I have recently discovered life-changing secret facts about soap that big soap makers do not want you to know.
Let me share my story with you.
My initial intrigue was rooted in the sheer artistry of soap making. The swirls of colors, the intricate patterns, and the tantalizing scents had me captivated. It felt like painting.
However, as I delved deeper, I was startled by a revelation: the soaps we use daily, those vibrant bars that promise nourishment and rejuvenation, often contain ingredients that are far from healthy.
Researching commercial soaps opened my eyes to a slew of chemicals and additives that aren’t only harsh for the skin but also harmful to the environment. It was a wake-up call, realizing that many of these products have ingredients I wouldn’t want on my skin, let alone in my body.
It was then that I made a conscious decision – if I truly wanted a soap that was both an art form and good for my skin, making it myself was the only way to go.
Now, not only do I have control over what goes into my soaps, but I also get to craft them into beautiful, artistic pieces, knowing they are as good for my skin as they are for the environment.
Learning about these harmful chemicals in a product I use everyday and the fact that I can easily make my own soap, literally changed my life.
Below, I’ll share with you everything I’ve discovered about soap, When you are done reading, I am confident you will take on the awesome habit of soap crafting.
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Harmful Ingredients in Commercial Soaps
In my research, I learned that traditional soaps, especially those available in commercial markets, often contain ingredients that might be harmful to both your health and the environment.
Here is a list of some of the ingredients I came across in my research and the effects they may have on your body:
- Parabens: Used as preservatives in many beauty and personal care products, they can disrupt hormone function.
- Sulfates: Often used to create lather, sulfates can strip the skin of its natural oils, causing dryness and irritation.
- Triclosan: An antimicrobial agent found in some antibacterial soaps, which can disrupt thyroid function and may contribute to antibiotic resistance.
- Phthalates: Used to increase flexibility in some products, they can disrupt hormone function.
- Synthetic Fragrances: These can lead to allergic reactions, dermatitis, and respiratory distress.
After learning about these, I was convinced I must learn more about alternatives.
What the FDA Says About “Soaps” Today
“Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products,” states a Food & Drug Administration handout that provides the legal definition of soap. “Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don’t form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as ‘soap’ but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word.”
Environmental Impact of Soap
Soap’s environmental impact is a crucial aspect to consider in our daily use of this essential hygiene product. When you wash your hands or take a shower, the soap and water go down the drain and eventually end up in our waterways. Many traditional soaps contain harmful chemicals that can pollute the environment and harm aquatic life. These chemicals can disrupt the balance of ecosystems and have long-lasting effects on the environment.
The environmental impact of soap encompasses various facets, from its manufacturing process to its disposal:
- Ingredients: Traditional soaps may contain chemicals or additives that could harm the environment when washed down the drain. These can disrupt aquatic ecosystems by affecting the pH levels of water and harming aquatic life.
- Packaging: Soaps often come in plastic packaging which can contribute to landfill waste and ocean pollution. Choosing soaps with minimal or biodegradable packaging can reduce this impact.
- Water Pollution: Chemicals in detergents and synthetic soaps can be hard to treat in wastewater facilities, leading to potential contamination of rivers and oceans. This can impact aquatic life and can be harmful to human health when they enter our water supplies.
- Carbon Footprint: The production of soaps, especially in large factories, can result in significant greenhouse gas emissions. This includes the energy used in production, transportation of ingredients, and shipping of the final product.
- Deforestation: Ingredients like palm oil, often used in soap production, have been linked to deforestation, endangering wildlife habitats and increasing carbon dioxide levels.
- Overuse: The rise in the popularity of antibacterial soaps has led to overuse, contributing to antibiotic resistance and potentially weakening our ability to fight certain bacteria.
History of Soap
The history of soap is as rich and bubbly as the product itself. Originating over 4,000 years ago, early records from ancient Babylon reveal that soap was produced from fats boiled with ashes. Ancient Egyptians further refined this process, using animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to create a substance for cleaning their body. The Roman Empire, recognizing soap’s importance in maintaining health and hygiene, also played a significant role in its popularization.
As the centuries progressed, so did the techniques and ingredients used in soapmaking. By the Middle Ages, European soap guilds had emerged, and soap’s status transitioned from a luxury item to an everyday essential. Today, soap remains a cornerstone of personal hygiene, with countless varieties available, from artisanal handcrafted bars to technologically advanced liquid formulations.
Interesting Facts About Soap
- Soap works by using a chemical reaction called saponification, which involves the combination of an alkali (such as sodium hydroxide) with fats or oils. This reaction produces soap molecules that act as surfactants, allowing them to dissolve in water and effectively remove dirt and oils from surfaces.
- Liquid soap was first introduced in the early 20th century and has since become a popular alternative to bar soap.
- Soap’s emulsifying properties allow it to mix oil and water, which would otherwise not combine. This mechanism ensures that dirt and oils, which are often not water-soluble, can be lifted off surfaces and washed away with water.
- Soap and detergent are both cleaning agents, but they have different properties. Soap is made from natural ingredients and is generally milder and more gentle on the skin. Detergent, on the other hand, is a synthetic product that is often more effective at removing tough stains and grease.
- The importance of handwashing with soap was championed by Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis in the 1840s. He drastically reduced instances of childbed fever at Vienna General Hospital by insisting that doctors wash their hands.
- Lye, a key ingredient in traditional soap making, is caustic on its own. However, when combined with fats in the soap-making process, it undergoes a transformation, making the final product gentle and safe for skin
Fun Facts About Soap
- The soap is believed to be discovered accidentally when ashes from a fire mixed with animal fats, creating a substance that could clean more effectively.
- The term “soap opera” originated because these radio dramas were initially sponsored by soap manufacturers. They targeted the homemakers who would be using their products, leading to the name.
- During World War I, soldiers used soap to mend small holes in their equipment. They would wet the soap and rub it over the damaged area, which would temporarily seal the hole.
- Queen Cleopatra of ancient Egypt was known for her radiant beauty. One of her secrets was regular milk baths, and she also used a special soap made from olive oil and essential oils.
- The first known soap recipe was found on a Babylonian clay tablet dating back to 2800 B.C. This ancient formula combined water, alkali, and cassia oil.
- In the past, some cultures believed that soap had healing properties. It was sometimes used in rituals and treatments to cure diseases or ward off evil spirits.
Surprising Facts About Soap
- soap is sometimes used in the production of other products, such as candles and cosmetics.
- During the soap-making process, natural glycerin is produced. However, many commercial soap manufacturers remove the glycerin and sell it separately, which is why handmade soaps tend to be more moisturizing.
- In 18th-century England, there was a heavy tax on soap. It was only removed in the 1850s, which then allowed soap to be more accessible to the masses.
- In some ancient cultures, soap was so highly valued that it was used as a form of currency.
- In the 18th century, a mistaken soap recipe led to the creation of glycerin, a byproduct of soapmaking. Glycerin is now used in a variety of products, from cosmetics to food.
Soaps come in various types, each designed for specific uses and benefits. Here are some common types of soap:
- Bar Soap: The traditional solid form that most people are familiar with. It can be used for both the body and face.
- Liquid Soap: Often comes in a pump or squeeze bottle. It’s convenient for handwashing and sometimes for showering.
- Glycerin Soap: Transparent soap that often contains glycerin, which is moisturizing for the skin.
- Castile Soap: Originally made from olive oil in the Castile region of Spain, but now can be made with other vegetable oils as well.
- Handmade/Artisanal Soap: Often crafted in small batches using natural ingredients and can include a variety of scents and textures.
- Antibacterial Soap: Contains ingredients intended to kill bacteria. However, its everyday use is sometimes debated due to potential antibiotic resistance concerns.
- Medicated Soap: Infused with ingredients to treat specific skin conditions like acne or eczema.
- Mild or Baby Soap: Made with gentle ingredients suitable for sensitive or baby’s skin.
- Exfoliating Soap: Contains granules or beads to help exfoliate and remove dead skin cells.
- Shaving Soap: Designed to be used with a shaving brush to produce a rich lather, facilitating a smoother shave.
Soap-Making Production Process
The art of soap-making has been practiced for centuries, transforming basic ingredients into cleansing bars that grace our homes. The production process, known as saponification, begins with the combination of fats or oils with a strong alkali, typically lye. As these components interact, they produce soap and glycerin, undergoing a chemical change that ensures no trace of the original lye remains in the finished product. Modern soap-makers often enrich their creations with additives like essential oils, herbs, and natural colorants, giving each batch its unique scent and appearance. Whether made in large industrial settings or crafted in small artisanal batches, the fundamental process of soap-making remains rooted in this age-old chemical reaction, resulting in the soaps we use daily.
Cold Process Soap Making
Cold Process Soap Making, often referred to as CP soap making, is a timeless method that harnesses the power of a natural chemical reaction to create luscious bars of soap. This technique involves combining oils or fats with an alkali, typically lye, to trigger the saponification process. As the ingredients meld, they produce soap and glycerin, ensuring no remnants of the initial lye remain in the final product.
Throughout the process, soap makers have the freedom to customize their batches with a myriad of scents, colors, and textures using essential oils, botanicals, and other natural additives. The beauty of cold-process soap-making lies in its simplicity, the natural ingredients, and the artisanal touch, making each bar a unique work of art.
Hot Process Soap Making
Hot Process Soap Making is an artful technique that differs from its cold process counterpart primarily in the curing phase. In this method, once the saponification begins, the mixture is cooked, typically in a slow cooker or stovetop, to expedite the process. This additional heat ensures that the soap undergoes full saponification, transforming all oils and lye into soap, making the final product ready to use immediately after cooling. While the bars might still benefit from a few weeks of curing for a harder and longer-lasting product, they are essentially safe and mild to use right after unmolding.
Benefits of Handmade Soap
Handmade soaps are a luxurious treat for the skin and senses, boasting a plethora of benefits over commercial counterparts. Crafted with natural ingredients, these artisanal soaps often lack the harsh chemicals and detergents commonly found in mass-produced options, making them gentler and more nourishing for the skin.
The meticulous selection of oils, butter, and botanicals in handmade soaps ensures they retain the natural glycerin, which hydrates and soothes the skin. Moreover, the myriad of scent combinations, using essential oils and natural fragrances, offers an aromatic experience that can be both invigorating and therapeutic.
Soap Made with Natural Ingredients
Delving into the world of soap-making can be a rewarding endeavor, especially when utilizing natural ingredients. Crafting soap with organic and wholesome components not only ensures a product that’s gentle on the skin, but also aligns with sustainable and eco-friendly values. Common natural ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils can be easily sourced and form the foundation of many soap recipes. Essential oils, such as lavender, tea tree, and eucalyptus, add fragrant notes while also offering therapeutic properties. By creating soap from these natural ingredients, you can tailor the product to your skin’s needs, guaranteeing a unique and personalized skincare experience. Plus, the joy of crafting a product by hand adds a touch of love and care to every sudsy bar.
Soap Making Ingredients
When making soap at home, several key ingredients are typically used:
- Lye (Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide): The primary caustic agent responsible for saponification (the process of turning fats and oils into soap).
- Water: Used to dissolve the lye and facilitate the saponification process.
- Oils and Fats: Common oils include olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, and castor oil. These provide the moisturizing properties and determine the hardness or softness of the soap.
- Fragrance: Essential oils or fragrance oils can be added for scent. Common choices include lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, and citrus oils.
- Additives: These can be herbs, clays, natural colorants, or exfoliants like oatmeal or poppy seeds to add texture, color, or additional benefits to the soap.
- Colorants: Natural colorants, micas, or pigments can be used to give the soap vibrant or subtle hues.
Safety note: When working with lye, always take precautions, like wearing gloves and safety glasses, as it is a caustic substance.
Vegan Soap Facts
With the growing consciousness towards ethical and cruelty-free products, many artisans are creating vegan soaps. These soaps are crafted using plant-based oils, like olive, coconut, and almond, replacing the need for any animal byproducts. In addition to being cruelty-free, vegan soaps are also often packed with natural ingredients that provide a range of skin benefits. Choosing vegan soap not only stands as a testament to one’s ethical choices but also ensures a gentle and nourishing cleanse, making it a win-win for both the user and the environment.
Homemade Soap Facts: Natural Ingredients You Will Love
Creating homemade soap allows you to customize it with unique and beneficial ingredients. One of my favorites is my recipe for turmeric soap, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and skin-brightening properties,
Here are some other ingredients to consider:
- Lavender Essential Oil: With its calming scent, lavender oil also offers antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Coconut Oil: A great base oil that provides moisturizing benefits and a rich lather.
- Olive Oil: Offers a gentle cleanse and leaves skin feeling soft and nourished.
- Activated Charcoal: Known for its detoxifying properties, it draws out impurities from the skin.
- Aloe Vera Gel: Provides a soothing effect and helps with skin hydration.
- Oatmeal: Acts as a gentle exfoliant and is ideal for sensitive skin.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil: With its antiseptic properties, it’s great for acne-prone skin.
- Honey: Offers antimicrobial properties and adds a touch of sweetness to the soap.
- Shea Butter: Adds a creamy texture and provides skin with intense hydration.
- Rose Clay: Detoxifies the skin and gives the soap a beautiful pink hue.
Remember, the key to making great homemade soap is to balance your base oils with your active ingredients and to always use a lye calculator if you’re making cold or hot process soap.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about facts about soap. In the end, the art of soap making is more than just creating a usable product. It’s a journey of exploration, creativity, and self-expression. The hands-on experience connects us with ancient traditions while allowing us to customize soaps tailored to our preferences and needs.
Not only do homemade soaps carry health benefits, free from harsh chemicals and full of natural ingredients, but the process also offers therapeutic value. It becomes a reflection of our commitment to self-care, sustainability, and craft. Whether you’re making soap as a hobby, a gesture of love, or an entrepreneurial endeavor, the benefits are abundant and fulfilling. Dive into the world of soap making and discover the myriad joys it brings!