Whenever I tell someone how soap is actually made, they are usually amazed that they were so clueless. Many people just walk into their local grocery or drug store and pick up their favorite bar of soap without giving it much thought or even reading the label.
Soap is made when you mix fats (vegetable or animal) with water and lye. There are so many yummy fats that you can use; coconut oil, shea butter, palm oil, jojoba, olive oil and avocado oil to name a few. When the water and lye mixture comes in contact with the fats, a saponification process starts as the ingredients are mixed together. A natural occurrence that happens when making soap is that glycerin is produced. Glycerin is extremely moisturizing and nourishing for the skin. Many commercial soaps have the glycerin removed and sell it as a by-product for lotions and creams. This can actually make their soap drying and irritating.
There’s a misconception that soap made with lye will burn you and some people even request soap that is not made with lye. A true soap is always made with lye and when cured the appropriate time, 4-6 weeks, you will discover that it does not burn the skin as the soap has gone through the saponification process and is safe to use.
So the next time you’re purchasing your favorite brand of commercial soap, look at the label to see what the ingredients are. I use about 4; cocoa butter, coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil, along with the essential oils of my choice and micas or clays for coloring. It’s amazing how many chemicals are in commercial soaps and this just adds to the other chemicals you put on your body with makeup, hairspray, deodorant, perfume, lotions, etc.
So pamper yourself with nourishing handmade soap that’s gentler and better for your skin. You’ll know exactly what the ingredients are and that it was made with your health in mind.