And if you hadn’t already noticed, soap is really and truly making a comeback. It makes total sense too - most soap is very light on packaging and ethically minded soap makers will always try to use paper or recyclable wrapping to cut down on waste and it lasts ages. And yet, there are still doubters and a reluctance by some to go back to soap, despite the most gorgeously scented options available out there. So why?
There's no doubt that liquid soaps had a huge effect on traditional soap sales, but Soap began to lose its popularity before that. Large commercial producers began to extract soap’s natural moisturising ingredient, glycerine, to use in other beauty products. This left the soap without a moisturising element and this was replaced with synthetic moisturising options, necessitating the addition of parabens, SLSs and SLESs to produce lather, moisture, foam and hardness etc.
These ingredients are renowned for causing tightness in the skin, reactions, and dryness and are the same additives often found in liquid soap. In recent years, there has been evidence of hormonal interference due to the addition of these ingredients and unfortunately, for some time, natural soap has been tarred with the same brush as their commercial cousins.
So Natural soap- what's the difference?
The soap-making process is the same, it’s a lot of oils (usually plant-based) mixed with lye to make the soap base and then each soap maker will add their own blend of essential oils, botanicals etc to make their soap unique.
The difference is that we leave the natural glycerine in the soap to moisturise the bar and don’t add any chemical elements. That means 6 to 7 weeks of turning and checking each bar until its dry.
Its labour intensive but it's worth it because a good bar of natural soap is a bar of the best of oils and natural scents possible and why would you want to use anything else but what came from nature on your skin?
So my TOP TIPS for going back to soap:
- Look after your soap, and it will look after you! All that natural moisture draws water back to itself so use a soap dish or keep the soap standing up on its side to get the most out of your soap.
- If your skin is super sensitive, stick to fragrance-free options or soap with gentle essential oils like lavender or chamomile.
- Solid soap lasts much longer than liquid soap and doesn’t come in single-use plastic containers- less waste for you to sort and more environmentally friendly!
- Cut your favourite soap into pieces and place in a cotton handkerchief or organza bag to keep your linen shelf or drawers smelling gorgeous!
Founder of Wild Oats Soaps