We talked last week about vegan sewing and notions, and today I’m going to tackle vegan soap making. Since soap making isn’t my strong suit, I turned to the amazing Tracy Perkins of Strawberry Hedgehog. Tracy is a vegan soap superstar, and she knows her stuff! She was kind enough to share a list of animal ingredients to look out for when you’re picking up soap making supplies, and it was so comprehensive, I’m going to share it with you guys almost exactly as she sent it to me:
- Tallow: fat from cows (Sodium Tallowate in the final product label)
- Emu Oil: fat from emus
- Lanolin: fat from wool/sheep skin
- Carmine/Crimson Lake: red dye made from cochineal beetles
- Goat’s Milk
- Cow’s Milk
- Lactic Acid – I know that in food, you can find plant-based lactic acid, but unless it specifies it’s probably milk-derived.
- Silk Protein
- Collagen: proteins sourced from any animal fibrous tissue: flesh, ligaments, tendons
- Honey, Beeswax, Propolis
- Glycerin (I.E. NOT VEGETABLE GLYCERIN): glycerin is produced any time you mix lye with oil – in the case of vegetable glycerin the oil is veg-based, in the case of plain glycerin it may be from animal fats. If it is retained glycerin in a vegan bar of soap, clearly it is veg even if it is not labeled as such. At the very least ask the provider if it is vegetable or not.
So what ingredients can vegan soap makers use? There are lots of options! As Tracy mentioned, vegetable glycerin is vegan, and that’s a key ingredient in many soap recipes. Supplies like vegetable oils, essential oils, dried herbs, cocoa butter, and organic extracts are all vegan and make for beautiful soap.
Vegan living involves a lot of careful label-reading, whether we’re talking food or crafting. At first, it might seem a bit cumbersome but it becomes second nature after a while. I’ve grown to really enjoy knowing exactly what’s in the products I’m consuming. It almost feels like this instinct goes hand in hand with green crafting – the more you learn about what things are made of, the more you want to know!
Are there any vegan soap makers out there? Feel free to share additional tips in the comments!
[Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Bfoster71]