A Glossary of the Unfamiliar

Absolute – a highly concentrated viscous or semi-solid perfume material, usually obtained by alcohol extraction.

Amyris – an essential oil made from the wood of the tree. It smells somewhat like sandlewood, though a bit more pungent, with a deep and slightly smoky smell.

Balm of Gilead buds – the unopened leaf buds of the Balsam popular.

Bergamot – a member of the mint family, the essential oil has a citrus like smell.

Black Currant Absolute – the essential oil of the Black Currant flowers.

Boise de Rose Oil – the essential oil of the rose wood tree. A South American tree, its wood is used to make high quality guitars. The essential oil has a rich woody sweet herbaceous smell.

Borage Oil – an oil that is rich in essential fatty acids; especially Omega 6, omega3, and conjugated linoleic acid.

Buchu Oil – a somewhat mint scented essential oil. It is listed in the British Pharmacopoeia for use as a treatment for urinary tract infections. In South Africa where it grows freely, it is used to ward off insects.

Bulgarian Rose (as opposed to any other rose) – the true Rose oil; it is the most costly of the various types. Most of the world’s supply comes from Bulgaria.

Cabreuva Oil – a South American tree valued for its exceptionally hard furniture grade wood. The essential oil has many folk uses and has been used to eliminate scars and to treat severe skin ulcers.

Capryloyl Glycine - a complex of amino acid protein and fractionated vegetable oil that helps kill microbes, and protects skin from water loss.

Carrageenan – a seaweed that is used as a thickener and stabilizer for emulsions and foods like sauces, jellies, and puddings.

Cassis absolute – made from the flowers of a very fragrant acacia tree related to the mimosa tree. It is used in high quality perfumes, and has had many uses in folk medicine.

Castile Soap – a term that has become synonymous for natural, high quality soap. The Castile region of Spain was known for this type soap, and many say it was due to the abundance of Olive Oil used that made it remarkably satisfying to the skin. Our Castile soap is made with an abundance of olive oil. If you are inclined towards a liquid soap that is minimally processed, made the old fashioned way from scratch, then this product is for you. Unlike other liquid Castile soaps, ours is thick, rich and hydrating.

Cetyl Alcohol - an emulsifier and consistency agent processed from coconut that also works as an emollient for the skin. This form of alcohol is what’s scientifically known as a “fatty alcohol” and is in no way similar to the generally known forms of volatile alcohols (such as rubbing alcohol or grain alcohol). It isn’t a liquid, but is solid in nature and looks like wax.

Copaiba Balsam – a tropical tree native to South America. The sap is distilled to the essential oil that has a woody spicy smell.

d-Alpha Tocopherly Acetate - the edible form of natural vitamin E found in higher quality dietary supplements and skincare products. Most skincare products use synthetic vitamin e (dl-alpha tocopheryl acetate), as cosmetic labeling laws don’t require the distinction of whether the synthetic or natural version is used.

Davana Oil – a very complex essential oil that will enhance the properties of any essential oil it is added to. It is often used to create fruit like fragrances, but smells disagreeable by itself.

Extract - usually made from an alcohol solution. A given plant is soaked in alcohol for several weeks to absorb the biologically active parts of the plant.

Farnesol – a substance found in many essential oils, especially sandalwood and neroli oil. It has antimicrobial properties as well as anti-odor properties.

Glyceryl Stearate and Glyceryl Stearate Citrate - sugar based emulsifiers that keep oil and water complexes bound together. It forms light and stable creams and lotions. It is also used in Europe as an emulsifier in foods.

Henna – used for centuries as a coloring agent for hair. Neutral henna is an excellent conditioner for hair of all types, and imparts a soft and silky feel to hair as well.

Howood – an unusual essential oil that is blended with other oils to impart a unique fragrance.

Infusion - an infusion is made by soaking various plants or plant products in oils water or alcohol. The biologically active parts of the plants are then absorbed by the solution in which they are soaked.

Kaolin Clay – a type of clay with a high percentage of colloidal minerals. It is astringent and mildly antiseptic. The minerals can be absorbed and used by the body in this form.

Lichen extract - the alcohol extract of the lichen Usnea. A common lichen that grows on live oak trees. It is a proven antimicrobial and anti-fungal substance.

Mimosa Absolute – the extracted fragrance of the Mimosa flower. It has a very sweet and tenacious smell.

Myrrh Gum Powder - the finely ground resin of myrrh. Myrrh has been used for centuries as incense, as a deodorizer, and as an antimicrobial agent.

Oakmoss - similar to tree moss, a slightly different species, but similar in smell and chemical properties.

French White Clay - rich in minerals; it has a soft silky feel and is very absorbent.

Olive Squalene – extracted from the leaves of black olive trees; it is a powerful antioxidant and skin moisturizer.

Ozmanthus Absolute – a fragrant absolute made from the flowers. It is used as a component of many floral fragrances.

Palmorosa – the essential oil of a grass-like plant from India. It has a sweet floral, rosy, geranium-like smell.

Panthenyl Hydroxypropyl Steardimonium Chloride – Vitamin B5 that has been electrically altered to allow it to be absorbed by the hair. It strengthens the hair and prevents moisture loss.

Petitgrain - the essential oil of leaves of the orange tree. The essential oil produces a fragrant, floral and woodsy aroma.

Polyquaternium-10 - a seaweed starch that has been processed to change the electrical charge of the molecule. Used in shampoos and conditioners, it allows hair to be combed easily without static build up.

Propolis extract – Propolis is a resin that bees produce to protect the hive from decay, made from the secretions of various trees; primarily Balsam Poplar (the balm of gilead tree).The buds have many properties and several unknown constituents. A powerful antimicrobial and anti-fungal agent.

Saponified Oils - oils that have been changed into soap by the addition of water and an alkaline solution. Our saponified oils are vegetable oils, such as olive, palm, coconut and castor.

SD-Alcohol 40-2 - The initials “sd” stand for “specially denatured”. The numbers “40-2” are what designate this alcohol formula with the federal government. Denatured alcohol is altered to make it unpleasant if ingested. Effective in fighting underarm odor. Safe for use on the skin, but can sensitize certain types of skin.

Siam Benzoin Absolute - a balsamic resin from a tree in Southeast Asia (Styrax Benzoin). It has a delightful aromatic fragrance that is used in flavorings and fragrances. The tincture is also used medically as an antiseptic that helps bandages stick. We use it as both a preservative and fragrance.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocoamphodiacetate, Decyl Polyglucose, Cocobetaine - these processed ingredients are commonly called soaps, but are more accurately (or scientifically) called detergents or surfactants. There is a more complex form of chemistry and processing involved in processing detergents than there is in processing soap. These materials that we use are processed from coconut oil, corn, and sugar and have been proven to be safe and biodegradable. Although not true “soaps”, they mimic the behavior of soap by altering the surface tension of water, in effect making water “wetter”, and thus causing a greater cleaning effect. For more information on SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), look for the article in the Ingredients section of our website entitled “From the Soapbox”.

Sodium Myreth Sulfate – mysteric acid fraction of coconut oil that is milder than other fractions of the coconut oil such as oleic or lyric acid. It has been sulfonated to form a milder man-made surfactant.

Strawberry Oil - this strawberry is a true strawberry essence. It is a carbon dioxide extraction made from the fresh berries. This process actually captures the smell of the fresh berries. Only a few fruit essences can be extracted in this manner and because of the complexity of the process tend to be quite expensive.

Styrax – a deciduous tree with purplish gray bark with three lobed leaves and white flowers. Native to Asia Minor and similar to The Red Gum Tree of North America, the bark secretions produce a resinous substance that is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It is distilled into a sweet smelling essential oil with the same properties as the tree resin, and is closely related to Siam Benzoin.

Sulfated Castor Oil – a partially sulfated castor oil that enables it to be water soluble without losing its moisturizing and skin protecting properties. It was one of the first additives used to make a milder soap in the seventeenth century.

Tagetes absolute – an essential oil made from the flowers of a plant that is in the Marigold family. It smells strongly of marigolds, but is pleasant when blended with other essential oils.

Tolu Balsam – the distilled sap of a tropical evergreen tree, related to fir. It has a sweet vanilla-like smell.

Tonka Bean – a pleasant smelling essential oil extracted from the cured beans. The tree is native to South America, where the seeds are harvested and sent to Europe and the United States for extraction. It has a sweet warm, nutty, herbaceous aroma.

Treemoss – a thick green oily paste made from a common lichen that grows on oak trees. Used as a fragrance component, it has a sweet herbaceous smell and antimicrobial properties.

Xanthan Gum - a plant derived gum that both thickens and emulsifies. Used in foods to thicken jellies and sauces, as well as in skincare products to help thicken and strengthen emulsions.

Ylang Ylang – an extremely fragrant essential oil extracted from the flower. Used in high quality perfumes.

Zinc Oxide – is essential for healthy skin and proper cardiovascular function. It has antimicrobial properties and in the oxide form will repel water and help protect the skin form UV radiation.

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