What Are Natural Soaps?
Soap seems like a pretty straightforward product with one purpose: to clean things. However, if you’ve ever gone shopping for cleaning supplies you know there are many kinds of soap. There’s soap for washing your hair, and soap for laundry, dish soap, and pet soap. There are soaps that are “organic,” “antibacterial,” “hypoallergenic,” “moisturizing.” How are we to know which is right for us? Can’t we just get the cheapest one and call it a day?
Detergents and Chemicals
Many of the soaps I just mentioned (laundry soap, dish soap, etc.) contain a mixture of chemicals and detergents that pull dirt from surfaces or materials. This works for plates and shirts, but these detergents can strip skin of natural oils. These oils are important for moisture and to keep skin healthy.
In addition to these detergents, some of your favorite soaps might actually be causing more harm than good. Most scented soaps aren’t scented with essential oils, which provide natural aromas and moisture. Instead, these soaps are scented with chemicals, detergents, and preservatives. These scented soaps are often taking our natural oils instead of “moisturizing” as they say they will and can contribute to skin dryness, aging, and skin conditions like acne and eczema.
Natural Herbal Soap
Natural handmade soaps and natural herbal soaps contain ingredients that are much healthier for your skin than most of the brands of soap you find at the grocery store. Most often, natural handmade soaps are made of natural oils (vegetable or coconut oils) and butters (shea butter, cocoa butter) and are scented with essential oils or herbs. Additionally, glycerin, which you will see a lot when you start reading ingredients of soap, is a natural byproduct of the soap-making process (not added like it is in many commercial brands). Glycerin is an emollient that attracts moisture to skin, helping to maintain its natural balance of water.
Types of Handcrafted Soap
There are many types of handcrafted soap. These types include: cold process soap, hot process soap, liquid soap, transparent soap, and ready-made soap bases (for you to add you own essential oils for scent). While there may seem like many types of soaps, when you buy a handcrafted soap you can usually be sure that you’re getting a product made of natural ingredients, scented with essential oils, and one that contains naturally produced glycerine.
Now that you know the difference between types of soap, you can get clean in a more educated way.