Natural soap is made from a chemical reaction between water, lye (also known as sodium hydroxide), and fats and oils. These fats and oil are turned into soap and glycerin by a chemical process called Saponification. This process, when completed properly, leaves you with pure soap, glycerin, and some residue from the natural ingredients in the individual recipe. Handmade soap is almost always made in small batches. You won’t find huge “handmade soap” factories out there.
Detergents are manufactured by combining chemicals (including petroleum) in a slurry mixer. The mixture heats up on its own as a result of two chemical reactions. Once the mixture heats to a certain temperature it is dried using a vacuum chamber and an atomiser. The resulting powder is then mixed with various other ingredients to form the final product. Did you follow along with that? Kind of scary when I break it down like that.
Natural Soaps or handmade soaps, are natural. The ingredients lists nothing you would shake your head at or open the dictionary to look up. Not all handmade soaps are made from organic oils, but either way, they are still 100% natural. For example, saponified oils of, coconut, sustainable palm, olive oil, distilled water, cocoa butter, or shea butter, plant extracts and or botanicals, essential oils, such as lavender, geranium, rosemary etc., all of which are naturally derived. The best part besides using natural soaps is making them. You can control what goes into your soap. If you want more lather, more moisturizing, harder bar, super gentle for a baby. You will never find a natural commerically made bar of soap. Naturally made soaps are made in small batches and it would not be economical for large companies to produce them. The ingredients list of commercial detergents (soap) looks much like this: Sodium tallowate, sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium cocoate, sodium laurel sulfate, water, sodium isethionate, stearic acid, coconut fatty acid, fragrance, titanium dioxide, sodium chloride, disodium phosphate, tetrasodium EDTA, trisodium etidronate, BHT, FD&C blue no. 1, D&C red no. 33. What the heck! Nothing in there sounds natural. Do you really want to rub those ingredients over the largest organ of your body? Skin IS permeable. Nothing like having that toxic mix on my skin and then, soaking into my bloodsteam. Me, personally, I’ll pass. One of the main reasons I make soap is because I want something better for myself, my family and the environment. Natural, handmade soaps are also biodegradeable.
Glycerin is a common misconception that commercial cleansing bars contain glycerin. Not true. The commercial detergent manufacturers usually extract glycerin to use it for lotions and other such skin care products. Glycerin is expensive and commercial detergent manufactures would rather include it in the more expensive products. A high quality handmade soap will always have glycerin in it. This is a compound that soothes and moisturizes the skin. Since glycerin can draw moisture out from the air and into the skin, it helps the skin to remain soft and moist for a long period of time, which generally doesn’t occur when using detergent based, mass-produced cleansers.
Fragrance Oils or Essential Oils -What’s The Difference?Fragrance oils are synthetic. They are man-made fragrances that sometimes mimic plant or (essential oils) in smell but that is where the line is drawn as for their similarities. Because they are synthetic, they do not have any healing or healthful benefits other than they may smell really good. Essential oils are deprived from plants, for example, lavender comes from an actual lavender plant (flowers) and is primarily extracted by steam distillation. Lavender is so beneficial for so many things, sleep, headaches, reducing wrinkles, acne, dandruff, and a host of others. When you use pure essential oil in soaps, cream and other body care products, you will benefit from the soothing and healing properites of the plants used. As a professional soaper and body care creator, I can tell you that the synthetic fragrance oils never smell quite as good as the “real thing”, the essential oil. So next time you are at the grocery store ready to buy soap for your family remember what lurks within that bar. Do you really want to put it all over your body, or your childen’s body? Handmade soaps, due to all the natural ingredients that go into them may be a little more expensive, but your skin, your health and the environment are so worth it.