Soap, we all use it every day, be it a hard soap bar, face wash or shower gel. But do we ever stop to think about what we are feeding our body’s largest organ every day. After my handmade face soap became unavailable to me I decided to make my own soap and was quite surprised by the eye opening information regarding the commercial soap industry. I could basically write 3 pages on the stuff I read but I’ll keep it simple and list a few points that concerned me: -
Many commercial AND handmade soaps are made with animal fat, normally beef tallow or lard (pig fat), and/or include palm oil, which has many moral issues surrounding its production. Palm oil is used as a cheap filler, it makes a hard, long lasting soap bar and apart from that has absolutely no benefits for your skin, much rather a morally clean soft bar of soap.
The vast majority of these commercial soap bars don't say 'soap' on their labels. They might be called beauty bars, moisturising 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. 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.
Commercial soap manufacturers make it a practice to remove the glycerine that is produced during the saponification (soap-making) process. The glycerine is a highly profitable substance, often sold to other companies who use it to make lotions and moisturisers, which your skin, now dried out from the harsh detergent 'soap,' desperately needs.
Most commercially produced bars also contain synthetic lathering agents, artificial colors, and a slew of chemicals we can't even pronounce. 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. A recent report by the UK's Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) revealed that synthetic chemicals from soap, body washes, shampoos and other healthcare products were sneaking through the filters at water purification plants.
So after months of eye opening research I decided that I had to start making my own safe and natural products. I chose to use the cold process method of soapmaking. This method takes the most time, but is undoubtedly the best method for producing the highest quality soaps. Cold process soap bars are made using a combination of oils or fats and lye (sodium hydroxide). 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 (a humectant that attracts moisture to you skin), the good stuff that the commercial soap makers remove and sell on.
I also decided early on that I would use only Olive, Virgin coconut and Castor oils for my soap base. Many of my soaps also have bentonite clay added. Bentonite clay is a natural detoxifier; it binds with and removes toxins from your body, and is extremely eco-friendly. My soaps are coloured using natural ingredients and scented using only top quality essential oils.
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 our planet a big favor and start using REAL soap. The only power we have against large, corrupt, uncaring, money making multinationals is not buying their products.
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