Soap Musings

You aren’t using soap…

About three months ago I stopped using store bought soap.

While Christmas shopping for family, I found a bar of handmade soap at a local store that I thought my mother in law would like. When I looked at the label, the ingredients looked nothing like what you would see on a typical big box store soap label. The ingredients were things like olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil — all ingredients that, not only could I read, I actually knew what they were.

Piquing my interest, I started to research why this was..why the soaps we see in the grocery store have an unpronounceable laundry list of ingredients, whereas this bar of soap I just bought had maybe 5 ingredients total, all of which  are readily available at that same aforementioned grocery store.

As it turns out, the soap I had been buying and using my whole life wasn’t actually soap at all. What almost everyone is buying, and bringing home, and using are actually synthetic detergent bars.What you are likely buying at the local grocery store isn’t legally allowed to be called soap, hence why most of the labels say “beauty bar” or a “deodorant bar”. They are composed mainly of synthetic, often petroleum based, cleansers .

To legally be called “soap” in the United States, per the FDA, the product must be composed mainly of the “alkali salts of fatty acids,” that is, the material you get when you combine fats or oils with an alkali, such as lye. What that means is to make real, natural soap you only need 3 ingredients: oil (animal or vegetable oil), water, and lye. The lye causes a chemical reaction with the oils and fats called saponification. The end product contains no lye and is a bar of soap made of all natural oils and fats, that still lathers and cleans just as well, if not better, than synthetic detergent bars.

So naturally, after reading this, I started making my own soap. As it turns out, it’s not extremely hard, its very fun, and there are endless combinations of fats, vegetable oils, essential oils as well as colorants and fragrances to mix together and get natural, skin=loving bars of real soap. I love knowing exactly what is going into each bar of soap that I use,  and I really love how creative I am able to be while making them.

While not my most creative endeavor, the soap pictured above is something that I like to call “Simply Soap”. It is unscented and uncolored. Its made from just five ingredients:  Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Lard, Water and Lye.

So now that you know why I’ve become obsessed with this new hobby of mine, stay tuned! I’ll be posting about my soaping adventures, successes, failures and everything else along the way.




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