We’ve discontinued a few soaps recently, and we’ve already explained this a couple of times, but I’ve gotten a few of e-mails lately from people asking why their favorite soap is discontinued. Allow me to address this:
There are two basic ways to scent soap. One is to use fragrance oils, and the other is to use essential oils. Essential oils come straight from the plant. They are most often distilled out of the plant blossoms or leaves using steam and are completely natural. The other way to scent soap is using synthetic fragrance oils. There are certain scents which simply can not be obtained as essential oils. Other times, essential oils are so expensive that it just doesn’t make sense to use them in soap. For example, if we were to offer a soap scented with jasmine essential oil, it’d cost something like $15 per bar for us just to break even because of the exorbitant price of jasmine essential oil.
In the other case, if you try to distill lilac essential oil from a lilac plant, the result smells nothing like lilac (this is because most of the constituents of the essential oil that the lilac blossom contains are damaged and/or washed away during the distilling process). You’ve probably noticed that if you pick lilac flowers and put them in a vase, the flowers lose their true scent after only a few hours. This is because the constituents that make up the lilac essential oil are extremely fragile. There are ways to get the scent from a lilac flower into an oil (enfluerage, for example), but that brings back the problem of price, making it impractical for use in a bar of soap.
So for some scents, it’s impossible or impractical to use natural scenting agents in a bar of soap. The other option, fragrance oils; are synthetic or partly-synthetic compounds. This isn’t to say that fragrance oils are bad, just that they are synthetic and therefore not natural. On top of this, the fragrance oil manufacturers keep their formulas private to protect their intellectual property. The result is that we have absolutely no way of knowing what’s in a given fragrance oil. It could contain mostly natural oils, or mostly synthetic oils, or a blend of oils that are allergenic to some people. There’s just no way of knowing because the ingredients are secret. For this reason, we have discontinued all fragrance oil soaps. The majority of our customers have skin sensitivities. We really work hard to please our customers and most of them were unhappy by the difficulty they experienced in determining if a soap contained fragrance oils or not.
We understand that for some people, we’re discontinuing their favorite soap. We wish there was another way, but we can’t please everyone, and we feel that keeping all Alabu products truly all-natural is the right direction to go for our company and our customers.
If you’re looking for a nice floral scent, check out our newly introduced Garden Trellis, which is a blend of all-natural fair-trade essential oils. I’d say it’s somewhat similar to the smell of a rose, but it’s a little sweeter and slightly earthier. It’s a well-balanced scent and I absolutely love it. We’ll be coming out with more blends in the months ahead in an effort to replace some of the fragrance oil soaps that we’ve discontinued