Why hand-made soap?
Alright - here it is. The truth about hand-made soap.
What is soap?
What even is soap? Soap is the result of reacting oils, butters and fats with sodium hydroxide (also known as lye, NaOH or caustic soda). In this reaction the sodium hydroxide is COMPLETELY CONSUMED! You heard that correctly - in the final product there should not be any lye. Where did it go? Well, when it reacts with the oils (butters... fats... whatever), it creates a couple molecules of soap and one molecule of glycerin! (And by the way - glycerin is nothing to be afraid of. But we'll get into that in a minute.) So. When people fear the lye in soap - yes, during the soap-making process lye is caustic and can cause serious burns if not handled correctly. BUT once the soap is made - the lye is gone! Totally safe to use!
Alright - so that's how it's made. Woo hoo. But who cares? What's so special about this?
Well, turns out that most "soap" that you can buy commercially is not "soap" at all! "Beauty Bar" sounds really nice, doesn't it? Well, turns out that's just a clever marketing technique to keep you from noticing that the "soap" you just bought is actually just a solid bar of artificially manufactured synthetic detergent. Yuk. Legally it's not even allowed to be called soap anymore!
So that's why hand-made soap is so special. It's some of the only real soap that you can even buy anymore! Alright - well there still are some real soaps available at the drug store - what's up with those?
The Problems with Commercially Available Soaps
Hand-made soap is still very different from soap you can buy commercially - because commercial soap has been, what is called, triple-milled. Huh? Essentially, soap in its' purest form poses some issues for big companies who want one bar of soap to look exactly the same from the day of manufacturing to five years later sitting in a warehouse.
Some issues are that as soap ages and cures the water that was used in the soap making process evaporates, causing the soap to shrink and slightly change in shape. Another thing is that the soaps don't like too much heat or moisture, or else they may become *a little* sticky (which, by the way, will change as soon as you bring it in from the heat or out of the moisture). None of these issues are a problem on a small scale... but big companies can't hang. So they "triple-mill".
Triple-mill essentially means that they take the soap, "mill" it, or grind it up into tiny pieces, dissolve it in salt water, and start removing all the pieces of the soap that make soap oh so yummy for our skin. That is, they remove the water. They remove the glycerin. And they remove any other component of the soap that is valuable - these often being the pieces that create the best lather, the smoothest feeling and the softest skin after. And then, whatever is left, they squeeze into a mould and sell.
Why? Why would you strip this beautiful creation of all its best parts?
Ok hold on - Glycer-what?
Ok - don't be scared. I know glycerin might sound like scary word but I promise you it is not. Glycerin is a totally natural by-product of soap making and it actually has a lot of skin-loving benefits!
Glycerin is something known as a humectant - which basically means something that allows our skin to retain moisture. And that's a beautiful thing that we need in soap to make sure it doesn't feel drying or filmy.
Turns out, glycerin is also very valuable. So when big manufacturers make soap, they remove the glycerin so that they can use it in more expensive products or sell it to other businesses. Shady shady shade if you ask me.
Hand-made soap is the only way to go
So there you have it. The sad story of how big industries ruined one of the best, most natural and simple creations and turned it into something so mediocre, they have to fill it with glitter just to get our attention now. If you give hand-made soap a chance, I promise you won't be disappointed. And really use it! Use it as hand soap! Use it in the shower to wash your body! Use it in your hair! Use it to shave! This one item, totally waste free, is all you really need!