The all natural ingredients in Seattle Sundries products have been known for millennia to promote clean, soft and healthy skin.
|Ale: Popular throughout medieval Europe, ale is a type of beer brewed from malted barley via a warm fermentation process using brewers' yeast. Our ale comes from the Pike Brewery, the craft beer mecca in Seattle’s iconic Pike Place Market, and is entirely sourced from Pacific Northwest ingredients.
|Alkanet Powder: This deep red powder comes from the borage family of plants (Boraginaceae) and is used to add purple and blue tints to products the natural way, without harsh chemical dyes.
|Almond Oil (Sweet): This excellent emollient is rich in proteins, olein, glyceride, linoleic acid and vitamin D. Used regularly, it soothes, softens and nourishes dry or irritated skin.
|Almond Essential Oil: This fragrant essential oil has a distinctive scent familiar from marzipan candy and almond paste-filled baked goods. It is safe for the user and kind to the skin, unlike its relative bitter almond oil, since its prussic acid (better known as the poison hydrogen cyanide) has been entirely removed.
|Amyris Essential Oil: This faintly woody-scented oil is steam-distilled from Haitian Amyris balsamifera, a wild white-flowered plant in the citrus family commonly known as West Indian Candlewood or Torchwood because its resin is so highly flammable. Amyris oil supports healthy skin and is popular in aromatherapy because it benefits the immune system and is conducive to physical and mental relaxation.
|Anise Essential Oil: For at least 4,000 years anise seed extract from the Mediterranean herb Pimpinella anisum has been used to flavor candies, medicines, tobacco and alcoholic drinks such as ouzo and anisette. Its distinctive sweet, clean scent is valued for its ability to mask obnoxious odors, particularly fishy smells. Ironically, old fishermen’s lore says the scent of anise is enticing to fish precisely because it masks the odor of the fisherman!
|Bamboo Charcoal Powder: Our activated charcoal is an ultra-fine bamboo ash, not campfire remnants or barbecue briquettes. Under a microscope, its surface is highly uneven and porous, enabling it to super-absorb pollutants and toxins. Activated charcoal is widely used in water and air filters, as a food ingredient, and as a pharmaceutical to counteract poison and cure digestive ailments, as well as in toiletries. Ours is food-grade and will not stain, though it does give the soapsuds it’s used in a harmless grayish tint as it washes away odors and impurities.
|Bay Rum Essential Oil: Our extract is distilled from the leaves of the Jamaican Pimenta racemosa tree, a member of the myrtle family. It’s commonly called Bay Rum Tree because, combined with the rum the Caribbean is famous for producing, the tree’s bracing, spicy-sweet and slightly balsamic oil is a very traditional scent for men's colognes and aftershave. The combination was reportedly invented in 1838 by a West Indies sailor looking to mask the odor of his weeks at sea without a bath, and his makeshift grooming concoction caught on quickly with the public. Despite its name, bay rum is not intoxicating, as the essential oil makes the liquor undrinkable.
|Beeswax: This sweetly fragrant wax (cera alba) secreted by honeybees to build their hives has been prized throughout human history as a lubricant, cosmetic, and moisture barrier. It has been indispensible in candlemaking, the lost-wax casting of metals and glass, as an artistic medium in painting and sculpture, and as a sacred substance in the rituals of many of the world’s faiths. Importantly for our products, modern studies have found beeswax more effective at protecting the skin than the more common commercial mineral oil- and petroleum jelly (Vaseline)-based creams, lotions and lip balms.
|Bentonite Clay: This highly absorbent substance (chemically, aluminum phyllosilicate consisting mostly of montmorillonite) is, in plain English, aged and compressed volcanic ash. Its name comes from the largest known source, a clay deposit near Fort Benton, Wyoming.
|Black Walnut Hull Powder: The finely ground shell of the nut from the tree Juglans nigra native to eastern North America is valued for its astringent and insecticidal properties. The Comanche made a paste of the leaves and husk of the nut to treat ringworm. Black walnut was also used by the Appalachian, Cherokee, Iroquois, and Rappahannock peoples as a treatment for fungal infections of the feet and hands.
|Borax: Familiar to older Americans from the “20 Mule Team Borax” ads on TV’s Death Valley Days, this white, mildly alkaline powder (Pentahydrate sodium borate) was originally exported from Tibet along the ancient Silk Road. Today ours comes from dry lakebeds in the California and Nevada deserts. It is used to adjust the pH balance in many personal care products including cosmetic creams, lotions, shampoos, dyes and gels, bath salts and denture cleaners, as well as as a water softener and laundry soap booster.
|Buckwheat: Fagopyrum esculentum is not actually related to wheat, but rather to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb, though it is used like a cereal crop. It has been providing essential nutrients and fiber to humans for at least 6,000 years. It was first cultivated in Europe’s Balkan region, then throughout the Middle East, across Asia and the rest of Europe. Though it may be most familiar to Americans as chuckwagon pancakes along the pioneer trail or Eddie Murphy’s famous SNL character, we use it in some of our Seattle Sundries products because its ground triangular seeds make a great natural exfoliant.
|Calendula Flower Petals: This common flower (Calendula officinalis), also called pot marigold, has a long history of use as a wound-healing and skin-soothing botanical due to its anti-inflammatory and mild antimicrobial properties.
|Carrot Juice: The bright yellow-orange juice and pulp of this familiar root vegetable are high in beta-carotene, a natural antioxidant and sun-damage fighter. Today science increasingly recognizes antioxidants as Mother Nature’s fountains of youth. Mother was right: “Eat your carrots.” And while you’re at it, bathe in them!
|Castor Oil: The vegetable oil obtained by pressing the seeds of the Castor plant (Ricinus communis), used as an emulsifying agent to bind the various ingredients in our products together smoothly. It also acts as a protective barrier shielding your skin against harsh environmental conditions.
|Cedarwood Essential Oil: This extract with the woodsy scent comes from the bark, needles and berries of several varieties of evergreen conifers found around the world, all commonly called cedars though a few are actually their close relatives the junipers. Cedarwood was used ceremonially at least as early as the Egyptians and is mentioned in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. It has long been used to heal skin conditions including fungal infections and is reputed to prevent dandruff and hair loss.
|Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil: This aromatic extract comes from the leaves of a plant native to Southeast Asia. Experts disagree about its accurate botanical name, but it is commonly referred to as “true cinnamon” since its curled, dried bark is the familiar cooking ingredient in everything from American apple pie to Greek moussaka. Cinnamon is one of the world’s oldest and most valuable spices, long imported across great distances by sea at great expense. Its leaf oil has a piquant, woody scent with fruity notes. In addition to its culinary and ceremonial uses, it is valued for its anti-infectious properties and its ability to soothe pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. It is traditionally used to moisturize dry skin, treat rashes, and nourish and revive aging complexion.
|Clary Sage Essential Oil: This extract comes from a tall herb with large, fuzzy green leaves, Salvia sclarea, native to the Mediterranean. Its medicinal and cosmetic uses date to antiquity. Its pleasant woody, vaguely coniferous scent is calming and even slightly intoxicating, long said to bring on a sense of mild euphoria. It is traditionally used to rejuvenate the skin, and is even considered an aphrodisiac by enthusiasts.
|Clementine Essential Oil: The clementine fruit is a natural hybrid of the mandarin orange and the familiar sweet orange. Our essential oil comes from Italy, where the climate is ideal for growing clementines with deep color and a fresh sweet aroma. The scent is much like the fresh fruit itself and is superior to most other citrus oils.
|Clove Essential Oil: This highly aromatic extract comes from the dried flower buds of the evergreen tree Eugenia caryophyllata native to Indonesia’s famed Spice Islands. Cloves’ use in cooking is well known, its aroma perfumes many fall and winter holiday gatherings, and in medicine it has long been used for everything from toothache and headache relief (its main chemical component, eugenol, is a natural anesthetic) to promoting blood circulation. The oil is a powerful antioxidant which helps deter the sags, fine lines and wrinkles of aging skin and a balm that soothes sore muscles and joints.
|Cocoa Powder: This ingredient probably needs no explanation. Also called Dutch Process Cocoa, it is a fine powder made by grinding the seed pods of the cacao tree native to Mexico, Central and South America. It has been cultivated in the hemisphere for at least 5,300 years. The Mexica (Aztecs) considered cacao pods the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, and the Maya believed the gods shed their blood to create the tree. Cacao was used in sacred rituals and medicine by many of the Americas’ first peoples. Its pods were so valuable they were used as currency. Columbus “discovered” cacao for Europeans in 1502 and when sweetened the novelty caught on. Powdered cacao is treated with an alkalizing agent to darken it and turn it into cocoa. In various combinations and concentrations, cocoa is the key ingredient in chocolate. We use only organic, food-grade cocoa in our products.
|Coconut Oil: This exceptionally versatile 100% fat oil is pressed from the meat of the coconut, the fruit of the cocos nucifera tree native to tropical Southeast Asia. It has been used there in food, medicines and for personal grooming for millennia. Its natural cleansing, moisturizing and protein-protecting properties make it indispensible in high-quality artisanal soapmaking, and its benefits are increasingly recognized in a variety of other bath and beauty products including skin moisturizing lotions and creams, lip balms, and suntan/sunscreen products.
|Coffee Beans: This is another of our most familiar ingredients, one for which Seattle is famous. Our extremely dark roasted beans are ground to a fine texture. The beans’ caffeine reduces inflammation, and the texture of the ground coffee acts as an excellent Pacific Northwest-style exfoliant.
|Coffee Essential Oil: This liquid essence is produced by cold-press distilling coffee beans. No wonder it smells like a fresh-brewed cup of coffee. It is chock-full of antioxidants which retard aging and is credited by enthusiasts with boosting the immune system. Some find it an invigorating stimulant, others a calming relaxant. Either way, it is the taste and aroma of Seattle.
|Coriander Essential Oil: Coriandrum sativum is the familiar coriander (a.k.a. cilantro) herb whose finely lobed leaves and/or seeds are so widely used in South and Southeast Asian and Latin American cuisine. Its extracted oil has a sweet, woody-spicy aroma which many love and some cannot stand. Science now tells us this attraction or aversion is part of our individual genetic makeup. Which group do you fall into?
|Dill: This familiar tall herb, the sole species of the genus Anethum, is native from southern Russia to the Mediterranean to Africa. Its use is indispensable in the cuisines of Scandinavia, Germany and Greece, and it is familiar to many Americans via the humble, piquant dill pickle. The herb’s wispy, fernlike green leaves add color and a slight exfoliant property to our soap.
|Eucalyptus Essential Oil: The oil we use is steam-extracted from the Eucalyptus globulus tree native to China, now naturalized from California to Australia (where it is better known as “the old gum tree” kookaburra sits in). It has an unusually high Citronellal content and produces large amounts of Citronellol, the same natural chemical compounds that make citronella candles traditional insect repellents. Its sweet menthol aroma with a subtle note of pine is distinctive, and its analgesic, calming and anti-hypertensive properties are widely valued.td>
|Frankincense Oil: One of the ancient world’s rarest and most treasured substances, frankincense (“choicest incense”) is the highly aromatic resin of several trees of the genus Boswellia native to Arabia, North Africa and India. In many cultures throughout the ages, frankincense and its frequent companion myrrh were a precious trade commodity and a holy offering. It is mentioned numerous times in Jewish, Christian and Muslim scriptures, most famously as the gift of the wise men who traveled from afar (likely from Persia) at Jesus’ birth. Beyond its numerous medicinal and ritual uses, frankincense oil is antimicrobial and its fragrance is still prized in fine perfumes.
|French Green, Red & Yellow Clays: In the modern era, these clays are mined from age-old bedrock deposits in France, but the same substances were used in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to treat a variety of skin problems and digestive disorders. A popular spa treatment, they stimulate the flow of blood to the epidermis (our outermost layer of skin cells) and remove its impurities.
|Geranium Essential Oil: This botanical extract comes from the familiar geranium plant, a staple of many gardens. In addition to its pleasant herbaceous scent, it is commonly used as a mild antibacterial, antifungal and astringent for the skin.
|Glycerin: This simple polyol (sugar alcohol) compound is a colorless, odorless, viscous liquid that is a byproduct of saponification, the chemical reaction that produces soap from combining fats or oils with an alkaline base. Glycerin is widely used in skincare products because of its excellent humectant (moisture-attracting) properties which make good soaps gentle to the skin. Ironically, it is also used widely in explosives and antifreeze.
|Grapefruit Essential Oil: The botanical extract from the peel of the grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi) has a fresh scent and is an astringent that cleanses and stimulates skin, removes excess oil and tightens pores.
|Honey: Who doesn’t love it? Bears and humans do. Cleopatra took regular honey and milk baths to maintain her youthful beauty, Queen Anne of England employed a honey and oil concoction to keep her long tresses thick and lustrous, and Chinese women have long used a facial mask of honey and ground orange seeds to keep their porcelain skin blemish-free. Primarily prized in cosmetics for its humectant (moisturizing) and antimicrobial qualities, honey is a wonderful additive to soaps. It imparts a familiar warm, sweet scent and helps make for a good rich lather.
|Jojoba Oil: Pronounced hohoba, this versatile ingredient is not actually oil but a clear liquid wax extracted from the nut of the Simmondsia chinensis shrub native to the deserts of the American southwest and northwest Mexico. It closely resembles the sebum (natural oil secretion) of the skin and is rich in vitamin E. It has numerous pharmaceutical uses and is highly valued in all-natural soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and moisturizing creams and lotions both as a carrier for other essential oils and for its own impressive list of properties. It is antibacterial, antioxidant, anticomedogenic (keeps pores clog-free and thus fights acne), hypoallergenic, soothes and speeds the healing of skin sores and rashes, lessens scarring, and promotes a glowing complexion. It is even thought to boost the body’s production of collagen to keep aging skin from sagging.
|Lavender Essential Oil: Who doesn’t recognize this flower familiar from landscaping to cookery (herbes de Provence) to Grandma’s sachets and colognes? Named from the Latin lavare, “to wash,” lavender is native to the Mediterranean (most famously southern France) and has been used around the world for centuries in fragrances and skin care. Its essential oil is steam-extracted from the tiny green pods on either side of its purple flowers. Lavender has age-old medicinal uses as an antiseptic, anti-viral and anti-spasmodic agent that promotes healing. It soothes inflammation and sunburns, insect bites and rashes, headaches and nausea. It even repels pesky mosquitos. In toiletries, it balances and tones the skin while imparting a nostalgic scent that evokes memories for millions.
|Lemon Essential Oil: This extract from the peel of the yellow fruit Citrus limon native to South Asia is so popular worldwide that it needs no explanation. It has a clean, sweet citrus scent and has long been used as an anti-inflammatory. Its mild sedative effect is perfect for a relaxing soak in the tub.
|Lemon Verbena Essential Oil: Native to South America, the herb lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) was introduced to Europe by Spanish and Portuguese colonists. It is a tall (7−10 ft) flowering perennial shrub whose fresh, uplifting, citrus-herbal aroma makes it a popular addition to fragrances and home cleaning products in addition to its culinary uses. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory valuable in skin care for reducing puffiness.
|Lemongrass Essential Oil: The extract of a tall, woody wild grass (Cymbopogon citratus) native to tropical South and Southeast Asia, where it is one of the most universal ingredients in those region’s cuisines, lemongrass has long been used in herbal medicine for its anti-inflammatory and tonic properties, to treat high blood pressure and aid digestion. It is popular in aromatherapy to relieve stress and is one of the best antioxidants for the skin.
|Licorice Root Sweetener: (Ammonium Glycyrrhizate) The compound Glycyrrhizin comes from the root of the licorice plant (Glycyhrrhiza glabra) native to Mediterranean Spain, Greece and Turkey, the Middle East and northern China. It has a long history of use as both a sweetener (in the familiar old-fashioned candy) and an herbal remedy in Eastern and Western medicine, where traditional practitioners use it in carefully limited doses (too much can be toxic) to treat numerous conditions including ulcers and other digestive problems. In skin care it is a potent antioxidant which is also reported to prevent excess melanin buildup (dark spots).
|Lime Essential Oil: Cold-pressed from the peel of the bright green fruit (Citrus aurantifolia) that is a close cousin to the lemon, like its relative it has a pleasantly perky citrus scent and is valued for its antiseptic (antiviral, antibacterial) and astringent (skin-toning) properties.
|Mandarin Essential Oil: The fragrance of the small mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) native to China and Japan is headily floral, like that of its relative the sweet orange blossom. Many consider the fruit’s oil the mildest and most sweetly scented of all the citrus essences. Our mandarin oil is cold pressed from the peels of mandarin fruits grown in Italy – a prime quality source.
|Myrrh Oil: Myrrh is a gum resin tapped from the small, thorny Myrrh tree (Commiphora myrrha) native to Arabia and North Africa. Since antiquity it, like its frequent adjunct frankincense [see above], has been a rare, cherished substance with sacred ceremonial and medicinal uses in many cultures. Among its other health benefits, it is anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. Its smoky, woody scent has lent a distinctive character to incense, perfumes and cosmetics for thousands of years and long made it one of the world’s most prestigious gifts.
|Nutmeg Essential Oil: Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is an evergreen tree native to Indonesia’s Malukus (a.k.a. Spice Islands). For centuries it has also been cultivated in the great spice plantations of southern India’s Kerala state (the fabled Malabar Coast), then more recently on the Caribbean island of Grenada. Nutmeg and other highly aromatic spices we use in Seattle Sundries products were so rare, coveted, and extravagantly expensive in 16th-18th C. Europe that the demand for them sparked the great age of exploration by sea and rewrote history. The nutmeg tree’s seed, finely ground, is the fragrant spice familiar in baked goodies and sprinkled on eggnog, while its crimson outer covering (aril) is dried and ground to produce the slightly subtler spice mace. Both spices flavor meats and stews in Southeast Asian and Indian cuisine. Nutmeg oil is steam-distilled from the ground spice and used widely in pharmaceuticals, perfumes and personal care products as well as food.
|Oatmeal: Familiar from the cereal bowl and an irreplaceable staple of the Scots, Irish and English diet, oatmeal has also been used for centuries as a soothing agent to relieve the itch and irritation of various skin conditions. Generations of kids down with chicken pox or measles have been prescribed a long soak in an oatmeal bath. The folk remedy isn’t just a fanciful old wives’ tale. Oatmeal is an effective cleanser, moisturizer, acid buffer, and poultice as well as a gentle and protective anti-inflammatory.
|Olive Oil: The olive (Olea europaea) is one of nature’s most invaluable gifts to the human race. A wild tree first domesticated somewhere in the Eastern Mediterranean, archaeologists have found olives in dig sites 8,000 years old. The tree has a place of honor in the Bible, other ancient Mideastern scriptures and legends, and the oldest Greek myths. Its later cultivars (139 varieties and counting) spread with the rise of civilization and now flourish in hot, dry climates. Through the ages the olive has provided food, medicine, and hygiene for many cultures and played a key role in sacred and secular rituals, manufacturing, and the eternal quest for beauty. Today the health benefits of the olive-based Mediterranean diet, and the savor of extra virgin olive oil from the fruit’s first pressing, have drawn the praise of medicine and the culinary world. Our olive oil is extracted from the olive pulp left after pressing. It is a dark greenish-gold, the rich basis of many of our Seattle Sundries products.
|Orange Essential Oil: Not long ago the oranges abundant in today’s American supermarkets were so rare that a single one in a Christmas stocking was something to look forward to for months. The sweet delights of the fruit (Citrus X sinensis) first cultivated in China need no description. Orange essential oil is pale yellow-orange to dark orange and has a fresh, sweet, fruity aroma. Like all citrus oils, it has numerous health and cosmetic benefits. Its bright, lively scent and flavor lift the spirits and earn it the nickname “liquid sunshine.”
|Orange Peel: One of the world’s greatest sources of vitamin C, orange peel is perhaps the most familiar of the antioxidants that protect the body's cells from damage and aging. It also lends a bit of color and texture to the products we use it in.
|Palm Oil: Palm oil is a high fat (49%) liquid derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree, Elaeis guineensis, an African native imported to 19th C. Southeast Asia as an ornamental. As its many uses in food and industry (including soap and cosmetic manufacturing) became evident, it was planted ever more extensively by clearcutting great swaths of native tropical rainforest, our planet’s single greatest cradle of biodiversity. Today Indonesia and Malaysia grow over 85% of the global supply of this high yield oil while 42 other countries produce the rest. Balancing the environmental toll with the direct impact on more than 3 million small-scale farmers who make their living from global palm oil production is a challenging task. Nevertheless, it is a remarkably versatile ingredient in high demand for nearly half the packaged products in today’s supermarkets, from doughnuts to deodorant. It is semi-solid at room temperature and gives every product it’s in a longer shelf-life. Moreover, it is rich in vitamins E and K and magnesium. It is filled with natural antioxidants and is indispensable to the artisanal cold-process soapmaking we do at Seattle Sundries. We are careful to only use RSPO*-certified sustainable palm oil produced under strict criteria that safeguards the environment and supports small farmers. *RSPO = Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a global standard.
|Palmarosa Essential Oil: The tall, somewhat grasslike herb Cymbopogon martinii (a.k.a. Indian geranium) is native to the Himalayas, where the unique soil and climate impart its sweet rose-like aroma . It is traditionally farmed by Nepalese women, then steam-distilled to produce the fragrant essential oil. It is a valued ingredient in skin care because it is anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal and helps keep moisture levels in balance.
|Patchouli Essential Oil: Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is a small herb in the mint family native to India, where its name comes from the subcontinent’s Tamil language. Patchouli’s large, fuzzy leaves and white to mauve flowers give off an earthy scent with a subtle fruity undernote. Its oil has long been used in traditional Hindu Ayurvedic medicine to remedy skin problems such as acne, eczema, athlete's foot and dandruff and to calm the mind and aid meditation. For this latter reason it is a popular incense whose distinctive scent permeates Hindu temples. Popularized in the West by the 60’s counterculture, in trippy hippie lore patchouli had a reputation as an aphrodisiac. Today the mere scent of it evokes that era for many.
|Petitgrain Essential Oil: This amber liquid is one of several essential oils steam-distilled from the bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium – in this case its leaves and twigs. Like its citrus relatives, petitgrain has a bright, refreshing scent with woody to floral notes. A powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and deodorant, it has many traditional naturopathic uses including as an antiseptic, a remedy for acne and other skin problems, and even as an antidepressant and a treatment for baldness.
|Peppermint Essential Oil: Peppermint (Mentha × piperita) is a hybrid, a naturally occurring cross between spearmint and watermint. A native of Europe and the Middle East, the low green herb with square stems is the most widely used of the mint family’s 25 species. Its usefulness in both cooking and medicine is long established. Of all the mints, peppermint is the best source of the compound menthol, used in everything from salves for aches, pains and coughs (remember being rubbed down with good old-fashioned Mentholatum?) to mentholated cigarettes. Everyone knows sweet peppermint, from Christmas candy canes to breath mints to Seattle’s holiday favorite, Starbucks peppermint mocha. In recent years, peppermint oil has proved effective at reducing nausea in chemotherapy. We use premium American-grown Mentha piperita essence that is the sweetest and most candy-like oil to be found.
|Poppyseeds: The tiny black kidney-shaped seeds of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) native to Greece and Turkey have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years. Their primary use has been as a natural narcotic for insomnia, pain relief and a euphoric state of mind, but they are also a flavorful non-narcotic ingredient in breads and pastries. Beautiful opium poppy blossoms grace many of the world’s gardens. We grind our poppyseeds to add color and texture to our soap.
|Rattanjot Powder: Also known as alkanet, this dried root of the Alkanna tinctoria, a flowering perennial native to Kashmir, is ground into a dark purple/red powder used as a natural food coloring in classic Indian cuisine. It gives Rogan Josh and Tandoori Chicken their characteristic rosy color. It is traditionally credited with significant health and cosmetic benefits as an antioxidant, a treatment for wounds, burns and skin conditions like eczema and ringworm, and as a hair conditioner said to slow graying and baldness.
|Red Clay: This fine clay from Australia is high in iron oxide and other essential minerals which help to replenish the sloughed-off epidermis of the skin. Like the other clays we use, it is a popular spa ingredient in rejuvenating facial masks.
|Rhassoul Clay: Sometimes transcribed as Ghassoul, this is another highly absorbent volcanic clay, in this case mined since the 8th C. in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Its name comes from the Arabic verb "to wash" or "to purify." It has been used for centuries throughout the Islamic world in hammams (“Turkish baths”) as a conditioner that cleanses and tightens the pores, softens the skin, preserves its elasticity, and restores its radiance. Like other clays, it also improves razor glide in shaving products.
|Rosemary Oleoresin: Also called Rosemary Oil Extract or ROE, this is an oil soluble, natural product of the rosemary shrub native to the Mediterranean. The plant’s Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means "dew of the sea," and as a highly aromatic herb it is most closely associated with Mediterranean cuisine. In soap and cosmetics it slows natural oils from turning rancid. Its potent antioxidant properties make it an excellent addition to natural products that do not contain preservatives.
|Shea Butter: An ivory-colored extract of the nut of the African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), shea butter is a triglyceride (fat) composed mainly of stearic and oleic acids. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer, salve or lotion.
|Soybean Oil: An extract from the seeds of the soybean plant (Glycine max) native to China, this product in use as early as 2000 BCE is now one of the two commonest vegetable oils in American cooking. It is also widely used in medicine, in industrial products like lubricants, ink and oil paint, and in cosmetics. Unlike other soy-based foods which some studies suggest may be linked to genetic changes, obesity and diabetes, soybean oil’s health benefits include lowering cholesterol, providing heart-healthy Omega-3 acids, and preventing bone loss. It is widely regarded as beneficial to overall skin health.
|Spearmint Essential Oil: This familiar sweet, perky extract comes from another herb, Mentha spicata, native to the Mediterranean. Its deeply veined, serrated dark green leaves spread profusely in kitchen gardens and have long been used in folk medicine as an anti-inflammatory and for stress relief. Spearmint oil is considered warming, while its cousin peppermint oil is cooling. Thus spearmint is a popular, soothing massage oil for muscle and joint aches. In edibles it flavors mint candies, gums and liqueurs and is the traditional garnish for iced tea. Our spearmint oil is grown in the USA and has the intense warm, herbaceous scent so characteristic of the crushed herb.
|Tallow: This white substance is rendered beef suet, the organ fat that surrounds the kidneys and loins of cattle. It is solid at room temperature but melts readily when heated. For centuries tallow was widely used to make candles, and it has long been one of the key ingredients in soap. Its pure fat produces a fine, rich bar with excellent lather.
|Tangerine Essential Oil: This is yet another light citrus oil, extracted from the small, loosely thin-skinned fruit of the Citrus x tangerine, a close relative of the mandarin orange. Probably a native of Southeast Asia, the small tree is now grown widely in the world’s subtropical regions, especially Mediterranean Europe and the southern USA. Like other citrus fruits, it is high in antioxidants and Vitamin C. Its aroma is delightful its flavor sweet, making it a popular ingredient in juices and liqueurs as well as balms and other cosmetics.
|Tea Tree Oil: This is an extract of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to the Australian bush. Its common name is a bit confusing. Tea tree is unrelated to the Asian plant that produces familiar black, green and oolong tea when its leaves are steeped. For centuries tea tree has been used as a folk medicine by Australia’s Aborigines, who apply its crushed leaves to the skin as healing poultices or inhale its vapors to treat coughs and colds. It is a highly effective germicide used against E. coli and other pathogens in hand sanitizer and has many other uses in modern medicine. It is a more effective insect repellant than DEET and its herbaceous, leathery smell makes it a pleasing natural deodorant.
|Vanilla Essential Oil: More technically called vanilla oleoresin, this is one scent and flavor we all know from baked goods and ice cream to air fresheners and scented candles. The thick brown liquid we use in our Seattle Sundries products is a natural derivative of the vanilla bean, a highly aromatic and flavorful pod produced by Mexican orchids of the genus Vanilla. (The name vanilla simply means "little pod" in Spanish.) It is a blend of pure vanilla absolutes, natural resins and other plant extracts.
|Vetiver Essential Oil: This aromatic liquid comes from a fragrant grass (Vetiveria zizanioides) native to India. It has a woody caramel and smoke scent. It is valued for its relaxing effect as a mood lifter and its ability to counteract oily skin and acne.
|Vitamin E Oil: This vitamin that dissolves in fat is found in many natural foods including fruits, vegetables and vegetable oils, cereals and wheat germ, meat, poultry and eggs. It has been called nature's perfect antioxidant. It is used by the body to slow cells’ aging process, thereby promoting health and longevity. Vitamin E has at least 8 chemical forms. We use Vitamin E T-50, a natural plant-derived viscous liquid made of mixed Tocopherols (organic alcohols).
|Wheat Germ Oil: This oil derived from a tiny portion (2.5%) the familiar cereal grain is rich in natural vitamins A, B, D, and E, proteins and lecithin. It is yet another natural antioxidant, and when applied to the skin, helps to promote the formation of new cells and maintains skin tone.
|Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: This highly fragrant liquid is steam distilled from the yellow, star-shaped flower of the Cananga odorata plant native to countries surrounding the Indian Ocean: India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and parts of Australia. Its heady scent is powerfully floral and extremely sweet with subtle woody undertones. In its purest form it is one of the most prized ingredients in fine perfumes, most famously the perennial classic Chanel No. 5. Less concentrated essences lend a distinctive character to colognes, lotions, and soaps such as ours.