Soap gets a pretty bad rap, doesn't it? We have been told, by health professionals to avoid soap and soap-based products because they irritate and cause our skin to dry out, become itchy and inflamed. But my experience tells me that not all soap is created equal.
Soap mass production began in the early 1900s, using the basic ingredients of sodium or potassium hydroxide and mixing it with fats, oils and butters to make soap. These ingredients are then mixed and allowed to reach 'trace'. Then poured into moulds and dried out over a 6 week period. They were used for scrubbing dishes, washing clothes and cleaning the body.
Unfortunately, over time these basic ingredients became more expensive and ingredients with similar properties but perhaps questionable toxicity were used instead. So creamy shea butter and body-loving olive oil were dropped out and other artificial ingredients added in. What we thought was a simple bar of soap became a chemical mixture of parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phosphate and petroleum-derived colours, preservatives and fragrances. Well YUCK!
So soaps start to get a bad rap.... step in shower gels. Packaged in plastic containers with plastic microbeads and a ridiculously high price tag, they now line our supermarket and pharmacy shelves with directions from health professionals and advertisers that these products are the best thing ever for your skin! They are set up with shiny lights and tell us how amazing and rejuvenated we will feel after using them.
Several years ago we stumbled onto natural soaps - we had already gone down a path of changing the food that we ate. Removing packaged food and making more foods from scratch, but we will still putting questionable ingredients onto our skin. So I bought a few bars of natural handmade cold press soaps (they smelt amazing!). We haven't looked back since!
Here are my top reasons we are sticking with natural soaps.
1. No plastic packaging - soap doesn't need to be wrapped. In fact, wrapping soap can actually cause it to sweat. In the past we would use up at least 1 - 2 plastic pump top bottles of shower/bath gels a month. These little bottles have to go somewhere. Yes many of these are recycled but they can only be downcycled, to a lower quality plastic. Plus plastic is made from a byproduct of the petroleum industry. It is just unnecessary.
2. Natural handmade soaps, made the old fashion way contain a mixture of oils and butters. These ingredients can be adjusted and tailored to give you an outcome you are after. If you have dry skin you would choose a soap with a high content of shea butter and perhaps avocado oil. An oily skin would require perhaps castor oil or apricot kernel oil.
3. Essential oils are the BOMB! We choose our natural soaps to contain only pure essential oils - why? because they come from our earth and they smell amazing! There is something about artificial fragrances (think air fresheners) that makes my head hurt and my skin start itching.
4. Natural soaps WILL NOT dry out your skin. Ok so we are a family of eczema suffers usually caused by soaps and body washes, our itching always gets worse around springtime. Since we swapped over to natural soaps we have no itching, no dry skin and best of all no eczema. The soap certainly feel a lot different on your skin, when compared with body washes as it rinses off. But after you hop out of the shower your skin feels clean and moisturised.
5. Lastly, did you know that the ingredients are always listed on a package from highest amount to lowest amount? If your first ingredient is water, aqua or H2O you are paying a large amount of money for a product with a LOT of water in it. You know... the stuff that comes out of your tap. Now please don't get me started on the transport systems that utilise ridiculous amounts of energy transporting WATER.
So do yourself a favour.... at Made. Simply. If the creamy bubbly texture doesn't catch you. Then perhaps the beautiful scents or your skin feeling loved and hydrated will.