What Makes High Quality Soap?
HANDMADE BAR SOAP
Unless you've made soap yourself or are in the habit of paying close attention to the ingredients in the products you consume, you likely haven't put much thought into what's in your soap or how it works. Soap is all basically the same, right? Well, not exactly. There are several significant differences between liquid soaps and bar soaps, and between high quality bar soaps and low quality bar soaps.
Liquid soaps often rely on using sulfates (detergents, such as SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate) to achieve the breakdown of oils and grease. While this proves very effective for that purpose, sulfates also carry the hidden risk of negative long-term health and environment issues. Quality bar soaps, if properly developed, can also achieve effective breakdown of oils and grease without the use of harsh detergents. SLS and preservatives such as parabens are present in many products, such as deodorants, cosmetics, and even in consumables such as sugary beverages. Don't just take our word for it - do some research and educate yourself on these hidden dangers.
The main characteristics to look for in a quality soap include:
Hardness. A quality bar of soap will have a dense, hard feel, and will not immediately begin to degenerate when wet. It should last a long time. We cure all our soaps before selling, to achieve a desirable hardness.
Cleansing. The soap should be able to break down oils, grease, and other unwanted matter without harshly stripping your skin or leaving residue. A soap that is difficult to rinse off is not a quality soap.
Lather. You should be able to expect your soap bar to have a consistent lather from the first use to the last, indicating that the batch was adequately mixed and homogenized before being poured.
Skin-Safe Ingredients. Essential oils and fragrance oils of varying degrees of quality can be purchased on the open market. It is important to use high quality oils to avoid either creating an adverse reaction or exacerbating existing skin conditions. We place high value on sourcing the highest quality ingredients to make our soaps, yielding soap bars that are gentle enough to be safe for use for everyone in your family. This includes the base oils used for the soap recipe. We have settled on a formula that is least likely to cause any allergic reaction. When you smell a bar of soap and it smells pure, fresh, and invigorating without any strange chemical tinge, this is the result of using quality ingredients. Your body will know when it's exposed to an inferior soap, and it will tell you - usually by exhibiting skin conditions or unpleasant reaction to synthetic components.
Among bar soaps, not all are created equal. As with any product, higher quality ingredients will yield a higher quality final result. A high quality soap made with care and attention will result in a soap that does not cause irritation, even to those with dermatological issues or extreme sensitivities. This requires quality oils, a formula that is as simple as possible, and high quality, skin-safe essential oils or fragrance oils. It also requires ingredients being mixed in precise ratios, in order for the saponification process (conversion of oils into pH-adjusted salts which will lather and do everything you expect from soap, such as killing of germs and bacteria) to properly complete. It is easy to create a generic soap. Creating a quality soap requires careful attention and experience.
Part of the reason it is so commonplace for people to have allergies and skin conditions in the modern age is a result of exposure to unnatural products being absorbed into their skin. These unnatural products are used because unscrupulous producers want to crank out maximum product at minimum price, with long shelf life. While there is something to be said for efficiency, it's important to also keep long-term objectives in mind. If your goal is to live a long and healthy life with minimal health disruptions, mindfulness when choosing products that get absorbed into your skin and into the environment should be part of your overall worldview.