use our body butters (seasonal) as a facial moisturizer. It is an all-natural moisturizer with many benefits to your skin. See our blog post on shea butter here.

Do you have an all-natural moisturizer?

Yes! Our body butter (seasonal) and our solid lotion sticks are both all-natural. We make them with only oils and butters and they don’t contain water, so they do not need a preservative. We also have a variety of oils (facial, massage, argan, etc.) that are also all-natural. They would make a great alternative to lotion. We make our lotions completely from scratch using USDA Certified Organic oils and butters. All lotion is water-based and requires a preservative, therefore we do not consider this all-natural. We do offer some lotions scented with essential oils, which is as natural as a lotion could be. Our lotions are also paraben-free.

What essential oils are in your bug spray?

We formulated our bug spray primarily to repel mosquitoes. It may be effective at repelling other flying insects as well. Lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, lavender, and peppermint are the essential oils doing the work in our bug spray. We also make a tick spray that includes rose geranium and cedarwood. These are the two most effective essential oils to keep ticks away.

What is a bath tea?

Our bath tea is a combination of herbs scented with eucalyptus and mint essential oils. Place ¼-½ cup of the herbs in the muslin bag and hang it from the faucet while drawing your bathwater. It’s especially helpful for relieving congestion or sore muscles.

What is sugar scrub used for?

Our sugar scrub is my very favorite of everything we make! It’s made with meadowfoam oil, which is moisturizing and quickly absorbs into your skin, but is not greasy. Use it after washing your hands to exfoliate and moisturize, leaving your hands soft. Use it in the shower. Simply rub into your arms and legs and then rinse, and your skin will feel amazing. Sugar scrub is also an excellent choice for shaving, enabling you to get a close shave and leaving your legs feeling extra soft when you’re done. To use it on your face, we recommend rubbing it in your hands first to help some of the sugar dissolve, so it’s not too abrasive.

Essential Oil Questions

Are your essential oils food grade?

Some of the essential oils we purchase are food grade. That said, because we bottle them in our home, we cannot sell them as such. Essential oils are very concentrated and many are recommended to be diluted prior to topical use on your skin. We do not recommend ingesting essential oils.

Are your essential oils therapeutic grade?

There is no authority figure that oversees the use of the term therapeutic grade when it comes to essential oils. This means the definition is free for manufacturers to define as it suits them best. It can mean whatever they want it to mean. The term “Therapeutic grade” essential oils is basically a marketing scheme to promote some essential oils as being of a different grade than others. There are no standards with regards to grading the quality of essential oils. In fact, the multi-level marketing companies selling essential oils have trademarked phrases such as “certified pure therapeutic grade,” which means no other company can use this wording on their labeling.

We stick to purchasing our essential oils from reputable vendors and purchase only oils that are 100% pure.

Can you apply essential oils directly to your skin?

NO! This is generally not advisable. Essential oils are very concentrated, and many of them can irritate the skin if not properly diluted before applying. Even if you don’t notice irritation at first, sensitivity can develop over time. Typical recommended dilutions of essential oils are 1-5%. For a 1% dilution in a teaspoon of carrier oil, add 1 drop of essential oil. Add another drop for each additional percentage needed.

How can I use Essential Oils?

  • Add a few drops to your bath water
  • Add a few drops to the water in an essential oil diffuser
  • Add a few drops to a spray bottle of water, shake and use to freshen up the air
  • Add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and use to clean your counters
  • Add a few drops to a washcloth in a small bowl of warm water, wring out and use as a hot compress
  • Add a few drops to your pillow
  • Add a few drops to a bowl of steaming water and place a towel over your head and gently breathe in the steam being careful that it’s not too hot

We wrote a little more about what essential oils are and how to use them in this page: What is an essential oil.

What is the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils?

Fragrance oils are synthetic and made in a lab. Essential oils are highly concentrated volatile liquid derived directly from plant matter. Essential oils can be costly due to the amount of plant matter needed to extract a meaningful amount of oils. Making rose essential oil requires hand harvesting rose blossoms in the morning before sunrise, and distilling the material the same day. According to Wikipedia you might need between 1,500 pounds and 10,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose essential oil. This is why some essential oils are quite expensive (hundreds of dollars per ounce). We tend to avoid these very expensive oils to come up with a cost-effective product.

Where do you buy your essential oils from?

We purchase our essential oils from bulk suppliers, as we buy them by the pound and use them by the cupful in our recipes. Our oils are of good quality and 100% pure. We do not use essential oils from any of the multi-level marketing companies like DoTerra or Young Living. They do not sell their oils in bulk, only consumer sized bottles.

Soap Questions

Are Your Soaps Natural?

There is no standard definition when it comes to the word natural for soaps and other hygiene products. Manufacturers are free to define the word natural to mean whatever they wish. Not all products that use the word natural really are in our opinion. We hold ourselves to the strictest of standards regarding what is considered all-natural.

For us, all-natural products can only include naturally occurring ingredients, or ingredients derived from naturally occurring elements with minimal processing. We make soaps scented with either essential oils or fragrance oils. Chemists make fragrance oils in a lab; they don’t exist in nature. This is why we don’t consider them to be all-natural. We offer both essential oils and fragrance oils because not all scents are available in essential oils.

We make our all-natural essential oil (and unscented) soaps from scratch using USDA Certified Organic Oils, including organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, sustainable organic palm oil, and organic castor oil. To that we add natural colorants (clays, spices, oxides, and micas), herbs, natural exfoliants (coffee, oatmeal, cloves, pumice, loofah etc.), and essential oils for scent, aromatherapy, and their benefits to the skin. The only soaps we would consider all-natural is the essential oil soaps, due to the fragrance being man-made.

Do your soaps lather?

Yes! They have a nice thick lather. They aren’t all the same recipe, some will lather more than others. The quality of your water will also affect the lather. If you have hard water, the lather of any soap will be somewhat reduced.

Does the scent of the soap last until the soap is gone?

Yes, it does, we are heavy fisted with the essential oils (often the most expensive ingredient). Some scents are better with this than others with this, but we have not seen any of our bar soaps lose their scent before the bar is used up with regular use.

How do you use a shampoo bar?

To use a shampoo bar rub it directly on wet hair or lather it in your hands and then apply to your hair. Our shampoo bar has a thick lather, much like other shampoos without the chemicals used in commercial shampoo products. We have a more detailed page about shampoo bars here.

How long does your soap last?

That is a tricky question because it depends on the usage and storage conditions of the soap. I would say, on average, with daily use, our soap will last approximately one month. Allowing your soap to dry between uses by placing it on a draining soap dish, will make it last longer. Soap will absorb water and become soft when it isn’t allowed to dry between uses. Using soap that does not thoroughly dry out is ok, it just makes it disappear a little faster. We offer a recycled plastic soap deck and a Soap Lift on our website, both of which will allow your soap to dry. You can simply rinse off the soap deck or soap lift with water. The soap deck could also go in the dishwasher for cleaning.

Is your Palm Oil Sustainably Harvested?

Yes, our palm oil comes from a supplier that is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which is an organization that supports sustainable palm oil production.

What are your soaps made with?

Not all of our recipes are the same. Some common ingredients for our soaps include the following USDA Certified Organic oils: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sustainable Palm Oil, and Organic Castor Oil.

What is “Cold Processed” ?

Cold process is a way of making soap which does not include any added heat. Some methods of making soap call for additional heat to help the chemical reaction that produces soap to complete (aka Hot Process) and you can also make soap by melting a premade soap base down and pour it into a mold. All three have advantages and disadvantages; we use cold process for a majority of our products because it is a more traditional approach. According to Wikipdeia the earliest soap recipes were cold processed and date back to the Babylonians at around 2200 BC. Our cold process soaps cure for at least 6 full weeks to ensure you get a hard, long lasting bar of soap.

What is soap?

In simplified terms soap is a salt of a fatty acid. By definition, when fats and lye are combined in the proper amounts soap is produced. You can not have soap without using lye as an ingredient. You can purchase a pre-made soap base and make soap without dealing with lye, but the person who made that soap base had to somehow combine lye with fats.

What is the difference between handmade cold process soaps and commercially available “soaps”?

Many commercial “soaps” are not soaps at all. If you look carefully, they are often labeled as beauty bars, deodorant bars, or body bars. These commercial bars often use surfactants such as SLS (and a wide variety of other chemicals) to perform the same function as soap. These bars will cleanse your skin, but these surfactants work so well that they will also strip your skin of its natural oils. Handmade cold process soaps are full of glycerin (a byproduct of the soap-making chemical reaction) as well as excess oil to keep your skin moisturized. Be careful; once you use handmade cold process soap, it can be challenging to go back to the commercial variety.

What is the white powdery stuff on top of my soap?

This substance is called soda ash or sodium bicarbonate. It is formed on the soap as the water in the soap evaporates. The soda ash might not be pretty, but it is harmless and will wash away with water with a few uses. This sometimes happens with handmade cold process soaps, and some recipes are more prone to developing this. We tend to keep the worst looking ones for ourselves, and can assure that the ash is normal, and using a soap with ash is completely safe.

Recommendations

Are your soaps safe for babies?

We would recommend using our Calendula and Aloe or Oatmeal Shea on a baby’s skin. Both of these are exceptionally mild and safe for babies. Babies can have very sensitive skin, so we would not recommend using any soaps with fragrance or essential oils, as these could be possible irritants. That said, it is not a tear-free formulation. We recommend being very careful to keep any real soap out of your baby’s eyes (as well as yours). Commercial baby soaps and shampoos use some sort of synthetic numbing agent to come up with a no-tear formula. We have chosen not to include such additives in our soaps.

Can you recommend a soap for acne?

Essential oils are known to have some qualities that are beneficial to your skin. Some of our soaps with essential oils that have been considered helpful for acne are: Lavender, Lavender and Rosemary, Lemongrass, Tea Tree, and Peppermint. Charcoal soap is also reported to be effective against acne, as the charcoal can absorb oils from your skin pores.

Can your soaps be used on my face?

Yes, all of our soaps can be used on your face. We would recommend using an all-natural bar of soap for your face. If you have sensitive skin, maybe an unscented soap would be your best bet.

Do you have a soap for poison ivy?

We try to make a limited supply of Jewel Weed soap in the spring to ensure we have a fresh supply for each year. Jewelweed has been used for centuries as a natural preventative and treatment for poison ivy and poison oak and is a folk remedy for many other skin disorders.

What soap would you recommend for sensitive skin?

If you have sensitive skin we would recommend sticking to all-natural soaps. We would recommend using either Aloe and Calendula or our Oatmeal Shea soap. If you really wanted something scented maybe pick one of our lavender soaps. Lavender essential oil has many beneficial qualities and is fairly mild.

2 COMMENTS

    • Our larger bars are closer to 6 oz, while our smaller bars are 4.5 oz. We have recently updated the website to list the weight of each bar of soap on each individual page.

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