HAND MADE COLD PROCESSED SOAPS VS COMMERCIAL SOAPS: THE FACTS AND MYTHS.
With brand-name soap companies spending tens of millions each year on misleading advertising claiming miraculously “creamy” soap or “pure milk” even “skin lightening”, it’s important to understand what the truth is. Creamy is nothing more than silicone which are at best toxic. Pure milk is as pure as the chemical that it really is…PURE CHEMICALS. Then there are even more fanciful claims leading young mothers to rush out and buy “TEAR FREE” soaps from Giant multinationals. TEAR FREE depends on who is tear free. Certainly not the mother who has matured and in 10 or 20 years finds out that TEAR FREE was actually anaesthetics to kill all sensation of burning.
Typical store bought or “commercial” soaps that may be labelled as “natural” are actually detergents that include chemical hardeners, foaming agents and artificial fragrances.
The word “natural” does not come with a set of quality standards or restrictive elements to it. As consumers, we are responsible for understanding what we put in and on our bodies and the best way to do this is by reading the labels and asking questions.
And it’s not only big-brand store-bought soaps that can be misleading. Artificial fragrances are being put in a large amount of handmade soaps as well so make no mistake, you must ask questions. A great way to know you are getting the real deal is to ask what method the soap maker uses to make their soap, what ingredients they use and what they use to scent their soaps.
Let’s find out, shall we....the truth.
FACT 1 Handmade Soap Contains Glycerin.
Glycerin is a natural skin emollient (skin softener) that attracts water from the surrounding air. Because of this, glycerin is highly prized in soaps, lotions and creams for maintaining moisture in the skin throughout the day.
During the soap making process, the fats/oils and lye blend together to form soap while the natural glycerin maintains its integrity as glycerin and basically settles in between the soap molecules. Too much glycerin and the soap will become mushy and disintegrate quickly. Too little glycerin and the soap becomes very harsh and drying to the skin.
In the AMSARVEDA process the glycerine produced by the saponification process is retained in the soap and forms a part of the moisturizing activity.
Typical store-bought soaps have had all of the glycerin removed and placed into additional products such as lotions and creams. These companies even sell “glyercine” as a by-product.
FACT 2: True Handmade Soap does not use “Fragrance”
The FDA does not require the ingredients used to develop a company’s trademark “fragrance” to be disclosed on the label. This means that your “fresh rain” or “cherry blossom” scented soap could contain hundreds of harmful chemicals without your knowledge. Some of these chemical concoctions have been found to be skin irritants and known carcinogens.
Traditionally made handmade soaps are scented with pure essential oils. Never fragrance oils as that would immediately defeat the purpose of being completely natural. When you use soaps scented with only essential oils, you not only benefit from the lack of harmful chemicals, but you actually benefit from the therapeutic properties each essential oil offers. Not to mention the smell is amazing!
FACT 3: Soap made the Old-Fashioned Way
Our ancestors knew what they were doing, and did it for thousands of years - why change it! Traditional handmade soaps are made one of two ways: hot process and cold process.
Cold Process soap is made by mixing sodium hydroxide (lye) with water, then blending it with oils, then adding essential oils and natural colorants, and finally, pouring it into molds to make it nice and pretty. The soaps then sit inside the mold for 24 hours to saponify (become soap), are removed from the mold to dry for 24 hours, then cut into bars of soap and must then air dry or “cure” for 4-6 weeks.
Hot process is essentially the same, but instead of placing the soap in a mold to cure, the liquid is placed in a heat source (oven or crockpot) and heated until cured.
The method is simply personal preference, though some say that cold process is the true, original form of soap making.
These methods of hand-making soap is of course, the opposite of store bought soap which is made on a large scale in factories. Store bought soap is made using a continuous flow method where commercial mixers , and ready to use “soap flakes” which are actually the same detergent used in house cleaning products. The “soap” is then blended with filler ingredients and chemicals such as Sodium Isethionate (a foam enhancer) and Dipropylene Glycol (chemical solvent)
Soap making is just like cooking, caring for a child or tending to the elderly - it all needs love, attention and time. We believe the hands on approach and the art of using herbs to enhance the activity of handmade soap. This attention and care provides process the attention it needs and know you can feel that energy once you use it.
FACT 4: Handmade Soap is Simply Amazing for your Skin!
Handmade soap preserves the integrity of the oils/fats/butters. Coconut oil goes in, saponified (made into soap) coconut oil comes out. Shea butter goes in, shea butter comes out. Because of this, the oils/fats/butters maintain their vitamins, minerals and skin-loving qualities in the final soap product.
For those readers that are interested in an even more detailed discussion and an in-depth look at what really goes into “commercial” /baby soaps, we are happy to provide the information provided you are able to keep calm and not burn down the factories of those suited monsters that sell you these toxic bars.