Handmade Soap VS. Store Bought Soap

The primary question I am asked, and love to discuss, with individuals browsing our handmade Soaps is “Why are Handmade Natural Soaps better than Store Bought?” With brand name store bought soap companies spend millions each year on misleading advertising.  It’s understandable why a consumers question why is it worth purchasing Handmade Natural Soaps like the ones we at D&C Soap Company make. Typically, store bought soaps that may be labeled as natural are actually detergents that include chemical hardeners, foaming agents and artificial fragrances.

Our Handmade Soap Contains Vegetable Glycerin

D&C Soap Company uses Vegetable Glycerine. Vegetable Glycerin is Oil created strictly from Vegetables and it is a natural skin softener that attracts water from the surrounding air. Because of this, glycerin is highly prized in soaps, lotions and creams for maintaining moisture in the skin throughout the day. Vegetable oils contain between 7-13% of glycerin as a part of their natural chemical makeup.

During the soap making process, the oils and lye blend together to form soap while the natural glycerin maintains its integrity as glycerin and basically settles in between the soap molecules. Too much glycerin and the soap will become mushy and disintegrate quickly. Too little glycerin and the soap becomes very harsh and drying to the skin.

Typical store bought soaps use animal glycerine, which is glycerine rendered from animal fat into an oil.  The glycerine is then removed from the oils and placed into additional products such as lotions and creams. The reason is instead of buying one product that will clean and moisturize, such as handmade soap is a consumer now has to buy two products to serve the same purpose, thus, an increase in profit for the company and cost to you, the consumer. When profit is placed as a higher priority than quality of life, the consumer is the one who suffers. By removing the glycerin, store bought soap takes on a skin moisture stripping quality that will dry the skin and leave it vulnerable to cracking and flaking. 

Handmade Soaps

Our ancestors knew what they were doing. Traditional handmade soaps are made one of two ways, hot process and cold process. Cold Process soap is made by mixing sodium hydroxide with water, then blending it with oils, then adding essential oils and natural colorants, and finally, pouring it into molds. The soaps then sit inside the mold for 24 hours to saponify (become soap), are removed from the mold to dry for 24 hours, then cut into bars of soap and must then air dry or cure for 4-6 weeks. It’s quite a process. Hot process is essentially the same, but instead of placing the soap in a mold to cure, the liquid is placed in a heat source and heated until cured. Which method you use is basically your choice, though some say that cold process is the true, original form of soap making.

Store Bought Soap

Store bought soap, on the other hand is made using a continuous flow method with hundred of hands on the process. The soap base is continually being made in the same batch of soap, never to rest or relax. They then use artificial colouring, usually those referred to as the FD and C (or Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act) colourants.  These colourants are given names and a number, such as Red #40 or  Yellow #5. These are relatively inexpensive compared to natural colourants. It is then blended with filler ingredients and chemicals such as Sodium Isethionate a foam enhancer and Dipropylene Glycol which is a chemical solvent added and then it is formed into molds. Once cured, packaged and shipped to stores all over. 

Have you ever wondered why your Store Bought soaps lather a lot more than natural soaps?  This is because manufacturers add lathering agents to their skin cleansers.  This effect is purely cosmetic and does not add to the intended use of skin cleansers.  These chemicals include cocamide DEA, MEA and TEA.   SLS, besides its cleansing ability, is also used to create lather.  The cleansing agents are usually artificially made detergents.  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS, also known as sodium laureth sulfate) is one such detergent commonly found in synthetic soaps.  The reason why manufacturers use SLS is because it is inexpensive, although it is known to be harsh on the skin and may cause irritation. 

In natural soaps, lather is formed when the sodium salts of fatty acids pick up the oils and mix in with the air around it naturally cleaning your skin, free of irritants. 

Cleansing Agent in Soaps

In natural soaps, the cleansing agent itself is the soap.  The word ‘soap’ here actually refers to the sodium salts of fatty acids.  These salts are produced when oil(or fats) are mixed with lye which then undergo a saponification reaction. The resulting product is a combination of soap and glycerin.  It is this soap that lends the natural skin cleanser its cleansing properties.

Your skin produces oil which carries dead skin cells and other pollutants, and allows bacteria to grow.  Because oil is not water-soluble, your skin can accumulate these unwanted compounds.  The sodium salts help by picking up these oils and the resulting mixture is easily washed away with water.

Harmful Chemical Contact

One of the main ways your body acquires nutrients, other than eating, is transdermally through the skin. Your skin is your largest organ 22 square feet on average and 60 percent of the substances you put on it are eventually absorbed into the bloodstream. This semipermeable membrane allows us to absorb vitamins and minerals, but, unfortunately, it absorbs harmful chemicals we put on it, too.  

Chemicals in common soaps are no joke. They can disrupt our hormones, promote allergies, lead to reproductive issues and increase risk of some cancers. With serious side effects like these, we need to be particular about what we put on our skin.

We are washing our bodies with soap that contains harmful ingredients every single day, this adds up over a lifetime to wreak havoc on our health. With minimal government testing on these chemicals, it becomes up to us, as smart consumers, to make informed decisions as to what does and doesn’t go on our skin.

Improve your overall health by choosing high quality soaps and body washes  made by D&C Soap Company. Make the switch and both your skin and your body will be thanking you.