Save Your Skin with Organic Bar Soap
The humble bar of soap is undergoing something of a renaissance.
If you're thinking that bar soap is something that your grandmother would use you'd probably be right.
Another beauty fad?
The truth is that in a world of plastic overload, more and more people are looking at environmentally-friendly alternatives, with skin loving ingredients and organic bar soap is here to stay.
What Is Organic Bar Soap?
Have you ever stopped to think about how soap is made?
I make my organic soap by combining plant oils with sodium hydroxide or lye, and a little soap magic, (actually a reaction called saponification).
It uses the simplest of ingredients, but produces a bar soap that is natural and gentle on the skin.
And that's the beauty of it. Super simple with real ingredients.
Often you will see reference to soap made with the 'cold process' method which refers to the soap ingredients and how they are blended together. This is the traditional method of making soap, which has been used since time immemorial.
This is different to commercially made soap or 'melt and pour' soap which involves heating up a soap base, and mixing with colours and scents.
Making soap the traditional way in my opinion gives the best results, it just takes a little longer and costs a little more.
Here are my 10 favourite reasons for incorporating organic bar soap into your skincare routine.
1. Bar Soap is Good For Sensitive Skin
At a time when sensitive skin, skin irritations, eczema, and dermatitis are all on the increase, it makes sense to pare out what you don't need.
Harsh chemical additives often contained in soap and washing products can aggravate any pre-existing skin conditions and cause irritation, itching, and unwanted flare-ups.
It's for that reason that so many of us are on the hunt for more skin-friendly solutions. Gentle, nourishing, and calming ingredients never go out of fashion.
2. Handmade Bar Soap Versus Commercial Soap
Compare the list of ingredients on a commercial bar of soap with a hand made organic bar, and you will notice that the commercial bar will likely have a much longer list of ingredients. Commercial manufacturing is all about cost and consistency. Read more on my guide here.
I approach my products from the other end of the scale. What goes into my beauty products is key, my starting point is the best ingredients I can source and selecting the ingredients I would want to use on my own skin.
Beauty without compromise.
Pure organic oils are expensive, so manufacturers find clever ways of reducing the levels of these more expensive ingredients, padding them out with cheaper fillers.
Another little cost saving trick that you see with commercial manufacturers is where glycerine, a humectant that is produced as a by product of the cold process method of soap making is stripped out and sold on to be used elsewhere.
I like to leave the naturally forming glycerine in my soap; it makes for a beautifully hydrating bar of soap.
It might take a little longer. Cold processed soap needs to be cured - essentially it needs to be rested after it is made for 4-5 weeks where water evaporates from the bar, making for a harder, longer lasting bar of soap.
You can't hurry perfection.
3. Natural Bar Soap Won't Dry Out Your Skin
It's no mystery that some soaps can leave your skin feeling dry, and if you already suffer from sensitive skin, that can be a problem.
But why does soap dry the skin?
When your skin loses too much sebum, which is the natural substance secreted by the glands that help keep the skin moisturised, it loses its ability to retain water. The more sebum you lose, the drier your skin becomes.
Often commercial soap, hand washes, shower gels etc. will contain detergent ingredients that will strip the sebum and therefore moisture moisture from the skin, SLS and SLES (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate) being the main culprits.
I don't use these in any of my products.
4. Bar Soap Can Work as a Face Cleanser
I'm a huge advocate of cleansing with a balm - it's I what I recommend for most of my ladies and you can see why here.
But if you are wedded to a wash off cleanser I understand.
If that's your thing, I have one word for you - gentle.
No scrubbing, no harsh detergents, you want to avoid anything that is going to strip the delicate facial skin.
And this is where the right bar soap can double us as a cleaner.My Apricot & Geranium Bar is specially formulated with organic virgin olive oil, organic coconut, precious almond and apricot kernel oils enriched with shea butter and blended with sweet, juicy oils and French pink clay.
5. Organic Bar Soap is Hygienic
Organic bar soap can be a really effective way to clean your hands without drying them to crisps.
PS if your hands are struggling at the moment, check out my guide here and my these for a serious boost of hydration and luxury.
In these slightly crazy times, it's also effective against bacteria and viruses - see how the humble bar of soap does battle here.
There are a couple of common sense guidelines though.
Don't let your bar of soap sit in a pool of water - that is a breeding ground for bugs.
Instead always store your bar soap on a dish or stand that allows the bar to dry out between uses.
This helps maximise its life, and stops it turning into a pile of mush.
6. Bar Soap Gives Your Shower Gel a Run For Its Money
Most shower gels are chock full of detergent ingredients, often with SLS and SLES.
For most us, our skin becomes more dry as we age - and slathering these harsher detergents over our skin, dry it out further and can irritate, especially if your skin is on the sensitive side to start with.
An organic bar of soap is super convenient, (no plastic in sight) can act as a very gentle cleanser (bonus for sensitive skin) and can benefit from the gently cleansing pure plant oils.
I like to include soothing almond oil, and a dash of organic shea butter to give the bar soap natural moisturising qualities, alongside healing properties.
The right ingredients within your bar soap mean it can be excellent for people with dermatitis, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.
7. Bar Soap is Better For The Environment
Bar soap has a lower environmental impact than liquid soap.
Check out this environmental assessment here.
Reports have found that bar soaps have a lower carbon footprint as well as lower toxicity levels. When you think about the energy required to produce the packaging of liquid soaps alone, it's easy to understand why.
When we use liquid soap to wash our hands, we tend to use more of it compared to bar soap. That means that more liquid soap units are needed and more plastic is produced.
Not to mention how much more convenient bar soap is.
Easy to pack when you're travelling, it contains no plastic or packaging, and it's not subject to restrictions when you take it on a plane in your toiletry bag.
And even when compared with cleansing wipes, bar soap still comes out on top.
Wipes regularly find their way into our oceans and are a major cause of plastic pollution. They create havoc for sea creatures, and are often laden with synthetic chemicals.
8. Bar Soap and Lye
Have you heard that lye or sodium hydroxide is bad for you? That's not quite right.
All real cold processed soap is made with lye - and lye can be dangerous. It is a strong alkali and if used incorrectly and irresponsibly, it can cause serious damage.
But here comes the clever bit.
When making soap, I mix those beautiful plant oils with an alkali, in this case lye, and with the chemical reaction that follows, called saponification, the fatty acids from the plant oils meet the alkali and form a salt.
Yup real soap is actually a salt, clever right?
That's why lye or sodium hydroxide is not listed as an ingredient on soap - when soap is made properly, there is no sodium hydroxide or lye left in the soap.
That's also why people get confused with the ingredients on a soap label. The organic olive oil that I use (Olea Europaea) becomes Sodium Oleate as part of the soap making process - literally saponified olive oil or olive oil salt.
In the same way coconut oil (Cocos Nucifera) becomes Sodium Cocoate, saponified coconut oil, or coconut salt etc.
The other natural by product of the soap making process is naturally forming glycerine, which is a humectant and is what makes hand made bar soap so moisturising.
9. Bar Soap For a Minimal Beauty Routine
One of the things I hear most often from my customers is that they don't have hours and hours to spend on a morning routine. More often than not, it is 5 minutes grabbed between chores and all those interminable morning jobs.
Using bar soap makes your daily routine both simple and fast. Plus, it won't strip your skin as many foaming type products do!
And if you're not sure where to start or what to products to use, have a read of my blog post: A Simple, Organic Skincare Routine.
10. Organic Bar Soap is Natural and Simple
Hand made, artisan soap is natural beauty at its simplest - beautiful botanical oils, moisturising glycerine, and essential oils.
Of course the oils matter. Soap can be made with tallow using this same process which is made from rendered down beef or lamb which you might want to avoid.
Palm oil is another oil to think twice about - it's a cause of forest deforestation and is the reason why I do not use palm in in my beauty products, including my soap.
I'm all about simplicity, and organic bar soap is one of the easiest ways to clean up our beauty routines.