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This page offers a collection of educational information and advices related with the Cretan-Garden soaps. Since it is impossible to add all the necessary information on the inside of the wrapper, and I am running an e-commerce shop without the possibility to inform customers directly, I share it here. Information about soap is part of the registration in the Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, and the related Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The sector handcrafted soap is categorized as “cosmetics” and cosmetics are also a department of the Food Safety Authority.

1. Soap

Cretan-Garden soaps are cold processed [38°C] herbal olive oil soaps, with a pH level of 9, which is normal for cold processed soaps, all existing handmade and industrial soaps and soap liquids that are available on the market. Also, the in the past so popular Palmolive soap had a pH value of 9. The Cretan-Garden soap is hypoallergenic, which means that it minimizes a possible allergic reaction. Herbal olive soap leaves a thin film layer on the skin after washing. This layer contains all the goods of olive oil, herbs and essential oils, their vitamins and minerals, their anti-aging and moisturizing properties, and skin-elasticity effect.

Cretan-Garden soaps are made out of Cretan organic olive oil, herbs and essential oils. The ingredients to saponify the infused oil are distilled water and sodium hydroxide. There are also handmade soaps created out of distilled water and potassium hydroxide, but the pH levels of both are the same. Every soap or liquid soap is alkaline. Soaps which have a neutral pH value should be examined: the chemicals to lower the alkalinity of the soap, to make a soap more acidic, neutral, can be dangerous for the skin. Always Search for the ingredients in the information. If these are not added do not buy the soap. Washing off the skin after bathing or showering with herbal olive soap (or any kind of soap) is essential to keep a healthy skin. Read also chapter 8: body oil. You can find extended information about pH values in Scientific Research / pH values.

The lye (distilled water plus sodium hydroxide) disappears completely during the months the soap is curing. The used formulas are derived from old traditional recipes.

Pinterest: Traditional soap making

2. Use of the soap

Attention: see also the following paragraph 3: “The use of soap for babies and small children”, and paragraph 4: “The use of soap in nature.”

The soap can be used at the sink in the kitchen and bathroom, in the bath and shower, also to wash hair*. Soap residues must be washed off with much water. In case of any kind of skin problem consult a dermatologist or general practitioner. Herbal olive soap is safe to be used, it is hypoallergenic, which means that it minimizes a possible allergic reaction. It is also safe for aging skin and for intimate hygiene. In cases of vulva-vaginal infections it is necessary to consult your general practitioner or a medical doctor.. Read also: skin problems, symptoms, temporary skin disorders, permanent skin disorders, skin disorders in children, treating skin disorders, causes and prevention – Healthline

The soap cleanses also black greasy hands of car mechanics, takes away unpleasant smells, while keeping the skin moisturized, elastic, protected, and well smelling, after. Especially oregano soap can be used to cure or avoid athlete’s foot, or any other kind of fungi on the skin: it is more antiseptic than any other kind of soap. Herbal olive soap, especially oregano soap and rosemary soap can also be used against head lice. Herbal olive soap can also be used to rub in greasy spots in clothes that cannot be washed out with another detergent. Let the soap act for a while before rinsing the spot with lukewarm water. Read more about the use of herbal olive soap in the information of each soap, see menu on the top. In the blog and in “scientific research” you can find more information.

It is astonishing that soap manufacturers of for instance the so popular Aleppo soap, Savon de Marseille soap, Castile soap do not offer information about the pH value. The pH value of all natural soaps is 9. It is related with the formula for handcrafted natural soaps according to old traditions. There are manufacturers of the so-called neutral soaps, or so-called ecological degradable soaps who do not offer any information about that either. There are natural soap manufacturers who add natural acidic substances of for instance aloe vera to lower the pH level. For me its has been a conscious choice to follow up the old traditional methods and formulas. Though the Cretan-Garden olive soap is alkalic, the skin needs just 15 minutes to come back to its own pH. The benefits of the olive oil, herbs and essential oils in the soap are all still present in the thin film that remains on the skin, nourish, protect and keep the skin elastic.

*Advice: use argan oil after washing, on the towel-dry hair if you have dry and/or curly hair. Grey hair can be very dry as well. Argan oil is also used in the so-called Moroccan oil, but argan oil is pure oil, does not contain perfumes, or any other kind of chemicals. To make the argan oil more yours you can mix one drop essential oil with the argan oil in the palm of your hand before spreading it over the hair, and rub it in the hair and the scalp for about a minute.

3. Do not use any kind of soap for newborns and infants

There are websites with information which is absolutely not according to recent scientific research results about the use of industrial soaps and also handcrafted soap. The claim on these websites that it is safe to be used for babies is not correct.

Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt from Pexels

Because the skin of newborn babies, infants and toddlers is utterly sensitive, my advice is not to use any soap-product at all unless from Weleda. Weleda has a hundred years old experience with skin products, has an impeccable reputation, creates high quality products, and has a wonderful skin-care line for babies. Website: here. For older children it is safe to use herbal olive soap for handwashing, or to grate a little part of the soap for the use in the bath or the foot bath. Herbal olive soap leaves a thin film of olive oil, which protects the skin and moisturizes the skin. Advice: parents should keep an eye on their children when they are washing their hands. If they experience problems with handwashing, because the child does not like to wash hands in the right way, parents could read aloud for instance this book. The own example however is the best statement. Watch: You’re washing your hands all wrong. Also: “A complete guide for handwashing” by the University of Leicester. Video.

4. Use of soap in nature

Factually not any kind of soap, whatever the pH value is, should be used in nature, not even the biodegradable soaps and detergents. The term “biodegradable” sounds perfect but is not: these soaps are not eco-friendly, not any soap is eco-friendly. Therefore, mostly not any information is added about pH values, ingredients. Cretan-Garden soaps are also biodegradable, but the pH value is higher(9) than the soils in nature(6) wherein the waste water disappears and is transported via subterranean currents to the nearby river or stream.

“Before the advent of synthetic detergents, there were problems with the effects of soaps on the ecosystem, once they have left an insoluble film on the surface of the water which, for example, decreased or even impeded the entry of oxygen. Therefore, always existed an environmental concern in relation to cleaning products, the observation of its effects on the ecosystem always existed.” Source: Synthetic detergents: 100 years of history – NCBI/PubMed

Natural soaps, which are all cold processed, to keep the benefits of the natural ingredients optimal, are not safe to use in nature, because of the pH values. The pH value of the Cretan Garden soaps is 9, like all cold processed soaps. Even if the pH value is neutral, the soap is not eco-friendly, because the pH value of soils in different biotopes differ and must be protected. So-called pH neutral, industrial soaps contain synthetic ingredients, to lower the pH level with acidic chemicals. The most of the soaps on the camping and outdoor-sport market do not even mention the pH value, neither the ingredients. For an eco-friendly wilderness experience please read: “Staying Clean in the Wild: The Natural Way”. More about pH values and skin: Scientific Research, scroll down to: pH values.

If it is unavoidable to use soap, detergent or toothpaste in nature, use a natural, degradable version, and keep a distance of at least 100 meters from any water source, do not wash or bath in any water source, and limit the washing-times. Be aware that nature needs many years to restore from disbalance.

5. Herbs

Herbs are plants with unique smells, flavours, and nourishing qualities, mostly known as kitchen herbs. A lot of herbs though are also healing medicinal herbs, used in natural body care products, in phytotherapy, naturopathy, and as essential oils in aroma therapy.

The location where the herbs grow or are cultivated creates the level of quality of the herb. For example: rosemary, a Mediterranean herb, does not offer the same smell, flavour and nourishing or healing quality as the same species cultivated for instance in Norway: soils and climate, the way of cultivating and care, next to the biodiversity that surrounds the herb are part of the harvesting results, and the quality.

The herbs and essential oils derived from the herbs, used in the Cretan-Garden soaps, are organic and cultivated on Crete, on the soils and within the climate that are belonging to the origins of the herb. The herbs used for the soaps are Rosemary, Oregano, Sage and Lavender. The Lavender is from Greece, not from Crete. The essential oils in the Cretan-Garden soaps are also from Crete/Greece, except the Patchouli and YlangYlang oil.

During at least three months the olive oil is infused with the herbs. Every batch is therefore different. All the benefits of the herb get extracted from the herb, and the soap making starts with filtering out the herbs, pulverizing these and adding these back to the olive oil in a filtering procedure. To make the colour of the soap more strong also the powder of pulverized dried herb is used, next to the essential oil with the same name.

More in my blog Multerland and YouTube channel Multerland:

6. Olive oil

The Cretan-Garden soaps are all Cretan organic olive oil soaps. Olive oil is a very healthy food product. Olive oil is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D, E, and K and pro vitamin A, and the minerals Calcium(Ca), Copper(Cu), Iron(Fe), Magnesium(Mg), Manganese(Mn), Phosphorus(P). Sulphur(S) and Silicon(Si). Olive oil is also skin food. You can use it as a body-oil or massage oil. A recipe for an easy home-made body oil or massage oil is to be found in the following chapter. Homemade body and massage oils do not smell any more like olive oil, but like the essential oil which is added. Soaps do not smell olive-oily either: the smell disappeared during the saponification process. What remains are the natural smells of the infused herbs, the natural colorants and the essential oils. The most of the Cretan Garden soaps contain infused Rosemary oil. Rosemary has lots of benefits to protect the skin, to nourish the skin, to heal the skin, to prevent aging.

Gallery: Olive trees, Olea Europaea L., Ελαιόδενδρο, Ελιές

Gallery: Olives and Olive oil / Ελιές και ελαιόλαδο

7. Olive oil: body oil

Make your own skin conditioner: buy organic olive oil, and the essential oil used in the soap. Add 200 ml olive oil / 20 drops essential oil [for external use only!] in an empty and well cleaned fluid soap bottle with pump. Add just a little handful of the homemade body oil immediately after washing to the wet and warm body from face to toes, spread it all over the skin. Then dry yourself with a towel. A very thin film is left. It offers a matt effect to skin, without weighing it, without leaving oily traces. It improves skin elasticity while preventing moisture loss that can contribute to the aging process. Furthermore, it keeps the skin smooth and soft, while leaving a natural healthy glow, younger looking result, and the wonderful scent of the essential oil. You can buy essential oils at BioAroma, Crete. Important information about the structure of your skin, skin types, skin health in the blog post: The skin Note: though I have used olive oil, mixed with essential oil, for several decades, I notice that the skin of my face does not like the essential oils in the olive oil anymore. Reason for me to continue with just olive oil.

8. The scent of the used essential oils

Cretan-Garden soaps contain essential oils, mixed with an infused herb with the same name, a natural colorant from the same dry herb, or mixed with rosemary. Rosemary as an infused oil is prominent present in the Cretan Garden series because of its skin protecting and nourishing qualities.

Essential oils – Essential oils are extracted from the leaf, flower, seed, roots, peel and resin of trees and plants. They are aromatic volatiles of very different composition. The oils occur as small droplets in the sap stream of the plant. The odorant in the aromatic plants is formed in superficial glands or sacs on the underside of the leaf. In the trees, the fragrance is contained in the tubes that are located in the cores of the wood. In the case of citrus fruits, the fragrance is stored in the peel in fairly large storage cavities. In the plant itself, the aromatic oil strengthens the plant’s defense system against bacteria and parasites. Source: Academy Sagho, Netherlands / Aroma therapy. Due to their extremely strong concentration of active substances, essential oils should never be taken internally without consulting a licensed therapist. Essential oil should never be applied undiluted to the skin.

Lavender – Its scent is strong, charismatic, and intensely botanical—underlying its floral sweetness are green and spicy notes, which combine to give lavender a somewhat woody, herbal quality. Balances the fourth chakra – heart chakra; fifth chakra – throat chakra; sixth chakra – third eye; seventh chakra – crown chakra. Lavender relaxes. See also here.

Oregano – Oregano has a very strong aroma, the scent is charismatic, intense, warm, savory, spicy, herbal, and balances the second chakra – the sacral chakra. Oregano soap is an disinfectant soap: it is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral. Avoid using near to eyes, and the intimate zones. Can be used in foot baths to treat athlete feet: grate a little part of the bar and stir it for a while till all particles are dissolved. It can also be used to spray leaves of plants, to kill aphids. Do not let children use the soap without guidance. Oregano improves concentration and mood. See also here.

Patchouli – Patchouli has a strong, sweet base-scent is grounding, balancing, calming. It falls into the musky-earthy category. Balances the first chakra [root chakra], the second chakra [sacral chakra], the sixth chakra [third eye]. Patchouli is popular among men. See also here.

Rosemary – Rosemary smells woody, herbal, refreshes and uplifts the psyche. It stimulates the third chakra / solar plexus; balances the fifth chakra – throat chakra. The herb Rosemary contains potent antioxidants, rosemary leaf extract protects the skin and prevents signs of premature aging. Rosmarinic acid (the main component in rosemary leaf extract) is powerfully calming for skin conditions like eczema and acne. The Cretan-Garden soaps contain infused Rosemary herbs, pulverized Rosemary herbs, and Rosemary powder as a natural colorant. In general, anyone with acne, eczema or anyone interested in anti-aging skincare. It’s safe for daily use. See also here.

Sage – The smell is warm, camphoraceous, spicy, earthy, herbaceous, soft yet savory and perhaps a tad bit lemony. Balances the fifth chakra – throat chakra. Sage Essential Oil is known to stimulate and clarify the mind while exhibiting a balancing, uplifting, soothing, and strengthening effect on the senses to ease negative moods. See also here.

YlangYlang – YlangYlang smells sweet, slightly exotic, gentle, feminine. It balances the fourth chakra – heart chakra. YlangYlang is commonly used for stress-relief and mood-elevation. The YlangYlang scent relaxes and can act as an aphrodisiac. See also here.

9. Expiry date

Shelf life: the soap has no expiration date. However, the scent of the soap, as well as the color, can diminish over many years. If you do not use the soap or soaps immediately, store them in a dry place, for example a drawer in a cupboard, without plastic packaging. Attention: paper and plastic can be recycled. Therefore, do not dispose of these with the bulky waste, but in the bins or bags specially intended for this purpose.

10. How to store the soap

Keep it in a dry environment, for instance in a drawer, or in a carton box in a drawer or cabinet. Do not pack soap in plastic. You can use baking paper instead. Bathroom: keep the bar on a dry surface, for instance a dry washcloth, away from water or wet spots, otherwise the soap dissolves too quickly.

11. Suppliers

  1. Felea Goods, Heraklion, Crete: Organic -Extra Virgin-Olive Oil; Organic herbs: Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Lavender; Lavender essential oil. Website
  2. BioAroma, Crete: Essential oils

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