Wednesday, June 9

Is There Really a Difference Between Handmade Soap and Commercial Soap?

There was a time when I wondered if there was much of a difference between handmade soap and commercially made soap. I knew the handmade stuff made my skin feel better but I wasn't sure why.

Now fast forward a few years to present day! I now know the answer to this question first hand because I make soap for a living! I didn't start out making it as a business. No no no no.. things started out much simpler than that. I started out making handmade soap that both my fiance and I could use without any irritations - rashes for him, dry itchy and cracked skin for me (my feet were the worse! ouch!). I quickly realized that there is a HUGE difference between the soap I was making, and the stuff we had used for so long from the department store! ... In fact, after learning about what we had been slathering on our skin for so long, I was amazed that we didn't have more problems!.. the skin sure can put up with a lot - the good news is it doesn't have to :)

Commercial soaps aren't actually "soap" - they are detergents. Detergents are made with stinky petroleum products and chemicals that are then heavily scented with perfumes (rather than fragrance oils or essential oils) to cover up the stink ... right away, this doesn't sound like what "soap" should be does it? If that wasn't bad enough many commercial "soaps" include animal fat (unused by-products that are obtained cheaply from the meat industry). If you're a vegan or vegetarian like I am, you've already decide that this is a bad thing, but for the meat eaters out there (like my fiance), you may be wondering why you need to worry about animal fats in "soap". The problem with this is that there are substances in this fat (beef tallow) that can't be broken down (saponify) and can cause skin irritations and break outs. Moreover, there has been a lot of controversy over the hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals that these animals are subjected to that consequently end up on the dinner table - so shouldn't we also be concerned with these same chemicals ending up in our bath & body products that we rub all over our skin? I think so.

So now that you know a bit about what commercial "soap" (aka detergents) are, let's look at the handmade alternative! True soaps... like the handmade kind, are made with natural products, in my case, natural vegan products - glycerin, olive oil, shea butter, etc. All of the ingredients in true soaps are there for a reason; that means there's no fillers and no perfumes to cover up a stinky sorry excuse for soap lol! On the eco side of things, true soaps are made with very little energy, don't create by-products that fill up landfills and don't poison the earth with the suds that go down the drain. In fact, all those suds are biodegradable! There's no need to worry about true soap causing harm when they are made, while they are being used, and after they are gone down the drain!

One of my mottos that I try to live by is to tread lightly. Each day I work closer and closer to reducing any negative marks my fiance and I may be leaving on this planet. I truly feel blessed and accomplished to be able to make true soap for my friends and family as a way of life. If there's one thing you can do for me after reading this blog post, it's to tell someone else about what you've learned so we can all tread lightly together :)


1 comment:

  1. Great blog and a wonderful post. Never really considered what was in my bath and facial soaps, quite an eye opener ! I have a friend that has a fantastic "Green" blog, I will pass your blog info on to her for her to check out (I know she would be very interested).
    Now I intend to return to my facebook page and click to follow your NetworkedBlog Batty Bath. Maybe you could take a peek at my NetworkedBlog, A Beader's Blog aka My Two Cents for What it's Worth. :)