FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What makes your soaps different than soap I can buy at the store? Why should I buy natural, handmade soap?
Handmade soap is gentle on your skin, and Catarina Concepts uses as many natural ingredients as possible, to provide a product that is nourishing to your skin. All our products are made in small quantities to guarantee their quality & freshness. Glycerin is a natural byproduct of the soap making process. Glycerin helps the skin attract and retain moisture; versus harsh detergents you usually find in mass produced soaps. In fact, many commercial “soap” brands on the market, are not soap at all – they are “beauty bars,” “bath bars,” or “body wash” because they don’t go through the saponification process of true soap.
From the first time you use our handmade soap, you will immediately feel the difference. Mass-produced soap has all of the glycerin removed and leaves your skin dry, causing you to probably need moisturizer. Moisturizing qualities of handmade soap from Catarina Concepts, combined with the benefits of essential oils make the perfect solution for everyday skin care.
Q. Are your products 100% natural or 100% organic?
All of our leave-on products (ex: butter, lotions, creams, serums, etc.) are formulated with ONLY natural ingredients. These are either purely natural, naturally derived or nature identical. This includes oils, butter, waxes fatty acids, essential oils, etc.
Products with water (except for soaps) require a broad spectrum preservative, and we have chosen an option that is naturally derived ingredients.
As our handmade soaps rinse off, and some of our customers (and us) love some delicious smells that are not naturally occurring, we do offer both soaps scented with essential oils and synthetic fragrance oils.
Currently, we do not offer any products that are 100% organic. As a new business, we are exploring new botanicals, butters and oils every day. This is a costly endeavor that we do not want to pass on to our consumers, but we aspire to be there one day.
Q. Are all your products vegan and palm-oil free?
All of our products are VEGAN. We use vegetable-based oils, glycerin, emulsifiers, butters, waxes, etc. There are no animal products, no animal testing with our products. We do not have the Leaping Bunny or other designations because we are a new, small business and do not have the resources to file for these certifications and designations.
Our handmade soaps and products are indeed PALM-OIL FREE (that is no palm oil or palm kernel oil used ever). Sustainably harvested options do exist, but due to the small scale of our business today, it is not economically feasible for us to purchase and we do not want to pass on the price to our customers.
Some of the naturally derived ingredients we use in our leave-on products may have palm sources, but we try to use alternatives sourced from coconuts, avocado, or other vegetable sources.
Q. I have sensitive skin, can I use your handmade soap?
We highly recommend you try handmade soap. All our soaps have natural beneficial oils as well as glycerin to help moisturize your skin. We do not use any preservatives or petroleum products in our soaps. Our process produces a very mild soap. We also stock a few unscented soaps for those sensitive to scents.
As with any product that touches our skin, please discontinue use if irritation develops. Any product, even when made with the most natural, gentle ingredients can be irritating to certain sensitive individuals. Try testing on a small area of your skin first before scrubbing down.
Q. Is your soap "Tearless" or good for kids?
As in the case with all real soap, our soap is not “Tearless.” Be careful not to get into your eyes. If you do, simply and quickly flush with water.
Q. What is cold-process soap? What is saponification?
At Catarina Concepts, we use cold-process soap making. This method is the act of mixing oils with lye water. The result is a process called saponification, where the composition of the oils changes with the help of the lye to create a bar of soap. The whole process occurs at room temperature. Cold process soap requires 4-6 weeks to cure on racks. The main benefit of this process is having complete control over the ingredients and preserving the naturally nutritious and moisturizing properties of the oils.
Q. What ingredients are in your handmade soap?
You will find the ingredients for each item listed with the description of the item. ALL of soaps and lotions are made with vegetable-based oils (Olive, Coconut, Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil or Palm Kernel Oil, Shea Butter, Rice Bran, Avocado Oil, and Sunflower Oil, etc.). We use both essential oils and fragrance oils that are paraben and phthalate free. They are high quality, skin-safe fragrances.
Q. Why is lye used in handmade soap?
Lye is sodium hydroxide combined with water. It isn't nearly as scary as it sounds. It is used as a binding agent in skincare products and food. The good news … It has completely evaporated well before it reaches your hands. It is used in the cold process, but by the time soap has cured and is ready to be sold, it’s gone! While caustic in its active state, it is necessary to produce the chemical reaction that turns oils into soap.
Q. How long does your bar of soap last?
If stored properly, soaps can last up to a year, but we recommend using them within 6 months. When in use (showers, baths, hand washing) on average, our 3.5 oz. soaps last 2-4 weeks, but it depends on how often the bar is used. Store unused soap in a covered container that is not airtight (I like to use brown paper lunch bags). Keep in a cool and dry location, such as linen closets. Keep stored soap out of direct sunlight, as natural ingredient colors may fade and result in rancid soap bars (look for burnt orange or brown spotting). For soap that is in use, use a soap dish that provides drainage to enable it to dry before the next use.
Q. Why does your soap looks a little different than the picture online? What if my soap has imperfections?
We try to keep our recipes as close to the last made batch, but these are handmade small batches, so colors, textures and scents may slightly vary from one batch to another. Temperature can make color appear slightly different from batch to batch, while design may also vary. Small pockets of air may form from a thick batter being poured. It does not affect the quality of the soap. You may also see “soda ash” which is a harmless powder-like substance that forms when new soap meets air or has a rapid drop in temperature.
Q. Some bars have a layer of white powder? What is that? Is it harmful?
Occasionally, you may see some white powder on top of our soap. This is called “soda ash” and is a harmless substance. It is most common on the surface of cold process soap. Soda ash forms when new soap meets air or has a rapid drop in temperature. It will rinse off the first time you use the soap.
Q. I see a small orangey-brown spot on my soap? What is that? Is it harmful?
Ugh! Us soapers call this DOS, the "Dreaded Orange Spots." To make the soaps conditioning and moisturizing to the skin, we leave a little extra fatty oils saponified in our formulations. If we didn't the bars would be very drying to your skin. DOS happens when oils start to go rancid. My soaps should keep for 6-12 month, maybe longer. DOS are not harmful, but if left, they are unsightly and can impact the fragrance. If it's just a small spot, scoop or scrape it out. If you notice this within 3 months of buying our soaps, please contact us.
Q. Do you always have the same soap scents and designs, or do you change it up?
There are a few staples to the lineup, but trying new scents is always fun, so you will see some limited editions. Catarina Concepts is still in its infancy, so we’re trying to learn what our customers love and want more of. We will also make some custom soap designs for special occasions, but please allow for an 8 week lead time.
Q. Why is my soap wet in the packaging / why does soap sweat?
A quality bar of handmade soap will often “sweat” in humid weather due to the high content of natural humectants. A humectant is a substance that readily absorbs moisture from its surroundings.
When natural soap sits out in humid conditions, the glycerin in the soap will draw the moisture out of the air and onto the soap. So, the sweating is moisture from the air that the glycerin attracts, not moisture coming from inside the soap. The more humid the environment and the more humectants in the soap, the more likely you’ll experience this phenomenon; There is nothing wrong with your soap, it’s just the glycerin and other natural humectants doing their job.
Q. What is the difference between essential oil and fragrance oil?
Essential oils are purely extracted from their source and have therapeutic effects. Fragrance oils are synthetically created for the purpose of scent but are safe for use on skin. If you find your skin easily irritated by fragrance; essential oil might be a great alternative for you! You should always consult with your doctor if you’re unsure.
Q. Do you have a physical store location?
No, Catarina Concepts is currently and online store only. Please check out Events page for when we’ll be at a local festival in your area.
Q. What are your shipping options?
Catarina Concepts currently ONLY offers USPS Priority Mail shipping at this time.
As of 12/1/20, due to a surge in online shopping and the holidays, USPS is experiencing extreme delays in shipping. Normally is arrived within 2-3 business days after pickup, but right now it’s more like 6-10 business days.
Q. Do you accept returns?
Due to the delicate nature of handcrafted products, unfortunately we are unable to return products. We put detailed descriptions on each item, so you know what you are buying and using, please read each product fully before buying.
There will be NO RETURNS on any items except for items found to be damaged or defective, and to be determined on a “case-by-case” basis only. If the product you received is in fact damaged or was sent by mistake, we will gladly do our best to fix the problem. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. I have a coupon, but I'm not sure where or how to use it.
Coupons can be applied in your SHOPPING CART. Scroll past the items in your cart and below that you'll see a place to select: coupon code. Select "coupon code" and then enter your code. Proceed through checkout and the discount will apply.
Q. Can I use multiple coupons per order?
Unfortunately, you may only use one coupon code per order.
Q. Can I order outside of the Continental USA?
Unfortunately, Catarina Concepts does not ship outside of the USA.
Q. How do I order a custom batch of soap?
Catarina Concepts will use our standard soap recipe as a base, but you can we have a selection of colors, exfoliates and scents to choose from. Bars are made in batches of either 18 (2.5-3.5 oz) or 10 (3.5-4 oz.) or petite guest bars at 1 oz. in size.
Please email us at email@example.com and include your contact info, number of total bars and desired sizes, as well as initial thoughts on colors and scents. We’ll set up a time to video chat to discuss and show options.
Custom batches take approximately 4-6 weeks of production time, and 1 week for delivery.
This notice is required by the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Always consult your doctor if you are pregnant, lactating or have other health conditions before applying these products. Keep out of eyes & mucous membranes. All products should be used with the same care and caution as any other bath or household product that you use. Handmade assumes no liability for claims arising from the misuse of our products.
Absolutely no claims are made on product capabilities. Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
We encourage you to read about the ingredients these products contain to make an informed decision regarding your skincare. All ingredients are listed for this purpose.
Do you have a question not addressed here? Please contact us at the link above for help.