Hi! My name is Michelle Smith and I am guest hosting from Goodrich, Michigan. I am the founder and owner of MamaSuds. We handcraft truly safe soaps and non-toxic household cleaners for the ingredient-savvy, label-reading mom. I met Elaine when she became a customer of MamaSuds and contacted me with a few questions. Yes, I personally answer all of my customer service messages whether it is through email, phone calls, text messages or on the website chat box! I really love interacting with my customers!
I am a wife, mom of three girls (help me!) and a recovering former middle school teacher. Our family has a dog named Stella and four chickens. We love to hike in Northern Michigan and go to the beach on Lake Michigan. We spend three quarters of the seasons doing those two things as a family. We love being outdoors!
I started MamaSuds because I wanted to wash my family and clean my home with real soap. I wanted to use products on my family that weren’t going to harm their health today or in the future. And as I researched, I thought (as I am sure you have too) not all synthetic ingredients can be harmful.... right? What I found was that no, all ingredients are not harmful to ME but what about the process to make them? That's an even deeper rabbit hole (in case you've never gone down that one!) that led me to into many late nights and many more questions. How can all of these synthetic ingredients be good for the environment?
So I set out to create products that were safe, non-toxic, and that worked. Because, let’s be honest- there are a ton of products out there that claim to do all three things but fall short in one category… or all three!
The main MamaSuds product is castile soap. Many companies claim to make castile soap, but almost all of them make a bastille soap. What’s the difference? Bastille soap is a soap made with lye and some kind of plant or animal fat, more often a combination of many different fats. A real castile soap is just lye and olive oil. Castile soap is the base for a majority of our products.
MamaSuds Castile Soap is just olive oil, lye and water because I wanted my recipe to be as simple as possible. Olive oil is not difficult to get, it isn’t drying to the skin, and I have yet to meet anyone that has an olive allergy (that’s not to say they don’t exist!). Skin allergies are no joke: according to the CDC, 8.8 million children were reported as having a skin allergy in the last 12 months. That’s an incredible statistic. Most soaps are made with coconut, shea butter or jojoba in them. All three are excellent ingredients to make soap with, however, they create skin sensitivities or reactions for millions of people. I like to keep my product ingredients lists small and I practice this in my everyday life as well.
If you are just starting out on your label reading journey, start small. If you try to change all the products in your life right away you are very likely to overwhelm yourself or your spouse and give up. Give yourself time, grace, and patience. I like to tell people to pick one product at a time. Cleaning products are a great first step. If you are the DIY type, buy a bottle of castile soap and make your own cleaning products. If you are not- I suggest MamaSuds All-Purpose Cleaner spray. You can clean virtually everything with it and it cleans so well (just check out our reviews!). Once you’ve switched one product, move onto something else (laundry, body wash, toilet cleaners).
How do you become a savvy label reader? Don’t rely on a website to tell you a product is safe or not. All of those types of websites are fantastic resources, but they aren’t perfect. I like to look up specific ingredients, rather than the products themselves. When I read a label, I immediately set a product down if it has the word “fragrance” or any ingredient with a number (i.e. Laureth-7, PEG-80, Cetereath-20). Fragrances are almost always synthetic and can contain phthalates and ingredients with numbers are also synthetic and can contain 1,4 dioxin (a possible human carcinogen and is harmful to our environment).
Once you are accustomed to recognizing and eliminating products with these ingredients, you will become more accustom to other ingredients to be on the look-out for. But again, remember it’s a process. Take small steps and don’t overwhelm yourself. I think you’ll realize how many products in your home contain the two red-flags I described!
You can reach me anytime at:
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