GLYCERIN, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, SORBITOL, SORBITAN OLEATE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE: Another reviewer mentioned that these were inorganic ingredients. Well, first of all, this cleansing bar is not touted as a completely organic product. Just natural. Which is fine, unless you are truly looking for certified organic products. And being the avid label reader and researcher that I am, I wanted to check into these ingredients to see where they were derived from and how safe they were for me. What can I say? I love a good challenge... and I too, want to make sure that I know exactly what is going into and onto my body! I gave the product 4 stars based solely on the ingredients. Couldn't give 5 because I have not tried it yet. I use other Sibu products and I like them! So without further ado, here's what I found out:
GLYCERIN (also known as Glycerine): Glycerine comes from either one of two sources. On the one hand it is the main by-product of biofuel (ethanol) production, which means that assuming the ethanol boom continues we'll be seeing a whole lot more of it in our future. This isn't the type we typically eat, however, since in its raw state it contains a fair amount of water plus a few residual whatsits. Refined and purified, it's used in cosmetics and for "personal lubricants". Vegetable glycerin is a natural product made from vegetable oil, often coconut or palm oil. Glycerin is classified as a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to the skin, and is thought to leave the skin moist and healthy. It has very emollient properties and can help soften and smooth the skin. Vegetable glycerin is also used in making herbal tinctures where alcohol can not be used.
SODIUM HYDROXIDE: (also known as Lye): Lye soap has been around for generations. Up until the 1850s, when the general store started stocking provisions, folks made most of their household supplies themselves, including lye soap. Three ingredients went into the making of lye soap: lard, lye, and lots of hard work. Lard was rendered and saved for soap-making from the annual hog kill that took place at the time of the first hard frost in autumn. Lye was made from the ashes left over from the wood stoves. (Most people kept a wooden bin with a side spigot just outside the house, into which they'd dump their ashes. When it came time to make lye soap, they poured water through the ashes and siphoned off the liquid lye.)
The third ingredient of lye soap had to be supplied by a pair of hard working hands. Lye is an extremely caustic agent, so the soap makers had to be careful to have just the right concentration. Too much lye would cause the soap to burn the skin, and too little would keep the soap from hardening. An old wives' tale held that lye was at the proper strength when depositing a floating egg into the mixture revealed only its tip. To make lye soap, lard and lye were mixed together over an open fire, and stirred for hours with a long-handled paddle. It is said that when the paddle stuck straight up, the soap was ready. Lye soap was then poured into a metal pan and allowed to dry and harden; a process that could take from two weeks to one month. After the lye soap hardened, it was cut into smaller bars for everyday use. People used lye soap to clean everything from their faces to their laundry. Today, many people still like to buy and use original lye soap.
Lye soap can be purchased from soap companies, which sell their product in specialty bath shops or over the Internet. Many people tout the benefits of lye soap; it is a natural product, and because soap makers have perfected the level of lye to add, it can be a very gentle soap. Current lye soap manufacturers have substituted different types of oil for lard. Fragrances are added, and sometimes natural oils such as aloe, jojoba, or coconut, which soothe the skin. Fans of lye soap also say that it can help reduce the itching caused by insect bites. Nostalgia is another reason why people like lye soap. Some enjoy homemade lye for the novelty of using the same rugged brown soap that their Great-Great-grandparents used so many years ago.
SORBITOL: (a sugar alchohol): Sorbitol often is used in modern cosmetics as a humectant and thickener. Sorbitol, also known as glucitol, is a sugar alcohol that the human body metabolizes slowly. It can be obtained by reduction of glucose, changing the aldehyde group to a hydroxyl group. Sorbitol is found in apples, pears, peaches, and prunes.
SORBITAN OLEATE: (Sorbitan Oleate is a monoester of oleic acid and hexitol anhydrides derived from sorbitol): The Cosmetics Database considers Sorbitan Oleate a low hazard ingredient. All Sorbitan esters, including Sorbitan Oleate, are considered generally mild skin irritants but nonsensitizers (RealSelf.com)
TITANIUM DIOXIDE: (the white stuff found in natural mineral sunscreens): Most natural and organic mineral sunscreens contain titanium dioxide rather than chemical sunscreens because many of the chemical ones are known carcinogens. It's a white, opaque and naturally- occurring mineral found in two main forms: rutile and anatase. Both forms contain pure titanium dioxide that is bound to impurities. Titanium dioxide is chemically processed to remove these impurities, leaving the pure, white pigment available for use. Titanium dioxide has a variety of uses, as it is odorless and absorbent. This mineral can be found in many products, ranging from paint to food to cosmetics. In cosmetics, it serves several purposes. It is a white pigment, an opacifier and a sunscreen. Titanium dioxide is listed as a safe pigment, with no known adverse effects. It is not listed as a carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen, comedogen, toxin or as a trigger for contact dermatitis in any other safety regulatory publications beside the NIOSH (Antczak, 2001; Physical & Theoretical Chemical Laboratory, Oxford University respectively). It is reasonable to conclude then, that titanium dioxide is not a cancer-causing substance and is generally safe for use in foods, drugs, paints and cosmetics.
So there you have it. I dunno about you, but I learned a lot today about what goes into my cosmetics and what ingredients to look for when I am trying to find something more natural and better for my body. I've done all the research and hopefully this'll help other people make a decision about whether or not they should try this lovely soap. I really like this brand and there are so many benefits to sea buckthorn, I would hate to think people would turn away from it and not use it because they think it contains bad things. If you really are a purist, try making your own or find a local goat farm that makes soap from goat's milk. That usually only has a few completely natural ingredients.