Why Use Handmade Soap?
All soap gets you clean, right? Go to your local grocery store and you will see many soaps, cleansers, beauty bars, and other bath & body products on the shelves. Often these products are very inexpensive. So, why use handmade soap?
Glycerin is a natural byproduct of the soap making process and draws moisture to your skin. Commercial manufacturers often remove this glycerin from their soap during production so they can use the glycerin in their lotions and creams. Handmade soap retains the skin-loving glycerin.
Many commercial soaps are made with animal fat and/or chemicals that make the soap inexpensive to make and to allow the soap to keep on the shelves for many, many years. Many “soaps” that you see on the shelves are not soap at all, but are synthetic detergents that have had the skin-loving glycerin removed during the manufacturing process. These products may contain synthesized chemicals, fillers and petrochemicals. Read the label on your commercial soap. Are you familiar with the ingredients? Do your research – try looking up the ingredients on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to find out more. Do you want to use these ingredients on your skin? In the environment?
Handmade cold process soap is natural. It starts with three simple ingredients: water, lye, and varying mixtures of oils. The water is added to the lye to dissolve it and allow even distribution of the lye. The lye solution is then mixed with the oils. The lye reacts with the oils during mixing. This reaction is called “saponification”, which means “to make soap”. At this point, colorants, herbs, essential oils or fragrances can be added. The soap is poured into molds and allowed to harden. Hardened soap is cut and cured for approximately six weeks, depending upon the recipe used. The lye is no longer present in the cured soap.
Now that you understand how handmade soap is made, you can research the ingredients in any handmade soap that you are considering buying. You will likely see ingredients like “olive oil”, “shea butter”, “coconut oil”, and “palm oil” or you will see their “saponified” names such as sodium olivate (saponified olive oil), sodium shea butterate (saponified shea butter), sodium cocoate (saponified coconut oil) and sodium palmate (saponified palm oil).
At this point, you can decide for yourself why you could benefit from using homemade soap.