Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

We’ve been making soap for a while, so there are a few questions we’ve answered many, many times! Here are the answers to the questions we’re asked most often, in the hopes that it’ll make your life a little easier!

Where do I go for local pickup?

Currently, Tubby Tabby Soaps is a small business, operated out of our home and without a dedicated storefront. That means that when you come pick up your items, you’re stopping by our home. Welcome!

As of December 2023, we are located in downtown Ottawa, however beginning in January 2024 we will be moving to Beacon Hill in the east end of Ottawa (Gloucester). That means that if you want to stock up before the holidays or what have you, we’ll be downtown (near the old Technical High School/wall/dog park). After that, we’ll be able to meet you at our home in Gloucester/Beacon Hill.

Once you place your order, we’ll be in touch with our specific address. 🙂

How long does it take to receive my order?

Because we’re quite a small operation, we don’t move as fast as companies that have staff. It’s just Lia & Eli over here, doing everything from buying soap making supplies to designing packaging, to making soap and even packing and shipping orders. So sometimes it can take up to a week for us to ship your items, and from there it’s in the mail service’s hands. We understand that some things are more urgent than others, of course, so if you need something ASAP, please be sure to reach out and make sure we can get it in the mail in time.

For local pickup, please allow 24-48 hours for us to pack up your order before you stop by to pick it up. We’ll reach out within 24 hours of your order to coordinate pickup, or else (in rare cases) to let you know we expect a delay.

Will you make me a personalized soap for my [insert life event here]?

We do take custom orders! If you’re having a wedding, shower, birthday or any number of other celebrations, we’re happy to work with you as long as there is time to do so. Soap takes about 6 weeks to make if you want it to be good-quality, and we’re committed to only putting good soap out there. To learn more about custom orders or to request a custom soap, check out the customs page!

Are your soaps all natural?

This is a really tough question to answer, because the word “natural” is actually completely unregulated and means something different to each person.

Some soap companies put synthetic fragrance oils in their soaps and call them “all natural” and that’s not something we would agree with. We feel that “natural” only includes things that are either sourced directly from nature (such as plant extracts like oils, minerals or even animal by-products), or are lab-made reproductions of something that occurs in nature (such as lye, which is usually made in a lab now so that it behaves in safe and predictable ways, but many years ago was made from wood ash among other things). We don’t consider things like fragrance oils natural, so we won’t tell you they are. But we also don’t think they’re bad. After all, poison ivy and petroleum are natural and used incorrectly, they can cause a lot of harm. Sometimes labs can refine things in ways that make them safer than nature could do on its own. So we try to adopt a well-researched, scientifically-informed view on what is and is not safe for use in our products. 🙂

What we can say definitively is what our soap is not: it is not a soap base that’s mass-produced, bought from elsewhere, melted, poured into a mold and sold as though we made it ourselves. This is something that we’ve seen from both small and large soap companies and it’s just not our cup of tea. We personally do not consider that handmade, and we make all of our soap from scratch, using good, old-fashioned ingredients like vegetable oils and lye water. We will always make our soap from start to finish from raw materials, so you can rest assured that you’re not getting a cheap, pre-made bar!

Do your shampoo bars actually work?

OK listen, we get it. There’s a large, well-known company that makes shampoo bars and they kind of stink. We’ve heard from lots of you that you’re leery of trying ours because you’ve had a bad experience with shampoo bars from this other brand. And we totally understand where that comes from. But ours are a lot better. Seriously. Let us tell you why.

The main issue is that this other brand is using Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) as their first ingredient, which isn’t the greatest choice (but it’s cheap—hence its popularity). It’s extremely cleansing, for one thing, which is not always a good thing. Some of our customers have reported that SLS-heavy shampoo bars make their hair feel really dry, and SLS can also irritate the skin because it’s impacting the skin’s natural oil barrier. The jury is still out on whether or not SLS is dangerous to the environment (we believe it’s probably not), but it’s definitely harsher than we’d recommend using on your body. For this reason, we choose two biodegradable surfactants that are coconut- and/or palm-derived: Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSA) and Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI). They’re gentler and strike a better balance between cleaning and not totally stripping your hair.

The other complaint we sometimes get about other brands’ shampoo bars is that they don’t feel like they actually clean very well. This may be because a lot of other brands add oils to their bars (likely in an attempt to make an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner). This may seem like a good idea, but in reality the science of cleaning tells us otherwise. Soap & detergent molecules attach one end to water and the other end to oils, which is how they wash oils and dirt out of your hair. If many of those molecules are busy attaching themselves to the added shampoo bar oils, there are fewer cleaning molecules left to actually clean the oil and dirt out of your hair. Really, the best policy is to shampoo and then condition afterwards, so that you get a good clean first. For this reason, we leave our shampoo bars oil-free to do their cleaning, and also offer conditioner bars to help with detangling and smoothing for those that feel they need conditioning as well.

We stand behind our shampoo bars 100%. If you don’t already love your Tubby Tabby shampoo bar after 5 washes, simply contact us and we’ll give you a coupon for the value of the shampoo bar, and you can use it to order a different product that you like better.

How do I take advantage of your packaging trade-in program?

In case you weren’t aware, we offer a credit towards your next refill when you return or reuse your tin or jar. Pretty cool, right?

To see which product packaging qualifies and how to get your credit, please visit the packaging trade-in program page for all the details.