Myths and Truths About Bar Soap

Myths and Truths About Bar Soap

The 1980s and 90s saw a huge surge in people switching from bar soaps to liquid body washes, due to the misconception that bar soaps were unhygenic.  When in reality, liquid soaps (typically contaning at least 80% water) were the real breeding grounds of bateria, microbial and fungal growth. 

Generic Body Wash Bottles

But now, the bar is back baby!  Due to more consumer awareness of sustainable packaging and the existence of micro plastics in our food supply system, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their carbon foot print and cut down on waste. This has caused shoppers to look for their favorite products with little to no packaging, hence the huge surge in bar soap sales. 

Also, as people began to look more carefully at the packing of products, they became much more aware of what some of these products actually contain.  The trend towards natural skincare began to take hold. Bloggers, beauty mavens, influencers and celebrities were all talking about natural skincare.

But there are still many misconceptions about bar soap.  We want to talk about those and tell you why bars are always better!

Handmade Soap with Jasmine

Myth:  Liquid soaps are safer and more gentle for your skin.

Actually, due to many liquid soaps being formulated with synthetic detergents and harsh chemical fragrances, most liquid soaps tend to leave your skin drier and more irritated overtime.  And the surfactants in these products (the foam makers) are typically cramed with sulfates which have been linked to acne, exzema and many other skin conditions.  

BUT many of these same companies that create liquid soaps also have a huge line of lotions and moisturizers to choose from, you know, for your now overly dry skin.  See the correlation?

Handmade Teak Wood Soap with Activated Charcoal, Handmade Concrete Soap Dish

Truth:  Bar soaps *can* be much better for your skin. 

This truth has a a few acceptions, we are going to tell you those now.

1.The bar soap needs to have it's glycerin left intact. 

One the greatest things about handmade soap is it retains its glycerin.  Glycerin is a humectant and actually helps your skin maintain moisture levels (almost the exact opposite of a sulfate surfactant).  Over time, that natural glycerin will help to better balance your skin's moisture levels and natural oils, keeping it softer and giving it a more smooth and even appearance.  Many commercial bar soap companies remove this highly sought after component to use in higher end facial creams or other moisturizers.  Again, drying soap bar from large commercial company, that offers a huge line of glycerin rich mosturizers.  There is definitely a trend here.

2. It needs to have natural ingredients. 

Seems like a no brainer but even some "natural soaps" have some not-so great for your skin, unnatural ingredients.  To keep up with the natural beauty trend (and maintain profits) many large commercial companies have added a "natural" line of soaps to their product lines.  Some of these soaps still feature chemical surfactants and preservatives.  It's important to read the ingredients, and if you are ever curious about Tetrasodium EDTA or Cetyl Alcohol, pop over to The Chemists Corner.  They have a wealth of infomation on basic formulations.  Or if you are wanting to know more about what an ingredient does, check out this site, Formula Botanica.

So what is natural?  Simple, ingredients sourced from the earth ethically and in a sustainable fashion.  From RSPO Certified Palm Oil, to locally sourced, grass fed tallow and lard, to non-gmo crops and organic oils, these are all excellent examples of ingredients that are high in natural fats and vitamins, and will be a great product to add to your skincare routine.

Basically, if you can't read what it is, it's probably not that great on (or in) your body.

Handmade Soap and Cactus

Myth: Bar soap doesn't make your skin clean.

Actually, it's quite the opposite. Soap, in a very basic sense, is in itself anti-microbial because, when worked into a good lather with water, it captures the dirt, grim and oils that harbor the wee beasties and washes them straight down the drain.  It is does not, however, kill viruses and bacteria, but the idea is that they will be trapped with the grim and dirt, washing it all away.  

It has also been referenced in the scientific community, that anti-bacterial soaps can actually be harmful to your health.  Not only does it wash away good bacteria that can help strengthen immunities, it contains high levels of triclosan, a chemical that has been strongly linked to various thyroid disorders.

The misconconception that bar soap doesn't "get you clean" is rooted in a couple of things.  First, if you have never used natural bar soap, your skin may feel a bit different afterwards.  The chemical surfactants in commercial soaps (remember the foam makers) can leave a residue on your skin because the fact is they don't really "clean".  They put on a big show of foam but they aren't getting all of the old dirt, oil and skin cells off, lots of show but no actual go.  Natural soaps, while some may not foam AS well (this depends on several different factors to a soap recipe), are actually trapping the gross, old stuff with the mentioned trap and rinse method, and then sealing the moisture BACK into your skin with...... you guessed it! That wonderful humectant, Glycerin.

Truth: Natural handmade soap is better for the environment.

From reducing plastic waste from bottles to the lack of harmful chemicals used, natural soap is a great option for anyone aware of the environment.

"But natural soap uses lye, isn't that toxic?"

Actually, food grade lye is used in bagel making, pretzel making, canned mandarin oranges, hominy and even olives.  We only use natural food grade lye in all of our All Natural Farm Soaps, ensuring only the best quality of skincare.  

And during a chemical process called saponification (say it out load, it's a super fun word), the lye chemically changes the fats, oils and butters into a new chemical compound, SOAP!  

Hope this answers just a few of your questions and helps you learn about why All Natural Handmade Soap is just the best!

 

 

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