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Additional Information

Whenever we launch a new range, we are unsurprisingly inundated with questions from customers curious to know more about what’s in our products, what’s been left out and how they are made. We’ve developed this resource centre which aims to answer your questions.
As the range develops further we’ll be keeping this information up to date, along with news of any exciting eco innovations in packaging. If you don’t find the answer to your question below drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you!


What we set out to do.

Back in 2018, as we headed towards an exciting rebrand, we took a long look at our body care range and decided to make some big, bold changes. It was time for a new name, new branding, new formulations and a whole new range. 

Our aim was to be an alternative to highly processed body care, by harnessing the sensorial power of plants whilst reducing our impact on the planet.

We threw ourselves into researching ingredients, fragrances and colours, explored new packaging innovations and we asked Suma workers ‘what shall we call it’. We hit a few dead ends but we achieved some major triumphs too, and we’re chuffed to bits to present ‘ALTER/NATIVE by Suma’ to you, our lovely customers.  

SHOP WHOLESALE


Cruelty Free Products

None of our products have been tested on animals – only on Suma workers.

During the development of our new range, lots of Suma workers volunteered to test our sample products and their feedback was invaluable. It’s been a real team effort and Suma HQ smells lovely!

Suma strongly believes that self-care and household products should be cruelty-free. We are proud to be Leaping Bunny approved, a global programme requiring cruelty-free standards over and above UK legal requirements.

All of our own brand cosmetic, personal care products and household cleaning products are approved under the Cruelty Free International Leaping Bunny programme, the internationally recognisable gold standard for cruelty free products. We adhere to a fixed cut-off date policy and proactively monitor our suppliers to ensure that our products continue to meet all Leaping Bunny criteria. Our supplier monitoring system is also independently audited.

For more information about Cruelty Free International, Leaping Bunny and Leaping Bunny criteria, please visit www.crueltyfreeinternational.org

Vegan

All our ALTER/NATIVE by Suma products are registered with the Vegan Society.  This means that all of our ingredients and their production methods have been thoroughly checked out by the Vegan Society. All our packaging carries the easily recognisable Vegan Society logo.

Made in the UK

Wherever possible, we always try to use local suppliers for our Suma branded products and our ALTER/NATIVE by Suma range is no exception. All our body care soaps and liquid products are proudly made in Yorkshire.

High in the Pennines of West Yorkshire, just a hop skip and a jump from  Suma,  are the secret headquarters of one of our soap makers. Okay – you got me, it’s not really that secret but the rest is true. Something that is also true is that this company has been producing luxurious natural soap for well over a decade.

Owners and Willy Wonkas of the soap world are two ex-Sumanoids. They used to work with us here until they swapped the people’s republic of  Suma  for soap making, and they haven’t looked back. Both are united in a passion for sustainability and quality that permeates every aspect of their business, starting with a dedication to using the traditional cold process, which not only generates zero by-produce but also allows them to choose every ingredient themselves. 

The traditional cold process method takes 2 days; the soaps are then allowed to cure for 21 days.   As little energy as possible is used throughout production; they pour, cut every bar of soap using a mixture of Yorkshire grit and elbow grease, and each bar is individually boxed in recycled and recyclable cardboard boxes.

Packaging – Giving our customer’s choice

There’s no getting away from the global impact of plastics, but rest assured we’re doing our bit. Our retail sized bottles and 5L bulk containers are all made from rHDPE, which means that they’re made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic and are also fully recyclable. We’ve also purposely chosen clear and white plastic PP (polypropylene) lids to make them easily recyclable too. 

We’ve also expanded the range to include bulk refillable sizes. The 5L container is for that regular fill (pumps are available to make filling a little easier), and we also support refill shops with our retail ready 20L sizes.

If you really want to cut back on plastic, we have a large variety of skincare and haircare bars; packaged in recycled and recyclable cardboard boxes. They make a great alternative to liquid products. We also have a large range of packaging-free soaps too. You’ll be spoilt for choice.

Compostable wrap

Our hair conditioner and moisturising bars contain a high proportion of fabulous oils to nourish and care for your skin and hair, this means they can be a bit more sensitive to temperature changes, so it’s always best to store them away from indirect and direct heat sources. To help with this we’ve sealed them into little bags made from compostable cellulose wrap, this will keep them fresh until you’re ready to use them. Simply tear the bag into pieces and pop it in your home compost bin.

Pricing Policy

We wanted to create a range of products to challenge the market leaders in natural body care, whilst keeping our products accessible and affordable for all without compromising on quality. So, we spent many months testing new formulations and looking at packaging options before bringing them to you. Our range of products allow you to choose what’s right for you and your pocket.


Have you ever looked at the ingredient listing on a body care label and thought it looks like another language? Officially known as INCI listings  (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) these are systematic names internationally recognised to identify cosmetic ingredients. It enables the cosmetic industry to track the safety and the regulatory status of ingredients efficiently on a global basis. It also allows consumers to look at ingredients and identify them by name, regardless of the national origin of the product.

Ingredients  are listed in descending order, from greatest amount to least amount present in the  product  (except  ingredients  present at a concentration of less than 1%; those can be listed in any order). We have complied with these regulations but as we like to be as transparent as possible; where one exists, we’ve listed our ingredients along with their plain English names too. We’ve also added in information on where our ingredients are derived from. 

Palm oil

It’s a hot topic-and a very contentious one at that. We set out to eliminate all palm and palm derived ingredients from our new products but that proved to be really, really hard. Palm oil is pretty amazing stuff and is found in hundreds of ingredients, some of which aren’t always that obvious. We worked hard with our suppliers to create a range that would have the best ingredient credentials possible, whilst still performing well and within our customer’s budgets. What we discovered was that some of the key ingredients were not available with a genuine and traceable palm-free guarantee.

Many farmed crops are not segregated and, as a result, the ingredients we use can be derived from either coconut or palm oil. So, we’ve ensured that all of these ingredients are from sustainable sources; the majority of which are RSPO certified. All palm derived ingredients are clearly annotated on our labels.

Allergens 

It is a legal requirement to declare all allergens contained within our products and we are legally required to use their chemical names. These are naturally occurring and are often present in minute levels.

Some allergens may cause an allergic reaction in some people, so if you have sensitivity to certain ingredients we’ve listed below the names of the allergens to look out for. These are clearly shown on all our product labels.

Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Benzyl alcohol, Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl salicylate, Coumarin, Cinnamic aldehyde, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Hexyl cinnamic aldehyde, Hexyl cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool.

Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate (ALS) explained

All our fragranced liquid products are blended from a mix of essential oils and other beneficial ingredients, designed to benefit a wide range of hair and skin types. 

Our shampoo, body wash and hand wash liquid products all contain something called Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate (ALS). This is considered to be a safe and effective cleansing agent and thought to be less irritating to the skin than SLS or SLES. 

ALS is rapidly biodegradable and virtually 100% of this base is immediately removed from the skin or hair by simply rinsing away with water.

All of our liquid products contain over 99% natural ingredients. 

Want to know more about our ingredients then read on…

What’s in our liquid shampoos?

  • Aqua– we use good old Yorkshire water. It acts as a solvent keeping all the oil and dirt bound to the chelating agents in solution so it’ll go down the plug hole.
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate (ALS) – derived from RSPO certified palm, ALS is a surfactant used for foaming and cleansing. Link to ALS ingredient info
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine – derived from coconut, it’s a surfactant that produces foam and helps to keep any washed-out oil or dirt in solution. 
  • Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) – concentrated aloe vera leaf juice soothes the scalp and aids with detangling. 
  • Citric Acid – is derived from vegetables and is used as an acidity regulator. 
  • Sodium Chloride (aka salt) – there are a few different sources of salt. The one we use comes from brine produced in nearby Cheshire. The brine is heated to produce a thick salt solution before the majority of the water is removed. To get rid of the extra moisture, the salt is dried using hot air. It acts as a thickening agent reacting with the surfactants to create that lovely viscosity.
  • Sodium Benzoate – this acts as a preservative in haircare products.

This forms the base of our lovely shampoo range to which we add essential oils.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Shampoo & Conditioner Range

What’s in our liquid conditioners?

  • Aqua – we use good old Yorkshire water. It acts as a solvent keeping all the oil and dirt bound to the chelating agents in solution so it’ll go down the plug hole.
  • Cetyl trimethyl ammonium chloride – this conditioning agent helps leave hair glossy and anti-static, it is derived from coconut and RSPO certified palm kernel oil. 
  • Cetyl Alcohol – derived from RSPO certified palm, palm kernel and coconut oil. It allows the conditioner to spread more easily through your hair.
  • Cetearyl Alcohol – derived from RSPO certified palm, palm kernel and coconut oil and acts as a thickening agent in conditioners.
  • Glyceryl Stearate – derived from RSPO certified palm, it is an emulsifying agent allowing water and oil-based ingredients to mix and remain stable. 
  • Sodium Benzoate – this acts as a preservative in haircare products.
  • Hemp oil (in some variants) – adds moisture and shine while treating fragile strands.
  • Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) (in some variants) – Soothes the scalp and aids with detangling. 

This forms the base of our conditioners to which we add essential oils.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Shampoo & Conditioner Range

What’s in our liquid body wash?

  • Aqua – we use good old Yorkshire water, it acts as a solvent keeping all the oil and dirt bound to the chelating agents in solution so it’ll go down the plug hole.
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate (ALS) – derived from RSPO certified palm, ALS is a surfactant used for foaming and cleansing. Link to Ingredients – Shampoo, body wash and hand wash liquid base 
  • Lauryl Glucoside – derived from plant-based glucose, it’s a foaming agent.
  • Citric Acid – derived from vegetables and used as an acidity regulator. 
  • Sodium Chloride (aka salt) – there are a few different sources of salt. The one we use comes from brine produced nearby in Cheshire. The brine is heated to produce a thick salt solution before the majority of the water is removed. To get rid of the extra moisture, the salt is dried using hot air. It acts as a thickening agent reacting with the surfactants to create that lovely viscosity.
  • Sodium Benzoate – this acts as a preservative in body care products.
  • Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf juice (in some variants) – soothes the skin.

This forms the base of our body wash range to which we add essential oils.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Body wash & Hand wash

What’s in our liquid hand wash?

  • Aqua – we use good old Yorkshire water. It acts as a solvent keeping all the oil and dirt bound to the chelating agents in solution so it’ll go down the plug hole.
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate (ALS) – derived from RSPO certified palm, ALS is a surfactant used for foaming and cleansing.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine – derived from coconut, it’s a surfactant that produces foam and helps to keep any washed off oil or dirt in solution. 
  • Citric Acid – derived from vegetables and used as an acidity regulator. 
  • Lactic Acid – derived from maize, lactic acid is a natural anti-microbial agent. 
  • Sodium Chloride (aka salt) – there a few different sources of salt. The one we use comes from brine produced nearby in Cheshire. The brine is heated to produce a thick salt solution before the majority of the water is removed. To get rid of the extra moisture, the salt is dried using hot air. It acts as a thickening agent reacting with the surfactants to create that lovely viscosity.
  • Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf juice (in some variants) – soothes the skin.

This forms the base of our hand wash range to which we add essential oils.

For detailed information about our haircare and skincare bars visit our ‘Switch to sections’ that’s all about our waste free bars.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Body wash & Hand wash

Not found what you’re looking for and want to know more about our haircare and skincare bar ingredients?

Then go to the ‘switch to waste free haircare’ or ‘switch to waste free bars’ section below.


ALTER/NATIVE by Suma fragrances – Liquids and palm free glycerine soaps

Gentle – Clear & Simple – Fragrance-free and exceptionally mild. There are no essential oils in the ingredients so any scent you detect is all natural. All of the products in this range are ideal for all hair types and anyone with sensitive skin. 

Invigorating – Coffee & Cedarwood (with orange and black pepper) – Invigorating and energising, this surprising combination of aromas and oils have been designed to stimulate your senses and get you going in the morning. A difficult aroma to describe but it’s very moreish; we’ve certainly found it to be addictive!

Refreshing – Tea Tree & Aloe Vera (with lime and lemongrass) – Antiseptic tea tree, nourishing aloe vera, lime and lemongrass oil combine to leave your hair and body feeling happy and hydrated. Guaranteed to be a favourite with tea tree lovers, this combination has a wonderful fresh citrus aroma.

Balancing – Patchouli & Sandalwood (with ylang ylang) – Not just for hippies, this sensual and harmonious combination provides an unexpected treat for your nostrils. We think we’ve got the balance just right. The patchouli and sandalwood pair perfectly, and are enhanced by the subtle hit of fabulously fragrant ylang ylang. 

Relaxing – Lavender & Geranium (with tea tree) Classic combinations of two very versatile essential oils to gently clean, moisturise, smooth and calm your hair and body, with a modern tea tree twist. We love those refreshing little high notes.

Coconut & Argan oil (with ylang ylang) – Tropical and luxurious. We can’t help but think this blend of exotic oils will gently lift, pamper and moisturise, whilst taking you to your happy place. Sun and palm trees here we come.

Calming – Rose & Geranium – Flat-out floral, this classic bouquet is always a top combo. Designed to soothe, stabilise and pamper, you’ll be horizontal in no time. 

Uplifting – Pink Grapefruit (with aloe vera and lime) – Soothing, gentle and nourishing. We’ve given this range an enticing and uplifting citrus zing. When you’re in the shower these zesty aromas will envelop you, and you’ll feel like doing the cha-cha-cha. Be careful not to slip!

Hemp & Jasmine musk (with wheat germ and jasmine flowers). This richly sensual and moisturising combination is truly addictive. Think warm summer nights – it’s sure to bring a smile to your face. 


Natural variations

Every batch of ALTER/NATIVE by Suma soaps has been handmade and hand cut in small batches, meaning there may be slight variations in the size and shape of each bar. We also use a variety of plant-based ingredients to colour some of our soaps, so variations between soap batches can occur. Please be assured that these variations do not affect either the quality or performance of our products. There are so many to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.  

Colours & exfoliates

A lot of fun research and development work went into our new soaps, especially around the colours and exfoliates. Our developer Melanie would send over bags of interesting ingredients for our suppliers to experiment with and they would send back lots of Tupperware boxes filled with strange and wonderful textured and coloured soap mixtures to try. You can’t get more handmade than that! Aduki beans were a triumph and create a really great exfoliating texture, making them fab for gardeners. They’re in our cinnamon and orange handmade bars, but if you prefer a gentler exfoliation experience try our peppermint and pine oil soap with poppy seeds. 

Handmade soap range

Every one of these beautiful soaps has been carefully hand-crafted using a blend of olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter. We’ve used an age-old traditional method which means each bar retains all the soap’s naturally released glycerine. It’s a method which helps produce a wonderfully natural moisturising soap with a rich creamy lather which is kind and nourishing to even the most sensitive of skins.

SHOP WHOLESALE – 12 Handmade Soaps

SHOP WHOLESALE – Gift Sets

Skincare range

Each one of our skincare soaps has unique properties that will help you relax, indulge your senses, and cater for every part of your body. All are beautifully packaged in perfect recycled and recyclable little boxes. 

Facial soap cleansing bar – Made from simple, uncomplicated and natural ingredients. One bar will last for ages if you let it dry in between uses.

Shaving bar – Coffee and cedarwood with orange and tea tree oil. We’ve also added soybean oil to create a rich creamy lather, for a clean all over shave. Tried and tested, it’s for the hair you can see and the hair you maybe shouldn’t see.

Charcoal detox – Activated charcoal with tea tree, lime and lemongrass. With its rich toxin absorbing creamy lather, this bar has been formulated to gently exfoliate and naturally moisturise your skin. We use charcoal for drawing out the toxins, not for drawing lines on paper. 

Ayurvedic Soap bar – the Sanskrit term Ayurveda originated from the word “ayur” which means life and “veda” which means knowledge, widely believed to be the science of life. To create our karma in a bar, we’ve focused on healthy mind, body and spirit, and created a traditional bar to deeply moisturise the skin. 

We’ve crammed in lots of holistic skin nourishing ingredients and, amongst these; we’ve added something called Hydnocarpus Wightianus (chaulmoogra) seed oil. Did you know this has been widely used in Indian and Chinese traditional medicine for the treatment of leprosy?  So that’s got to be good for your skin, don’t you think!

SHOP WHOLESALE – Skincare Bars

Round glycerine soaps

Our original round glycerine soaps have remained a firm favourite with our customers. Hydrating, soothing and pampering; we use plant-based glycerine, making them totally bio-degradable, as well as wonderfully rich and moisturising. Originally, we set out to reformulate, replace and expand our glycerine soap range but when we asked our customers they said ‘no, please don’t change them.’ So, these soaps are here to stay, but we suspect you’ll also be tempted by one of our tantalising palm-free glycerine soaps too.

What’s in our round glycerine soaps? 

  • Glycerine – derived from rapeseed oil, glycerine has moisturising properties, softening the skin after use. 
  • Aqua – we use good old Yorkshire water. It acts as a solvent keeping oil and dirt bound to the chelating agents in solution so it’ll go down the plug hole.
  • Sodium Stearate – is derived from rapeseed and is a chelating agent. It binds to oil and dirt particles and keeps them in the water. 
  • Propylene glycol – this is a synthetic ingredient. It’s used as a viscosity modifier in the soap. It changes the melting and setting temperature of the soap, giving a time window where the soap is liquid and can be made into bars.
  • Sorbitol – derived from corn syrup. It helps to make our soap formula thick and stable. As a humectant, it is skin conditioning and prevents moisture loss from your skin.   
  • Sodium laurate – this can be derived from both RSPO certified palm and coconut oils and acts as a very effective foaming and cleansing agent. It surrounds dirt and oil and enables them to be removed from skin and clothes with water.
  • Sodium laureth sulfate – this can also be derived from both RSPO certified palm and coconut oils and is a surface-active agent or surfactant. It’s partly water-soluble and partly oil-soluble. This quality allows any oil and dirt to be easily washed away.
  • Sodium Chloride (aka salt) – we use pure salt to help thicken the soap solution.
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate – another ingredient that can sometimes be derived from either RSPO certified palm or coconut oils. This works as a surfactant, trapping oil-based dirt so that it can be rinsed away with water. It’s also an effective foaming agent, turning liquid into foam to create a rich creamy lather. 
  • Stearic acid – derived from RSPO certified palm oil, it’s used as a thickening agent for our bars and makes for a more luxurious soap.
  • Lauric acid – derived from coconut and used along with our other ingredients, this helps to keep our bars hard and creates fluffy bubbles. It also creates a super cleansing bar.
  • Pentasodium pentetate – this is a synthetic chelating agent and is used to prevent various mineral components from binding together and negatively affecting our bar formulation. This is a metal chelate which attracts metal ions found in water which can cause rancidity in the soap.   Rancidity can change the colour and smell of the soap bar so chelates are used to prevent this from happening in the home/kitchen.      
  • Tetrasodium Etidronate – is a safe synthetic ingredient. It acts as a chelating agent grabbing hold of any free metal ions found in hard water aiding saponification. It also reduces the hardness of water, providing a soft feel to the skin.

This forms the base of our round glycerine soap bars to which we add essential oils.

If SLS or SLS isn’t for you, try one of our palm-free glycerine soap bars.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Round Glycerine Soaps

Palm-free rectangle glycerine soaps

Our palm free glycerine soaps are all produced on a handmade soap line. The ingredients are melted in a melting tank by Yvonne. The molten soap is then poured into moulds and any additions (like the fabulous rose petals) are sprinkled over the billets (the name for the large blocks of soap). Once the soap is cooled, the blocks are cut by hand using a wire grid to get a uniform shape. The individual bars are then hand packed into boxes ready for Suma driver Clive to collect.

What’s in our palm free rectangle glycerine soaps? 

  • Aqua – we use good old Yorkshire water. It acts as a solvent keeping all the oil and dirt bound to the chelating agents in solution so it’ll go down the plug hole.
  • Glycerine – derived from rapeseed oil, glycerine has moisturising properties softening the skin.
  • Sodium Cocoate – derived from coconut oil, it’s another great ingredient for moisturising and softening skin.
  • Sorbitol – is derived from corn and is used as a thickening agent.
  • Sodium Stearate – is derived from rapeseed and is a chelating agent. It binds to the oil and dirt particles and keeps them in the water. 
  • Propylene Glycol – mineral derived, this ingredient acts in a similar way to water as a solvent. It also helps to mix the hydrophilic and hydrophobic ingredients together.
  • Sodium Coco Sulfate – made from the fatty acids of coconut oil, it creates a rich foam to thoroughly cleanse hair and skin. Its thorough action dissolves dirt and grease effectively. 
  • Citric Acid – is derived from corn and is used as an acidity regulator. 
  • Polyglyceryl-4 oleate – a natural emulsifier produced from sunflower seed oil and vegetable glycerine.
  • Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil – Derived from coconut, it acts as a moisturiser. 
  • Sodium Chloride (aka salt) – pure salt helps to thicken the soap solution.
  • Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate – is a plant derived water softener, also known as a chelating agent.
  • Tetrasodium Etidronate – is a safe synthetic ingredient. It acts as a chelating agent grabbing hold of any free metal ions found in hard water aiding saponification. It also reduces the hardness of water, giving a soft feel to the skin.
  • Sodium Citrate – is produced as a by-product during saponification in a reaction between sodium chloride and citric acid. It is another chelating agent that binds to any heavy metal ions helping the other ingredients to be more effective.  

This forms the base of our lovely glycerine soap bars to which we add essential oils.

The palm oil free formulation used in our new palm-free glycerine soaps is more naturally derived than many glycerine formulations found on the market. The soaps can therefore be more prone to moisture crystallisation which can appear on the surface of the soaps in interesting patterns. It can sometimes look a little odd but it will disappear once the soaps are in use. Ideally allow your glycerine bars to have air to help reduce the possibility of the crystallisation occurring. Soaps store extremely well and make any room smell amazing.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Palm Free Soaps 


Shampoo bars 

As interest in plastic reduction grows and grows, people are ditching plastic bottles and moving towards environmentally friendly bars. So, it was only natural that shampoo bars would form part of our new body care range. Made in the UK from essential oils, our bars come in two different varieties and a range of gorgeous fragrances. Created to naturally cleanse the hair whilst enveloping your senses with truly wonderful aromas, they’re vegan, cruelty-free and bursting with the goodness of essential oils. 

Things to know about our shampoo bars

Though our shampoo bars are suitable for many hair types, they have not been formulated to be suitable for dyed or treated hair. Many of today’s hair treatments contain harsh chemicals and dyes which upset the hairs natural balance and can strip the hair of its natural oils. Our bars may not be suitable for your hair if this is the case, as some colour fading may occur and it may take longer for you to transition to using our shampoo bars.

There are also some areas within the UK that have what is known as hard water. This is water which is high in dissolved minerals, predominantly calcium and magnesium. This type of water can also affect the performance of our bars and may lengthen the transition period and performance of our natural shampoo bars. Check online to see if you live in one of these areas.

The shampoo bar transition

We’ve had so many glowing reviews about our new shampoo and conditioner bars but it can take some hair types time to get used to the change from bottle to bar, anything from a few washes to a few weeks. It can be a challenge going from liquids containing silicon and plastic beads to a natural product. Hair can protest at first and may feel dry and frizzy, or it may go the other way and feel greasy. DO NOT PANIC! This is normal – it’s your hair’s way of adjusting and rest assured it does get better. 

All of our shampoo bars are suitable for all hair types. However, you may find one type suits your hair better than another. Try different ones to see which works best for you.

If you have a lot of product build up on your hair we suggest you start by applying a clarifying natural baking soda rinse. You can make it by adding 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 1-2 cups of warm water to make a solution. Work it through your hair and rinse really well. 

Now you are ready to start using your bar. Run the bar over your hair a couple of times from front to back to avoid tangling. Use a little amount of the product for the first wash, rinse really well and then repeat – making sure you get a really good lather. Then rinse, rinse and rinse some more! 

A rinse with apple cider vinegar solution can help remove any excess soap build up. It’s really nourishing and adds amazing shine too. The apple cider rinse is made by adding 1-part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water. You can add a few drops of essential oil too if you like. Rest assured the vinegar smell is very faint and it disappears as your hair dries. You can even use the rinse instead of the conditioner bar if that feels too heavy for your hair. 

Brush your hair regularly to redistribute the natural oils that are no longer being stripped out by less natural products. Give your hair a few days off between washes. If it’s feeling greasy a little corn-starch applied to the roots will absorb any excess oil. Or if it’s dry, a little argan oil will moisturise and tame any frizz. 

So, there you go, that’s the Suma ALTER/NATIVE bottle to bar guide. Let us know how you get on!

What’s in our hair care shampoo bars:

ALTER/NATIVE by Suma glycerine shampoo bars: 

  • Aqua – we use good old Yorkshire water, it acts as a solvent keeping all the oil and dirt bound to the chelating agents in solution to go down the plug hole.
  • Glycerine – derived from rapeseed oil, glycerine has moisturising properties softening the skin after use.
  • Sorbitol – is derived from corn and is used as a thickening agent.
  • Sodium Stearate – is derived from rapeseed and is a chelating agent. It binds to all those oil and dirt particles, keeping them in the water. 
  • Sodium Laurate – derived from vegetable oils, including palm which is RSPO certified. This ingredient is one of the surfactants which creates a lovely foam. 
  • Propylene Glycol – mineral derived, this ingredient acts in a similar way to water as a solvent. It also helps to mix the hydrophilic and hydrophobic ingredients together.
  • Sodium Oleate – derived from vegetable oils, sodium oleate is a surfactant acting in a similar way to sodium myristate. It also has emulsifier properties, keeping those hydrophobic and hydrophilic ingredients together.
  • Sodium Myristate – derived from vegetable oils, this is one of the surfactants in the product. Surfactants reduce the surface tension of a liquid. In shampoo bars this means it allows any dirt and oil in your hair to be transferred to the product and washed away.
  • Capryl Glucoside – a mild surfactant derived from vegetable origin that is often used in baby shampoo. It creates a lathering effect which helps to work the shampoo into your hair and moisturises your scalp.
  • Sodium Chloride (aka salt) – pure salt helps to thicken the soap solution.
  • Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil – derived from coconut and richly moisturising. 
  • Glyceryl Laurate – a plant-based viscosity stabilizer. It is also a skin-conditioning agent. It works as a co-emulsifier, helping water and oil to mix together.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine – vegetable derived and used to reduce static. It is used to condition the skin and hair, and helps to increase the foaming action.
  • Sodium Citrate – is produced as a by-product during saponification in a reaction between sodium chloride and citric acid. It is another chelating agent that binds to any heavy metal ions helping the other ingredients to be more effective.  
  • Citric Acid – is derived from corn and is used as an acidity regulator. 
  • Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate – is a plant derived water softener, also known as a chelating agent.
  • Tetrasodium Etidronate – is a safe synthetic ingredient. It acts as a chelating agent grabbing hold of any free metal ions found in hard water aiding saponification. It also reduces the hardness of water, providing a soft feel to the skin.

This forms the base of our lovely shampoo bars to which we add essential oils. 

SHOP WHOLESALE – Glycerine Shampoo Bars

ALTER/NATIVE by Suma cold pour shampoo bars:

Four simple ingredients make up our cold pour shampoo bars. To these base ingredients we add essential oils to create a range of fragrances.

Sodium cocoate – coconut oil is deeply conditioning and leaves hair feeling soft and supple.

Sodium olivate – olive oil helps to add softness, strength and a healthy shine.

Aqua – lashings of good old Yorkshire water.

Sodium castorate – castor oil has been used as a natural conditioner for centuries and we’ve included it as a natural nourisher. It creates a gorgeous creamy lather and helps to deeply condition the hair.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Shampoo Bars

ALTER/NATIVE by Suma Conditioner bars 

Versatile and deeply nourishing, our conditioner bars are suitable for all hair types and they’re easy to use. Simply rub it in your wet hands to create a creamy paste, smooth it through your hair, leave for a couple of minutes, and rinse well. Or, if you prefer, run the bar directly over your hair, a little goes a long way. Whatever works best for you, we’re sure you’ll love the results.

Fancy trying something different? Our conditioner bars can also be used as liquid conditioner. 

Here’s how:

  1. Break or cut your bar up and place it in a heatproof jug or bowl.
  2. Pour around 600ml of boiling water over the bar. You can add a bit more or less depending on the consistency you prefer. 
  3. Stir well and allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Decant into a bottle or jar. 

This method can be used for transforming a full bar, but you can also make smaller quantities by cutting your bar up and using less water. Please ensure your mixture has thoroughly cooled before use.

How to store your conditioner bars

Conditioner bars are particularly susceptible to heat and may soften if they get too warm. To keep them in tip top condition store away from strong heat sources, out of direct sunlight, and wherever possible allow them to dry out between use.

What’s in our hair care conditioner bars:

  • Theobroma cacao – cocoa seed butter deeply moisturises the hair and helps to make it more manageable.
  • Ricinus communis (Castor) seed oil – a much loved traditional remedy, castor oil is said to moisturise the scalp and ease dandruff. With the added bonus of leaving your hair smooth, strong and shiny.
  • Behentrimonium methosulfate (BMS) – Derived from rapeseed oil and prized for its detangling abilities, it’s able to penetrate the hair shaft making it an excellent moisturiser and conditioner, whilst being gentle on the skin and scalp.
  • Cetyl alcohol – 100% natural and RSPO palm oil derived, we use it as another moisturising ingredient, but its essential property is to thicken and stabilise our conditioner bars.
  • Butylene glycol – used to add even more moisture, this ingredient also works as a solvent, meaning it keeps the other ingredients from clumping up inside our conditioner bar solution.

This forms the base of our lovely conditioner bars to which we add essential oils.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Conditioner Bars


Alter/Native by Suma Refills

Do you run a refill store or a scout camp, have you got a big family or are you simply looking to cut down on plastic? Either way, we’ve got the refill product for you. Look out for refilling opportunities on your local high street.

All of our shampoos, conditioners, body washes and hand washes are available in 5L sizes, with most available in 20L sizes too. 

To accompany these products, we also have handy pumps and drum taps to make decanting easier. 

Top tip!

For easy pouring from any 5L container turn the container sideways and simply pour. This allows a little air into the container as you pour and will help avoid some of those ‘glug glug oops’ moments!

Our 20L containers have a handy air valve built in, so be sure to open this before attaching the drum tap or dispensing pump. This size is clearly not suitable for pouring as they are very heavy.

Good Refill Practice

If you’re planning to offer a refill service then we have some handy tips and recommendations for you. However, please note that this is intended as a guide only to highlight good practice and is not an exhaustive list.

  • Ensure bulk containers are stored inside in a cool dry place and out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep the refilling station, pumps, taps and lids as clean as is possible and free from contaminants. Caps and lids should never be left off bulk containers for any longer than is necessary.
  • If any containers used for refills aren’t brand new, it’s generally a good rule that they should have been used for the same product previously. 
  • Containers used for refills should have been washed and dried prior to filling.
  • Ensure the refillable container doesn’t smell. If the container has previously stored a strong fragranced product then this can affect the refill.
  • Volume is a tricky one to monitor; some bottles may say 500ml on them but actually hold 560ml if filled to the brim. It’s a good idea to sell refills by weight. To do this simply weigh the refillable container before and after the fill. Or zero the scale with the refillable container on it. 
  • Ensure the filled container is capped as soon as possible to prevent any product contamination, and is closed tightly to avoid any spillages on the journey home.
  • Make sure the container is labelled correctly according to any current legislation in your area.

Labelling on Refills – Cosmetic Products 

All cosmetic products have to comply with the Cosmetic Products Safety Regulation 1223/2009 and Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/659). This includes refilled bottles and it is the responsibility of the seller to ensure that the labelling complies with these regulations. 

Please ensure the following details are provided with each sale: 

  • The name of the product, i.e. Tea Tree & Aloe Vera. 
  • Product description, i.e. shampoo.
  • Instructions for use, where applicable. 
  • Ingredients listed by INCI (International Nomenclature Cosmetic Ingredient) names and allergens. 
  • Precautionary Statements, i.e. Keep out of reach of children 
  • Volume, i.e. 500ml 
  • Name, address, telephone number of the supplier 
  • Batch No i.e. BN 1234 

The details must be legible, visible and indelible on the packaging in which the cosmetic products are put up for sale to the consumer. 

Again, this is intended only as a guide to assist in some of the regulatory labelling requirements. This is a rapidly changing environment for refill stations, as new legislation seems to be coming out all the time. We therefore recommend that you keep checking for the release of any new Government documentation.

Link to downloadable labels

SHOP WHOLESALE – Refills


To complement our range of heavenly scented bars we’ve introduced a range of accessories to keep your bars safe and dry when you’re on the move or at home. 

Aluminium tins

They’re great for travels, in bags on the go or just keeping in your bathroom. Our aluminium soap tins have removable inserts to aid drainage and speed up drying, extending each bar’s life. The aluminium material ensures the tin won’t rust when exposed to water. Designed to suit all of our rectangle skincare and haircare bars, there are two sizes to choose from; single bar or double size. There’s a tin to suit your needs. 

SHOP WHOLESALE – Alter/Native Tins

Organic cotton soap bags

Our little organic cotton mesh bags with a cotton drawstring are tailor made to fit our rectangular ALTER/NATIVE by Suma soap and haircare bars. Help extend the life of your bars by hanging them up in the shower, allowing them to drain and dry easily. It’s plastic-free and also doubles up as a lovely natural exfoliator for your skin.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Soap Bag

Bamboo soap dishes

Round or rectangular, our bamboo soap dishes make the perfect companion to all of our bars. They’re handmade, using only premium bamboo carefully selected from sustainable sources. This ensures that the bamboo that we use is neither a food source nor a habitat for Pandas. These vegan friendly soap dishes contain no dyes or stains, so are safe and non-toxic. Just keep them clean and wash regularly to keep them in tip top condition.

SHOP WHOLESALE – Bamboo Soap Dishes