Liquid Castille Soap for the Chemical-Free Home

When we first discovered the harmful effects of the chemicals in regular commercial soaps, the easiest way for us to start moving away from these toxins was to make natural bar soaps. Although the process involved in making bar soaps is time-consuming and a little daunting to some, it is actually relatively easy. After doing research online and experimenting with different combinations of oils, we soon developed our first basic range of soaps for both hair and body. Washing our hair with a bar soap took some getting used to, but the results made it worth while.

Although we were very happy with our bar soaps, I still wanted to be able to make a liquid hand soap for my basin… and a liquid shampoo! I tried grating bar soaps and dissolving them in boiling water, but they always separated after a couple of days. Eventually we took the plunge and made our first real liquid soap. And we are hooked!

How we make our liquid soaps

The process for making liquid soap is much more involved than that for natural bar soaps. We use potassium hydroxide (KOH) as lye for saponifying the oils as opposed to sodium hydroxide (NaOH) which produces a Liquid soapsolid soap. Saponification (that is, turning the oils into soap) takes much longer, so the soap is usually left to cook gently for an extended time before it is ready for dilution. We then dilute the soap with purified water till it reaches the right consistency. This sometimes takes several days to avoid an overly-runny end product. When we are happy with the soap the essential oils are added – except of course in the case of the Pure soaps which have no added essential oils. Once bottled, we allow the soap to stand for a further two weeks to cure properly.

As with our natural bar soaps, our liquid soaps are made purely from saponified vegetable oils. We do not add any other ingredients like emulsifiers. The result is, therefore, what is called a liquid castille soap.

Our range of liquid soaps

As mentioned above, all our liquid soaps are castille soaps. This implies that they are made from saponified vegetable oils. Oils have particular properties when saponified due to their fatty acid make-up. We have, therefore, developed three distinct liquid castille soaps, each with a specific purpose.

Olive Oil Liquid Castille Soap

The Mein Herr Olive Oil Liquid Castille Soap contains a high percentage of olive oil. This makes it a particularly moisturising soap. It can be used as a hand soap or shower gel. Alternatively, for those who enjoy whipping up their own DIY natural products, this soap can be added to recipes that call for castille soap.

We have a fragrance-free option, Pure, with no added essential oils. This gives you the freedom to choose your own combination of essential oils to suit your needs.

Hair and Body Liquid Castille Soap

Liquid castille soapThe Mein Herr Hair and Body Liquid Castille Soap is made from vegetable oils that are particularly good for hair-care. As such, it can be used as a basic shower gel, but also as a liquid shampoo. Always remember that natural soap is very alkaline, so it is advisable to complete your shampoo routine with a dilute apple cider vinegar rinse to neutralise the pH. This acts as a natural hair conditioner. Read more about using vinegar here.

The Hair and Body Liquid Castille Soap comes in two fragrances: Berg Rose and Meander. If you prefer a fragrance-free soap, or would like to add your own personal blend of essential oils, we also make a Pure option with no added essential oils.

Coconut Oil Liquid Castille Soap

Finally, the Mein Herr Coconut Oil Liquid Castille Soap (coming soon) is a soap ideally suited to making household-cleaning products. It is a 100% coconut oils soap which means that it is great for cutting grease. You can read more about coconut oil in soap here.

The Coconut Oil Liquid Castille Soap is only available in Pure, that is with no added essential oils. You can add a couple of drops of lemon essential oil and it serves very well as a natural dish washing liquid. Alternatively it can be used as an ingredient in other DIY natural cleaning products.

Our hope is that through making these wonderful liquid castille soaps available in our shop, we will enable you to more easily progress towards a chemical-free environment in your home.


Mein Herr Natural Products

Coconut Oil in Soap

Coconut oil has become very popular as a skin moisturiser. However, when saponified (that is, turned into soap) it could have the opposite effect due to its excellent grease-cutting capability.

Coconut oil in hair and body soaps

Saponified coconut oil is very cleansing. It is very hard and also produces lovely bubbles. As such it is a basic ingredient in all our soaps. But the Mein Herr natural soaps for hair and body contain only a small quantity of coconut oil. A soap that has a high percentage of coconut oil can dehydrate the skin as it strips it of the natural skin oils.

Coconut oil in household cleaning soaps

We have harnessed the grease-cutting abilities of coconut oil in the Mein Herr natural household cleaning range. There are currently two household cleaning bar soaps available on our website: the Mein Herr All Purpose Cleaning Bar Soap and the Mein Herr Pure Coconut Oil Bar Soap which is used to make Mein Herr Laundry Soap Powder.


Mein Herr Household Products

Mein Herr All Purpose Cleaning Bar Soap contains a high percentage of coconut oil along with other more moisturising oils which make it less harsh on the skin. It can be used to wash oily dishes, countertops and other household surfaces or even to hand-wash laundry. It can also be used to remove tougher dirt from your hands if you enjoy working in the garden or in your garage. This soap is made from natural ingredients with no added harmful chemicals (Why natural soap?). However, due to the dehydrating effects of saponified coconut oil it may be advisable to apply a moisturising oil on your hands after using this soap.

Mein Herr Laundry Soap Powder is a borax-free natural laundry detergent that can be used in an automatic washing machine. It is made, very simply, from a combination of finely grated Mein Herr Pure Coconut Oil Bar Soap and Soda Ash with Lemon and Lavender essential oils for fragrance. Saponified coconut oil is very hard, so this soap powder works best in a warm to hot wash. Alternatively you can first dissolve the powder in warm water and then add it to your load. For tougher stains the Mein Herr Laundry Soap Powder can also be used as a soak before washing in the machine. We have personally found that the cleaning power of this soap is phenomenal. And the best part is that it is completely natural.

Because the recipe for Mein Herr Laundry Soap Powder is so easy, we have decided to make it possible for you to make your own. You can now buy the Mein Herr Coconut Oil Bar Soap, grate it yourself and add the Soda Ash (available from the pool section of your grocery store) and your choice of essential oils. The recipe, with quantities, is included in the packaging of the bar soap.

The Mein Herr Olive Oil Bar Soap can also be grated and added to a sink of warm water for washing dishes. Since it contains no moisturising oils it does the job really well. Just be aware that it is quite harsh on the skin, so it would be ideal to use dish-washing gloves.

All these household cleaning products are very alkaline. It is therefore recommended that you add vinegar to your rinsing water. This will remove any soap residue and also neutralise the pH.

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Caring for your Hair with Natural Shampoo

Caring for your Hair with Natural Shampoo

If you have always used a synthetic commercial shampoo you may be wondering why you should make the switch to washing your hair with a natural shampoo. This article gives a brief overview of the effect of shampoo on your hair in particular. Although there are also far-reaching health concerns due to the use of harmful chemicals in commercial shampoo, we do not discuss these here.

How synthetic hair products work

Commercial shampoos contain silicone which coats your hair, making it feel silky, but leaving a residue. When you wash your hair, the surfactants in the shampoo strip your hair of the residue quite effectively, but they also strip your hair of all the natural oils. This is why most people need to use conditioners – that’s right, add some more chemicals to your hair to moisturise it and make it feel like hair again!

Using our natural shampoo

Mein Herr Natural Products makes a range of soaps that are specifically suitable for Mein Herr Natural Soapwashing hair. These soaps are made from vegetable oils using the same process of saponification as any other natural soap. The difference is that we have carefully chosen oils that are particularly good for hair care. You can read more about the benefits of using natural soap here. And you can purchase our Hair and Body Bar Soaps from our shop.

You would use a natural shampoo in exactly the same way as any commercial shampoo. However, natural soap is very alkaline by nature. As a result you need to neutralise the pH by rinsing your hair with a dilute solution of apple cider vinegar after every wash. The vinegar acts as hair conditioner, leaving your hair soft and silky. And the vinegar smell disappears the moment your hair has dried.

Hair detox

When switching to natural shampoo many people go through a detox period because of the repeated exposure to toxic ingredients. We thought it good to explain this process and how to reduce the negative effects thereof.

One of the results of washing your hair with shampoos that contain surfactants (surface active ingredients) is an over-active scalp which produces excess natural oil to make up for the regular stripping. So iapple cider vinegarf you don’t wash your hair often it becomes greasy. When you wash with natural shampoo your hair retains all the natural oils. You may initially need to wash your hair more often than before, but eventually your body gets back into balance and you will find that you can wash your hair less regularly.

Also when you switch to using a natural shampoo it takes some time to get rid of the residue build-up, because there are no detergents in the soap. Completing each wash with an apple cider vinegar rinse assists in this process. Some websites even suggest beginning and ending with a vinegar rinse when you are going through the detox period. After that, you can go back to only using the vinegar as a final rinse. The vinegar basically helps to remove any soap residue from your hair.

Washing your hair with natural soap is most definitely the better option. Your hair will grow healthier and stronger, and it will soon look and feel more amazing than ever!


Mein Herr Natural Products

Why Natural Soap?

Why Natural Soap?

Natural soap is growing in popularity, but is it just a fad or a subconscious desire to return to the age of tie-dye and bellbottoms? It turns out, using Natural soap is not merely a fashion statement, but a wise life choice.

Why not commercial soap?

Commercially-sold cleansers, including common soaps and ‘syndets’ (synthetic detergents), have complex compositions of emollients (moisturisers), preservatives, fragrances, lather enhancers, chelating agents and, worst of all, surface-active substances (surfactants). Surfactants work by lowering the surface tension on the skin and removing dirt in an emulsified form. In short they strip the skin of its natural oils. Surfactants also induce irritant dermatitis. Some examples of surfactants that occur in commercial soap are sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and dodecyl trimethyl ammonium bromide (DTAB). It may be cheeper to use commercial soaps, but the effect on your skin and hair is damaging.

What is more, the damaging effects stretch beyond the health of your skin and hair. Many of the chemicals listed in the ingredients of commercial soaps are known carcinogens. They are absorbed through your skin and reek havoc in your body. The article 10 Toxic Beauty Ingredients to Avoid is a really worthwhile read in this regard.

What makes natural soap the better choice?

natural soapNatural soap has a much simpler composition. Soap is chemically defined as the alkali salt of fatty acids. The natural soap-making process involves a chemical reaction between oils and lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide). The process, called saponification, converts the oils to soap. All our hand-made soaps and shampoos are made using lye, but there is no lye in the finished product.

Glycerin, a natural byproduct of the saponification process, is a humectant. It attracts moisture and gives it back to your skin. In commercially sold soaps the glycerin is usually extracted and sold to cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies. In natural soap the glycerin, and all its nourishing properties, remain intact.

In the Mein Herr natural soaps we make use of vegetable oils as carrier oils. The specific composition results in soap which is both cleansing and moisturising. Various essential oils are then added for their respective properties and fragrance. All these soaps are available from our online shop.

Using natural soap results in stronger skin, a healthier head of hair and overall a healthier body in the long run.

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