Dr. Eva's Encyclopedia of Ingredients
Find out what is in our all-natural, vegan products, and why!
Plant Oils and Butters
Avocado oil (Persea gratissima)
Avocado oil is pressed from avocado fruit, and is full of beneficial fatty acids and vitamins. The oil is absorbed by the skin, Avocado oil is reputed to be beneficial in reducing age spots and the appearance of scars because it has a high content of unsaponifiables (sterolins) that soften and moisturize skin’s upper layer. We use avocado oil to super-fat our most luxurious soaps, as well as in our massage bars and massage candles.
Canola oil (Brassica napus)
Canola oil comes from pressed canola seeds also known as oil rapeseeds. The plant grows to about 4-6 feet in height and bears beautiful bright yellow flowers, which eventually develop into seedpods. The seeds contain about 40% of oil. Both canola seeds and rapeseeds belong to the exactly same genus; however, the name canola (Canadian oilseed- low acid) indicates an improved version developed by Canadian scientists to get rid of rapeseed’s undesirable qualities – erucic acid and glucosinolates.
Canola oil is light yellow and has a neutral taste. It has unique health benefits, and is quickly emerging as one of the healthiest oils. Like olive oil, it is very low in saturated fats, and high in anti-oxidant Vitamin E. It contains linoleic (omega-6) and α-linolenic acid (omega-3) essential fatty acids at a 2:1 ratio, making it one of the healthiest cooking oils available.
When used in soap making, canola oil produces soap with lovely dense and creamy lather, with moisturizing properties. We use canola oil in all of our soap bars and liquids.
Castor oil (Ricinus communis)
Castor oil is made by cold-pressing the seed of the Ricinus communis plant, followed by a heat clarification process. The oil is unusual because it has a high content of the fatty acid ‘ricinoleic acid’, which is known for its activity against bacteria, yeasts and molds. The oil is a colourless, odorless and tasteless pale yellow liquid.
When used in soap making, castor oil complements other oils to create a very rich and creamy lather. We use castor oil in all of our soap bars and liquids.
Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera)
The coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) is native to the warm climates of Southeast Asia. It blooms and bears fruit throughout the year. The nuts are the largest seed known to the world, and can take up to a year to fully mature.
When applied topically, coconut oil can reduce the symptoms associated with psoriasis, eczema as it gives a natural balance to the skin. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but melts at around 76 degrees. When saponified, coconut oil makes a hard soap bar, with lots of big bubbly lather. All our soaps contain coconut oil, because of that property.
We have made the choice to use coconut oil, rather than the much cheaper palm oil in our soaps, because it is more environmentally sustainable, and provides lots of benefits for the skin. We use coconut oil in all of our soap bars and liquids.
Grapeseed oil is extracted from –yes, you guessed it— the seeds of wine grapes! It is a nice light oil that is easily absorbed into the skin without leaving any greasy feel. It has a very high content of linoleic acid — a fatty acid that is known to help with acne and eczema. It is also rich in vitamin E, which helps reduce wrinkles and scars. Grapeseed oil is a great moisturizer and can balance both dry and oily skin. For all these great reasons, we have selected grapeseed oil as the carrier oil in our Beat it! Intensive Relief Serum.
Olive Oil (Olea europaea)
Olive oil is pressed from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea). Olive trees are native to the Mediterranean region, and can live for thousands of years. The commercial producers of olive oil today are Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Australia and California. Harvesting usually involves shaking the fruits from the trees using poles, after which the best olives are selected and processed. Extra virgin preserves the most flavor and nutrients and that beautiful, green tint. Other grades include virgin, pure, 100% olive and others.
The oil’s active ingredients are vitamin E (a fat soluble antioxidant), oleic acid (omega 9 monounsaturated fatty acid), hydroxytyrosol (plant polyphenol) and squalene (an organic compound found in human sebum). The oil’s composition makes it ideally suited to shield skin from free radical activity.
We use olive oil as one of the main component of all our soaps. Saponified olive oil is very mild, and produces a fine creamy lather.
Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii)
It is derived from the nut of the Karite tree (Butyrospermum parkii), which is native to Sub-Saharan Africa. The tree is difficult to cultivate, but its fruit kernels are famed for their ability to nourish – inside and out.
Karite oil is used for cooking; the butter is used for cosmetics. It has a high lipid profile, contains beneficial phytochemicals (vitamin A), as well as oleic acid (omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid). Oleic acid is highly compatible with human skin. It absorbs readily into the skin, and aids the absorption of other active ingredients.
Shea butter is moisturizing, emollient and softening on skin and it’s so gentle that it has been traditionally used in Africa for baby massage. It contains a high percentage of compounds that do not saponify during the soap making process.
We use shea butter in all our soaps, because we just cannot get enough of its luxurious skin-pampering properties.
Cinnamon essential oil is derived from the Cinnamomum zeylonicum tree that is native to parts of South Asia. The essential oils extracted from the bark and leaves of the tree have quite different profiles. Bark oil has a strong warm fragrance that we typically associate with cinnamon spice, whereas cinnamon leaf oil has a more clove-like fragrance. Cinnamon was highly valued in ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures, and has been used by Ayurvedic medicine practitioners in Asia for millennia to help heal conditions ranging from depression to weight gain. The essential oils – particularly from cinnamon bark- are still very valuable today. The list of benefits of cinnamon is long. Cinnamon decreases inflammation, reduces blood sugar, fights infection, stimulates the immune system, and… ii increases libido! How about adding a bit of spice to your life?!
Cinnamon bark and leaf essential oils are featured in the essential oil blend we created for our Luna Sea line of soaps and solid lotions. We love its warm, spicy fragrance and mood-enhancing effect!
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
Eucalyptus essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree by steam distillation. The tree is part of the myrtle family and native to Australia. The essential oil has many applications, including as flavoring in foods, as mosquito repellent, and also as decongestant and antiseptic. We use eucalyptus essential oil to boost the invigorating effect of our Peppermint Me! Soap bar.
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
Patchouli is a bushy herb in the “mint” family. It is native to tropical regions of Asia. The essential oil is extracted from the dried leaves, and has been used in perfumes for centuries. We use Patchouli oil as part of our Luna Sea essential oil blend to add warmth and depth to this lovely mood-enhancing scent.
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Sweet orange essential oil is pressed from the peel of orange fruit, and is used in many culinary and cosmetic applications. The vibrant orange oil is invigorating, and possesses anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antispasmodic, antiseptic and other properties. Sweet orange oil is a major component in the uplifting essential oil blend we created for our popular Luna Sea line of soaps and lotion. Emergency mood enhancement!
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint is an herb native to Europe and the Middle East that is widely cultivated around the world. Peppermint has a high menthol content, as well as a range of other volantile compounds. It has many culinary uses, as flavoring of foods, drinks, teas, and in personal care products. The menthol in peppermint activates cold-sensitive receptors (TRPM8) in the skin and mucosal tiissues, which is why it gives us a cooling sensation! We use lots of peppermint essential oil in our Peppermint Me! Soap bar, for a zingy shower experience.
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea tree oil is an essential oil with a strong, fresh camphor-like odor. It is extracted from the leaves of the tea tree, which is native to Australia. Tea tree oil is a multi-tasking powerhouse! It acts against bacteria and fungi, repels insects, and has anti-inflammatory properties. The oil is therefore used topically to treat a variety of conditions, such as acne, dandruff, athlete’s foot, ringworm, or other skin infection, as well as for insect bites, cuts and abrasions.
We use a generous helping of tea tree oil in our Beat it! Relief System for Flares & Blemishes with great success.
Other Natural Additives
Aloe vera juice is pressed from the leaves of the Aloe plant. The juice is used for culinary as well as medicinal and cosmetic purposes. It is moisturizing, helps with skin burns, and generally aids in healing of the skin. We use a generous helping of Aloe vera juice in all our solid soaps to add to the moisturizing characteristic of the soap.
Cannabidiol - CBD
CBD (Cannabidiol) is a compound found in the cannabis plant as well as in hemp. CBD is not psychotropic (i.e. does NOT make you high), and particularly when derived from hemp, is legal in all 50 states. When taken internally, CBD is known for its calming effect, and is used to help with conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety and sleep problems. But CBD has more tricks up its sleeve than helping you calm down and sleep better!
Recent scientific studies show that topical application of CBD to the skin can help heal inflammatory skin conditions, and particularly acne! Researchers showed that CBD attacks acne from different angles: it affects the cells and glands that produce the skin’s oil, reducing the over-active oil production that is part of the problem in acne-afflicted skin, and it also reduces inflammation!
We use pure Hemp CBD in our popular topical Beat it! Intensive Relief Serum for Flares & Blemishes with great success.
Peer-reviewed scientific publications on the CBD and Acne:
Olah et.al. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and anti-inflammatory effects of human sebocytes. J Clin Invest 2014; Olah et al. Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrhoeic skin and acne treatment. Exp Dermatol. 2016
Neem (Azidarachta indica)
Neem is an evergreen tree in the mahogany family that is native to the Indian subcontinent. Neem has many traditional uses. Neem has been used for its diverse medicinal properties for over 2000 years. Ayurvedic practitioners use Neem leaves to treat skin diseases, particularly inflammatory conditions like eczema and psoriasis
Other examples for the diverse uses of Neem are to prevent insect infestation in clothes or food storage, treat mud fever in horses, or help with dental care. The shoots and flowers are also eaten as vegetable!
Neem leaves feature prominently in our Beat it! Relief System for Skin Flares & Blemishes, and boosts anti-inflammatory effect of these great products.
Plantain (Plantago major)
Plantain is one of the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal crops in the world. The flowering plant is native to Europe and Asia, but found widely around the world. You probably have some of it in your own yard. Plantain is a true jack of all trades!
It can be eaten raw or boiled and is high in calcium and vitamins A, C and K. It has been used in traditional medicine around the world for millennia. It’s chemical compounds aucubin, allantoin, flavonoids, and asperulsoide have anti-microbial properties, are anti-inflammatory, stimulate wound healing, and reduce pain. It has astringent properties, and a tea made from the leaves can help treat diarrhea and digestive upset. The roots have traditionally been used to treat fever and respiratory infections. Native Americans cultures even used it to treat snake bites!
We use a generous helping of Plantain leaves in our Beat it! Relief System for Skin Flares & Blemishes, where it boosts anti-inflammatory effect of these great products.
The mineral pigments are mostly iron oxides. Iron oxide color is not just a single oxide, but a mix of oxides or ferric oxides (rust) with manganese or colored clay. Each color tone can be altered by kiln temperatures, concentration of minerals, pH, and the size of each particle. Synthetic iron oxides are man-made, but are actually made from natural ores and minerals, and they are widely used in the cosmetic field. They are considered to be non-toxic, moisture resistant, and colorfast.
Iron oxides graded safe for cosmetic use are produced synthetically in order to avoid the inclusion of ferrous or ferric oxides. The synthetic iron oxides are used because they deliver light fastness and excellent dispersing properties in to the final product and being intense in color give great depth. We us mineral pigments and clays in Peppermint Me!, Luna Sea, and Eva’s Divas Cupcakes.
Lye: Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) and Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)
Sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide - also called lye or potash - are very caustic inorganic, white solid compounds required for saponification. During the saponification reaction, oils react with the highly alkaline hydroxide to produce soap and glycerin. Without lye, there can be no soap. But no worries: The lye is completely used up in the process, so there is no free sodium or potassium hydroxide in the final product! Soap makers take special safety precautions to work with lye during saponification, and wear protective clothing, goggles and gloves to prevent injury from the caustic lye solution. Sodium hydroxide is used to make solid soaps, while potassium hydroxide is used for liquid soaps.