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The Case for Handcrafted, Natural Soap

Updated: Jun 30

pauline using soap cutter to cut soap

Do you often suffer from dry and itchy skin? Are you still using conventional mass produced soaps? I’ve become more and more aware that how we treat our skin can have a major impact on our overall health and well-being. People regularly reach out to me looking for alternatives to the commercial products that are causing their dry and flaky skin.

The body’s largest organ, our skin, is incredibly porous and absorbent. Mountains of research show that toxic chemicals can be drawn through the skin and transferred into the bloodstream. Many of these are not skin nourishing and tend to dry out skin, stripping it of its naturally protective layer.

“ Nourish natural hand made soap is skincare in a bar. My skin feels silky soft after using it. The lather is luxuriant, and the plant oils and extracts are healing and therapeutic. My bathroom smells heavenly, and this really lifts my spirits as I begin my day. A real treat."

~ Bev Mc Neill.”

Launching Nourish Natural Soaps, 11 years ago, was a huge deal for me. A big reason why I chose hot-processed, natural soap back then was to provide my customers with safer, more nourishing body care options.

As it turns out handmade natural soap has a lot going for it. Each artisan bar is made from scratch and takes weeks to cure. This maintains the integrity of the nutrients, essential oils and vitamins in each soap. Moreover, because each soap is made by hand, with the enjoyment of the craft, an essential ‘feel good’ energy is added to each bar. My customers often comment on this and so I feel it is important to always create a happy, contented space in my workshop as this seems to translate into more nourishing soap!

handmade soap in a wooden bowl

Tell me why natural soap is better

Its a common question from individuals who have never bought a handmade bar of soap (or shampoo) before. In fact, its a question I used to get asked all the time when I was still doing markets. After all, commercial soaps are cheaper and perhaps last longer so why buy a natural soap bar? There are some very valid reasons why handmade, natural soap is the better way to go for your own health and well-being.

Less Chemicals

Many years ago, our great-grandmothers used to collect lye water (from water that had run through ashes) and stir that into a pot of lard, making soap. Those days are long behind us though. Soap making has gone from those humble beginnings to becoming a thriving worldwide business for a number of large companies. Because the soaps are being produced in such large quantities, commercial soaps are filled with chemicals and additives to prolong shelf life. Additives that not only dry your skin out but can lead to rashes and other irritations.

In fact, the commercial soap bars that line most chain stores’ shelves are more like synthetic detergents. The ingredient list of these soaps reads like a chemical formula and technically are not considered to be soap but rather beauty bars. While detergents are great for your dishes, they are not very good for your skin…

Many of the people who approach me about buying natural soap, have problems with eczema or extremely dry and sensitive skin from years of using commercial soaps and shower gel. In handmade soap, unlike its commercial counterpart, the soap-making process is slow and conserves the inherent moisturizing and nourishing properties of the oils. Extra emollients like castor oil or hemp seed oil can even be added after cooking the soap to add even more deep nourishment to your bar. If you opt for a shampoo bar instead of commercial shampoo, you will be pleasantly surprised. Each shampoo bar is filled with natural oils specific to the scalp and hair shaft.

More control over the ingredients in natural soap

If the commercial soap company does put in some natural ingredients along with its synthetic ones, they do so in such small quantities as for it to be inconspicuous in the soap. Its main purpose is to catch the eye of the consumer and give them the illusion that this soap is more natural.

If you read the ingredient labels though, the soap is still primarily made with synthetic ingredients.

There is a lot more control over what gets added to natural soap and thus other additives like clays, juices and teas can be mixed into the ingredients to give more benefits to the bar. Natural soap does not dry your skin out and give you skin problems such as eczema. Its natural oils penetrate the skin deeply and moisturize effectively. Using natural soap, your need for additional moisturizers like creams are less important as your skin remains soft and supple.

Natural soap is endlessly better for skin!

Another huge benefit to using handmade soap is that the oils used to make the soap are filled with anti-aging, skin firming and healing properties. This ensures many health benefits for your largest organ, the skin.

Natural soap also contains natural glycerin which aids in keeping skin moisturized.

Plant fats (which is what I use) naturally contain about 8-13 % Glycerin, which helps the skin maintain moisture hours after you wash.

In natural soap you will find essential oils and other additives like clays and oats, teas and

fruit juices. These get rid of free radicals and make the soap creamier and better for your well-being.

This brings us to the conclusion that in order to sufficiently moisturize and nourish our skin, we need a product with more health benefits. Enter naturally handmade soap!

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