Soap has been around since about 2800 BC in Ancient Babylon; the ruins of Pompeii revealed an entire soap factory.
Frontier women made all of their own soaps from rendered animal fats (gotta use every piece of the animal to survive in frontier life!). Affordably manufactured soap was widely available by the 1800s.
Today, handmade soap has been increasing in popularity as people start to look for ways to return back to basics in our fast-paced technology-focused world, are becoming more educated about the products they bring into their homes, and start to look for natural “cures” for common health issues.
But, what’s the big deal about handmade soap vs our modern-day commercial soap?
Is natural soap better than commercial soap?
Let’s take a look at what each one so you can decide for yourself.
What’s so bad about Commercial Soaps anyway?
Many commercial soaps aren’t Soap… they are synthetic detergents.
Detergents originated in 1916 Germany, and the commercial “soap” we know today came into existence during WWII.
Detergents are synthetic (often petroleum-based) cleansers that strip your skin of the natural oils that your body needs for healthy skin and can lead to skin disorders and rashes.
🚨🚨~ Commercial Soaps Contain More Than Just Soap.
Even if you do find a bar of real soap at the store, it might not be all that great for you. Many commercial soaps contain chemical-based colorants, dyes, fragrances, lathering agents, preservatives, and other “things” we can’t pronounce.
These additives can wreak havoc on our sensitive skin and hair, and pollute our drinking water.
Some commercial “soaps”, toothpaste, and body washes even include triclosan, which can promote cancer (pretty scary stuff, and you can read more about it here if you want to get squeamish about some of the products we are sold).
🚨🚨~ Commercial Soap Lacks Glycerine.
With all of the work commercial soap manufacturers put into adding “things” to their product, you wouldn’t think they would spend time extracting from it… but they do.
• Glycerin is a naturally occurring byproduct of the saponification process (that’s the chemical reaction that we call soap making).
• Glycerine is a humectant—meaning it draws moisture from the air to your skin—leaving your skin soft and moisturized.
Commercial soap manufacturers typically remove the glycerin from their soap, and sell it separately, or use it in a second product—moisturizer.
😳 ~ Yup, they take one good bar of soap, extract the moisturizer, and then sell it to us as a second product (both of which may contain harmful chemicals).
Yuck! Let’s take a look at the better alternative: handmade soap.
💚 What is Handmade Soap? 💚
Handmade soaps are natural products that are good for your skin.
Soap is a pretty basic chemical reaction: it’s a salt of a fatty acid. In order to make soap, fats and lye are combined in a process called saponification.
You take some lye, some fat (animal or vegetable oils), heat it up, and BAM soap! OK, we simplified it, but you get the idea… soap is a natural process that comes from combining natural ingredients.
Handmade soap is made of vegetable oils (sometimes animal fats too) and butters that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients that are essential to healthy skin. And, real handmade soap contains glycerine.
You won’t find any soaper out there extracting all the goodies from their soap to upsell you the 2nd product. 🙌🏽
On the contrary, handmade soapers are working hard to find wonderful skin-loving ingredients to create more and more beneficial soaps for our lovely skin.
What Goes Into Handmade Soap?
The variety achieved from different oils, textures, shapes, sizes, smells, and more is one of the great things about handmade soaps—no two bars are ever the same as they are works of art in themselves. But beauty aside, handmade soap should be crafted with care. 🙏🏽
The main reason why soap is better for you than commercial detergents is based on the ingredients. If you make a handmade bar of soap and then add chemicals to it, you’re no better off than the stuff you can buy at the grocery store.
However, if you handcraft soap with all-natural ingredients (and skip the chemical color and fragrance part) you will have a wonderfully good for your skin bar of soap.
Each of the ingredients used in our soaps is chosen based on their effect on the final bar (moisturizing, exfoliant, odor removing, lathering, etc.).
Isn’t all handmade soap natural?
Not all handmade soap is created with high quality and natural ingredients.
Some people craft soap with chemical-based additives called “melt and pour”—mostly because they are not aware of what they are purchasing, are new to the soap making process, or just don’t know better.
But, a well-crafted bar of soap doesn’t need either of those. Soap shouldn’t be neon color (or smell like grapes) if it’s truly natural. And yet, there’s a huge market for these chemical-based additives in the soaping world.