12 Reasons To use A Handmade Natural Soap
After all these years in business, the most often asked question we hear remains,
“Why is natural soap better?”
I have been using only natural soap on my face and body for over 20 years. It is the first product I learned to make. My skin has become so accustomed to the benefits of these lovely bars, that everything else makes my skin itch. Our soap bars travel with me everywhere I go. I even keep one-time-use scraps in my purse to use in public restrooms!
While I believe that many of the "reasons" listed below may apply to some natural handmade soap companies, I will focus on the one company with which I have intimate knowledge and experience--CHAGRIN VALLEY.
Over the years I have written many blogs about natural soap. I will include links to those blogs for those of you wishing to delve even deeper into certain topics.
1. Handmade Natural Soap is Actually Soap
As you stroll down the aisles of the supermarket or drug store you will see an assortment of body cleansers to choose from that are labeled as body bars, body washes, cleansing bars, skincare bars, deodorant soaps, and even beauty bars. They are nothing more than detergents in disguise.
Most of the soap you purchase today is a commercially manufactured chemical cocktail of ingredients. It is not natural and is not even really “soap.”
Here is what the FDA has to say:
“Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. 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.” Source
At one time all soap was handmade. The traditional soapmaking method was and still is, called the cold process method.
2. Natural Soap is Made With Natural Ingredients
The very best reason to use natural soap is the ingredients. A product is only as good as the ingredients used to make it.
OUR skin-nourishing ingredients are USDA Certified Organic, sustainably produced, cruelty-free, and ethically traded, but most commercial "soaps" are actually synthetic detergents that offer no natural benefits to the skin.
Each of our soap bar recipes begins with a special blend of nutrient-rich, skin-nourishing certified organic oils.
We use more costly organic virgin, unrefined oils, and butters whenever possible because they are less refined preserving more of their inherent nutrients.
Inspired by our love of gardening we then make each soap bar unique by adding a variety of organic butters, purifying natural clays, organic herbs, seeds, grains, spices, flowers, vegetables, fruits, chocolate, and pure botanical essential oils to provide natural color, aromatherapy, texture, and gentle exfoliation.
The result of our painstakingly, meticulous soap-making process is a mild, rich, moisturizing soap that feels creamy in your hands, offers a magnificent long-lasting lather, and leaves your skin clean, soft, silky, and radiantly healthy.
Our handmade natural soaps are made in small batches with materials found in nature, like pure plant-based oils, oats, honey, and goat milk.
The end result is a safe and gentle product that is perfect for your skin.
Your skin will notice the difference!
3. Natural Soap Is NOT Made With...
Our soap bars contain only the ingredients that they need—no extra preservatives that liquid body washes or commercial bar "soaps" require to increase their shelf life to years, and no foam boosters to make them lather.
Natural soaps contain:
- no synthetic ingredients
- no artificial fragrances or perfumes
- no artificial colors
- no detergents
- no synthetic preservatives
Commercial bar soaps and even some sold as "natural" are Syndet bars. Syndet is a blended word made by combining the words “synthetic” and “detergent.” Note that many of the newer shampoo bars on the market are actually syndets, not natural soap-based shampoo.
BLOG: "What are Syndets?"
Gentle, skin-safe ingredients mean that natural soap will not dry out skin or lead to skin irritation often seen with synthetic ingredients.
I often tell people that while we use awesome ingredients in our natural soaps, I believe that what is NOT in our soap is just as important!
Why would you want to bathe with agricultural ingredients like plant oils that have been doused in chemicals?
If commercial "soaps" add oils and butters to their bars, they are often ultra-refined.
Unrefined, virgin oils and butters are much more expensive, and due to their natural scents and rich profiles, they are much more difficult to work with when formulating soap and other skincare products.
Thus, while a product will tout that it is made with shea butter, olive, or natural plant oils, these ingredients have been so refined that they no longer provide the "advertised" skincare benefits.
4. Natural Soaps Are Moisturizing
Sadly many people have the misguided perception that all bar soaps will dry your skin. The problem is that most commercial bar “soaps” are detergents and not real soap.
There are three main reasons why natural soaps are moisturizing.
Natural Soaps are made with Plant Oils and Butters
Of course, it's the ingredients!
Natural soap made of pure ingredients derived directly from nature is a rare find these days.
The strong detergents in commercial soaps may be great for dishes and laundry, but they strip natural skin oils which dry the skin and may contribute to irritated skin conditions like eczema.
Natural Soaps are Superfatted
Our soap bars are formulated with lots of extra plant oils and butters in a process called "superfatting."
Superfatting is the process of adding extra fats (oils or butters) when formulating a soap recipe, so there is more fat in the mixture than the lye can react with during the chemical reaction.
This process leaves a portion of unincorporated oils in the finished soap, which ensures that our natural soap bars have superior moisturizing and emollient qualities.
We superfat our bars at a higher rate than most soapmakers.
Since adding extra oils and butters can decrease the shelf-life of a soap bar, commercial soaps sacrifice the moisturizing properties in favor of their "forever" shelf-life.
Natural Soaps retain their natural Glycerin
Glycerin is not added to a natural handmade soap recipe – it is created during the natural soap making process! The chemical reaction of making soap is called saponification. Once saponification is complete, the ingredients have combined and chemically changed into soap, glycerin, and a bit of water.
Glycerin, a precious and gentle emollient, is a humectant that draws moisture from the air to the skin creating a moisturizing protective layer.
Commercial soap manufacturers remove the glycerin from their soaps for two reasons. (1) Excess glycerin decreases the shelf-life of soap and (2) they can sell it or use it in products that command a higher price like the lotion your skin needs after using their glycerin-free detergent "soap."
Think about it! Commercial soap companies remove the moisturizing ingredient (the glycerin) which in turn creates a soap that dries your skin and then they use the glycerin they removed to sell you a skin-moisturizing lotion. Quite an ingenious profit-making strategy!
Soaps without glycerin can be drying and often contribute to itchy skin. Handmade soap retains all the moisturizing natural glycerin which also helps produce a rich luxurious lather.
BLOG: Glycerin Soap & Glycerin
Thus skin-nourishing ingredients, plus superfatting and natural saponification create a soap bar full of moisturizing, natural oils, and natural glycerin.
5. Scented Natural Soap Provides Real Aromatherapy
Scented natural soaps are made with pure essential oils, not fragrance oils, and offer aromatherapeutic benefits.
Essential oils have benefits beyond just scent. Step into the bath or shower and breathe deeply. The benefits of aromatherapy can help with everything from easing stress to invigorating your spirit.
The chemical composition of essential oils cannot be recreated in a laboratory.
Fragrance oils are artificially created and, even those that are derived from natural components, do not offer the therapeutic advantages of essential oils.
Only natural botanical essential oils can cause various neurochemicals to be released in the brain which can affect the body, mind, and spirit.
Synthetic fragrance oils may duplicate the smell of a flower or herb, but they have no aromatherapeutic value. Furthermore, the generic term, “fragrance” or “parfum” on a label can indicate the presence of up to 3,000 separate ingredients and the FDA does not require companies to disclose what is in a “fragrance,” because it is considered a “trade secret.”
6. Natural Soap Helps Maintain Healthy Skin
The body’s largest organ, our skin, is incredibly porous and absorbent. How we treat our skin can have a major impact on our overall health as well as the look and feel of our skin.
I cannot count how many times customers have told us that our natural soap has not only helped improve their skin but has improved their lives by relieving itchiness, dryness, and easing skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Some people with sensitive skin really do not have sensitive skin at all.
Their skin is simply reacting to some chemical irritant in their soap or other skincare product. Simple natural soaps tend to be more soothing for many skin types.
Everyone wants healthy skin and your skin is not a fan of synthetic chemicals. If you struggle to find a soap that does not irritate your skin, switching to the daily use of a simple natural soap is an easy place to start. Your skin can tell the difference.
7. Natural Soap Provides Rich Lather Without Synthetic Foam Boosters
People absolutely love bubbly lather. Although we have come to associate the cleansing properties of our soap with the amount of lather it produces, this is a misconception. Soap does not need to create a lot of lather to do its job.
Since commercial brands make money by catering to customer demands, lots of foamy lather is an important property of any commercial cleansing personal care product.
The foam, bubbles, and lather we know and love from commercial liquid and bar soaps are produced by surfactants--synthetic foam boosters, lathering agents, and detergents.
These chemicals are often petroleum by-products like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and its cousins, are very inexpensive to add to body cleansing products, and are also quite drying for the skin.
A properly formulated and cured bar of natural soap needs no synthetic additives to create a lather or to clean because natural soap is a natural surfactant. So it not only makes great bubbles and lather, but it also helps clean oily dirt from your skin--naturally!
Nature’s ingredients like coconut oil, castor oil as well as the retained natural glycerin also help create a rich silky lather. The creamy silky lather from a natural soap is much richer than commercial soap.
BLOG: "How Soap Works"
8. Natural Soap is Economical
Some consumers are put off by the cost of handmade soap. You probably look at a bar of natural soap and wonder why it costs more. I mean, soap is soap, right? Both bars clean your skin, right?
While I may agree that both bars clean the skin, the similarity goes no further. Simply put, commercial soaps contain synthetic ingredients that are very cheap to produce in a lab.
But here are some things to think about!
Commercial soap companies do not want extra oils or glycerin in their soaps because they decrease shelf-life. Without these extra oils to moisturize your skin, you must reach for that bottle of lotion!
So, although a bar of commercial soap may cost less, what happens to the cost once you add in the price of all of that cream and lotion (which is also filled with chemicals) that you need to slather all over your dry, itchy skin?
Also, many of the synthetic ingredients needed to create lather, colors, scent, and years of shelf-life are known to be skin irritants. If your soap is causing irritated skin conditions, the simple change to a natural soap may decrease a trip to the dermatologist or the prescription cream to help clear the irritation.
If you use a liquid body wash the main ingredient is water. You pay for water. A properly cured soap bar has very little water remaining, meaning you are getting exactly what you pay for.
Natural handmade soaps may come with a higher price tag, but they provide a host of benefits when it comes to your skin. Natural soaps are made with higher quality ingredients:
- Starting with natural and organic oils and butters
- The scents added to natural soaps are pure plant essential oils, NOT fragrance oils or "nature identical" oils
- Natural soap colors come from natural juices, teas, spices, botanicals, or clays, NOT synthetic micas or colorants.
Have a look at the labels on your favorite bar soaps in order to learn what you are actually paying for as well as what you are putting on your skin.
I believe that old saying, "You get what you pay for," rings true when comparing a handmade bar of a natural soap to a commercial brand!
9. Natural Soap Has a Smaller Environmental Impact
Knowing that our actions have a profound impact on the world around us, Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve has always strived to be different. We want to be better. I find it odd that a product we use to keep our bodies clean is doing quite the opposite for our environment.
As we take a bath or shower with commercial "soap" bars or washes, we coat our skin with synthetic compounds like fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and detergents.
Now imagine the millions of people who use commercial soap each day.
All of these chemicals, many of which do not naturally break down, have to go somewhere. They wash down our drains into our septic fields or water treatment facilities.
Studies have found that these chemicals often end up in our water systems and accumulate in our ecosystems. These chemicals affect wildlife--from fish to birds and natural foliage to flowers.
Our soaps are made with organic ingredients. Organic ingredients mean organic farming and organic farming is better for the environment. It improves the quality of our environment by protecting our land and groundwater from contamination and by promoting the use of sustainable resources and the conservation of soil and water.
When it comes to the environment, there are other benefits when choosing a natural bar of soap. Packaging!
Natural soap companies like ours tend to use eco-friendly materials for packaging and shipping.
Our natural soap bars are sold in recyclable cardboard boxes made with recycled materials.
Also, if you use a liquid body wash, how many plastic bottles and pumps do you dispose of in a single year?
10. Natural Soaps are Unique
I make handmade natural soap. I did not invent anything new. But what I know is that our natural soap is made in small batches by people who have a passion as well as a mission for making natural products.
For me, soapmaking is a synergy of science and art that took years to perfect. It is a labor of love. I take the time to create wholesome soap recipes that do not sacrifice beauty or scent while incorporating amazing natural and organic ingredients.
Commercial soaps are typically mass-produced by companies that focus on maximizing profits at the expense of individual skin needs. There is nothing unique about them.
At Chagrin Valley, the formulas we create for each type of bar are unique. Our recipes are designed in-house using research and ingredients from nature.
Of course, we want our bars to be pretty, but that is not our focus. Our colors, scents, and textures come from nature. We use certified organic ingredients--herbs and flowers, vegetables and fruits, sustainable oils and butters, and pure essential oils to create awesome soaps that will nourish your skin and be kind to our planet.
No matter your skin type or personal preferences, there is one of our natural soap bars out there just waiting for you.
If you love variety then handmade soap will not disappoint you. Considering that your skin is the largest organ on your body, there is a real delight in discovering the right soap that treats it gently.
11. A Natural Soap Company Has Social Consciousness
While I am sure there are some large commercial soap companies with a social conscience, natural soapmakers tend to have the utmost respect for the earth and all its creatures.
Environmental stewardship is not a buzzword for us. It is not a talking point, not a political stance nor is it about optics!
At Chagrin Valley it is our practice to use raw materials that are sourced in an environmentally and ethically responsible manner.
- We use organic ingredients which supports organic farming
- We are Leaping Bunny Certified--Cruelty-Free
- Our palm oil and other ingredients are certified sustainable
- We buy Fair Trade whenever possible
- Our products are biodegradable and minimally packaged with recycled and recyclable materials
- Our packaging is over 99% plastic-free
- Our natural ingredients will not add synthetic chemicals to our ecosystems
The hallmark of Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve is a love and respect for all things natural. Dedication to a kinder and gentler way of living is a big part of why we do what we do.
12. You Are Supporting A Small Business
If you are reading this blog I do not have to convince you that shopping small business is important. Your purchase really does make a difference.
When you buy a handmade bar of natural soap, you are supporting a small business that truly cares about and believes in the products they make.
According to the Small Business Association, “America’s 30 million small businesses are the engine of job creation and economic growth in this country, creating nearly two out of every three new jobs in the United States and employing over half the nation’s workforce.”
Small businesses are run by people - not by boards or stockholders.
They are often entrepreneurs who bring a creative freshness into an otherwise regimented world.
At Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve we create small batch handcrafted natural soap and oversee the entire process to ensure maximum freshness, consistency, and perfection. Think of it as pure nutrition for your skin!
We do it all ourselves--from start to finish--from our hands to your hands--from our family to yours!
Before I conclude I would like to add one final reason to the question of "Why You Should Switch To Natural Soap Bars." The simplest answer is, Why Not?
From its composition to its benefits for the skin and health to its impact on the environment, natural soap is very different from commercial soap.
The level of care and attention that goes into producing a batch of cold process natural soap is unparalleled in commercial soaps. The goals and mission of a small business are also quite different from those of a large corporation.
Natural soaps are really soap. The recipes use sustainable, environmentally friendly natural and organic ingredients in an age-old process to produce a great lathering mild soap that promotes healthy skin.
Indulge your senses in natural aromatherapy, moisturize your skin, and feel good about what you put on your skin.
Embrace a very simple pleasure of life by using a bar of handmade natural soap. This small change will not only leave your skin beautifully conditioned but will also help make our planet a bit happier!
Your skin will notice the difference and your skin will thank you.
We would love to hear your thoughts!