Your skin is the largest organ on your body, and you only get one of it, so you better protect it! This means moisturizing daily, using SPF, and natural products. Your skin absorbs up to 85% of everything that you put on it, definitely don't want chemicals flowing through your bloodstream! When you're washing your body, what do you use? Do you reach for a shower gel that smells delicious, a bar soap from the drugstore? Or maybe you go the natural route. Regardless of what you use, it's important always to check the ingredients to see what you are using.
After doing a lot of research, we decided only to make and use natural bar soap and sheeeesh, have we seen a difference! Let's start off by talking about what makes them different. Soap is made from a combination of fats or oils, water, and an alkali, usually lye. Body wash often is detergents, which are kinda like soap but contain extra chemicals called surfactants for added cleaning "benefits." Since shower gels are in a liquid form, they also require more chemicals to preserve it for longer shelf life. Not only are you putting these chemicals on your skin, but you're also flushing them down the drain into our waterways! Natural bar soap typically contains minimal ingredients that won't harm our planet.
Now that we're on the bar soap wave, it's essential to understand your ordinary store-bought bar soap vs. handmade natural bar soap. When you see a bar of soap on the shelf, you typically think its soap, since it well, looks like soap. If the label doesn't say "soap," it's not soap. (It might say beauty bar, detergent bar, etc.)
Why is this important? Glycerin is a natural byproduct produced during saponification, which is the soap making process. It is a humectant found in handmade soap that attracts and pulls moisture from the air, to keep skin moisturized and hydrated. Commercial made "soaps" remove the glycerin and sell it on its own in more profitable products like butters and lotions. When glycerin is extracted from "soap," we now have a bar that strips your skin, and therefore, you need to apply moisturizer afterward, to re-hydrate your skin.
If you've ever used a drugstore brand "soap," you might have noticed your skin felt a little drier than expected. Besides the lack of glycerin, these types of "beauty bars" contain ingredients like sodium lauroyl isethionate, sodium tallowate, Cocamidopropyl betaine, and tetrasodium EDTA...just, to name a few. These words sound harsh because they are. They can strip your skin of natural moisture and oils, leaving your skin over-dry and cracked...super bad in the long run! Of course, those just sound like chemicals, so here's a quick breakdown of what I just mentioned.
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate: A detergent and emulsifier. It dries out skin and has no beneficial properties for the skin.
Sodium Tallowate: Bind to oil and dirt and wash them away. This ingredient is pretty outdated. With advancements in skincare, we now understand that pulling out all of the oils from the skin does far more harm than good.
Sodium Stearate: Traditional soap ingredient that strips the skin of all of its oils.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine: A synthetic surfactant which strips oils from your skin and in high concentrations is a skin irritant.
Tetrasodium EDTA: Chelating agent/preservative that can irritate skin conditions, particularly eczema. Depending on who you ask, they are either safe or carcinogenic.
Start reading the ingredient labels on the products you use, if you don’t already...you may be shocked to see what’s in your favorite product. The next time someone has a recommendation, ask them if they know what the ingredients in it do! I challenge you to try natural bar soap for 2 weeks and feel the difference, you and your skin will thank me!