Why use Natural Soap?

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Posted by Shanna Lea (formerly Shanna Ohmes)

Today I’d like to share an article by Susan Peterson from Forest Hill Soaps.  Her absolutely gorgeous soaps are handmade, handcrafted and handpainted.

© 2010 Susan Peterson

Have you read the label of your favorite store bought “soap”?  Most are not soap at all, and are usually labeled as beauty, facial, or cleansing bars. These ‘bars’ are actually detergents. Detergents are made from petroleum products and consist mainly of surfactants, foaming agents and alcohols. Since these chemicals often have an offensive odor, these bars are usually heavily scented with inexpensive, artificial fragrances.  And, they contain preservatives to prevent spoilage. All of these chemicals can cause sensitivities or allergic reactions because they can penetrate the surface of the skin. Evidence of a common type of chemical preservative was recently found in breast cancer tumors. While this does not mean that these preservatives cause cancer, their presence in the tumors is disturbing enough.

Unlike detergents, handmade soaps are made with natural ingredients; require very little energy to produce; do not produce by-products that to go to landfills or get in the water supply; and the soap that flows down the drain is bio-degradable.  Handmade soaps generally have a pH that is slightly alkaline, which not only makes it a good cleanser, but also eliminates the need for harmful preservatives. Not all natural soaps are created equal, however, as there are numerous ingredients that can be used to make handmade soap.  Most reputable soapmakers use the finest natural ingredients including oils such as coconut, palm, castor, or olive oils, among others.  The centuries-old ‘cold process method’ of making soap retains the natural glycerin produced in the soapmaking process.  Glycerin is a natural humectants (a substance that attracts moisture from its surroundings).  Often, when soap is commercially manufactured, the glycerin is removed and used in other cosmetic products, such as lotions and creams.  This is why your skin may feel  tight or itchy after using a body wash, or cleansing bar.  Your skin is trying to tell you that it has been dried beyond its ability to repair. Usually the first thing you reach for is your skin moisturizer, (which may be made by the manufacturer of the ‘cleansing bar’)!  It is time to break this cycle, and start caring for your skin in a natural way.

Handmade soaps have a pH of between 9 and 10, which is alkaline on the pH scale (0=most acidic, 14=most alkaline). They are effective cleansers because of their pH. Oils and dirt are removed from the surface of the skin and carried away by water.  A carefully crafted natural handmade soap is able to cleanse effectively, without leaving the skin feeling overly dry (remember the natural glycerin stays in handmade soaps—humectants attract moisture!).  Most people see and feel the difference in their skin immediately~~and vow never to use detergents again!

The skin is not only an amazing organ, it is also our largest organ~~capable of repairing itself when naturally cared for.  We invite you to give our natural handmade soaps a try, and decide for yourself!

Do you want to try making soap yourself, but unsure?  Check out the book and kits below to get you started on your soap making journey!

Recommended Reading and Soap Making Kits:

Basic Soap Making: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started

Lemongrass and Sage Glycerin Soap Making Kit

Goat Milk and Lavender Glycerin Soap Kit






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