I get these questions a lot from the people who purchase and use my soap for the first time. For that I would like you to do a small exercise in your own super market and check out for yourself. The next time you walk down the soap aisle at your favorite store enjoying the fresh, clean scents and the bright colorful packaging, pay attention. Look at the labels. The vast majority of the products on the shelf don’t say ‘soap’ on their labels. They might be called beauty bars, moisturizing bars, or body bars, but not soap. That’s because these bars aren’t actually soap and can’t legally claim to be; they’re detergents (Now I am sure you must be nodding your head). The manufacturers have removed most of the ‘good’ stuff that occurs in the soap making process, and replaced it with synthetic lathering agents and harsh chemicals. These cheap, plentiful detergent bars are not only bad for your skin, but they’re also bad for the planet, too (and to confirm that you just need to read some papers).
Why NO to commercial soaps?
Always remember “You are what you eat, wear and apply on skin”. Your skin is porous and absorbent. It absorbs whatever it comes in contact with, much the same as sticking something in your mouth. Chronic use of chemicals laden products will cause the body to store the chemicals in the body fat or even in the brain. With enough accumulations of toxins in the body, illness can occur.
Commercial soap manufacturers make it a practice to remove the glycerin that is produced during the saponification (where oil miraculously becomes Soap … It’s Like Magic) process. The glycerin is a highly profitable substance, So from what I have heard is often sold to other companies who use it to make lotions and moisturizers. Most commercially produced bars contain synthetic lathering agents, artificial colors, and a slew of chemicals we can’t even pronounce (Try to read them on the cover). Antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps often contain triclosan. Triclosan is a toxic chemical that is known to cause cancer.These nasty chemicals and toxins are now finding their way into our eco-system. Every time that lather goes down the drain, those pollutants are going with it. Synthetic chemicals from soap, body washes, shampoos and other healthcare products were sneaking through the filters at water purification plants. The list of offenders included phthalates, which are linked to reproductive disorders in both humans and animals, and parabens, a preservative, which links to cancer.
So now what to do?
All natural, handmade soap. There are several small businesses selling extremely high quality, all natural, soap – yes real soap. Sure, these soap bars generally cost more than the detergent bars you’ll find at Super Market. But the difference is these soap bars are actually good for your skin, and are good for the planet.
So which soap should we get?
You need to understand a few things about the soapmaking process to know what to look for.
There are basically three ways to make soap. One common way is called “melt and pour” soap. There are even melt and pour kits you can buy to make cute soap shapes with your kids. These are generally glycerine based transparent soaps. They’re not as harmful (usually) as the commercial bars, But we are not sure that they are natural soap bars.
The other two methods are “hot process” and “cold process.” The hot process method utilizes heat after the saponification process has taken place, while the cold process method does not. The cold process method takes the most time, but is undoubtedly the best method for producing the highest quality soaps.
Now, we need to discuss the ingredients. Cold process soap bars are made using a combination of oils or fats and lye. Lye sounds a little scary, but all the caustic qualities of the lye are removed during the saponification process. When the lye interacts with the oils or fats, it creates glycerine. The type of oils and fats used make a difference in how hard or soft the soap bar ends up being, and how well it lathers.
With handmade soaps, just like with commercially manufactured bars, you need to read the labels. You want to find soaps that use only pure oils or fats. If plants are used in the bars (many bars incorporate seeds and petals from various plants) they should be natural. Avoid any bars that use artificial colors or fragrances. These are synthetic chemicals and you don’t want them on your skin or going down your drain. If you want a colored or scented soap bar, look for one that uses natural essential oils and natural, colorants.
To sum it up, the best soap for your skin and our planet is a handmade, all natural cold process soap bar. Once you’ve tried one of these lathery treasures, you’ll never again be satisfied with ‘store-bought’ bars. So do yourself and your world a big favor and start using REAL soap.
Luv and Light.