Soapmakers are often asked about the difference between handmade soap and store-bought soap. There are many differences. First and foremost, most commercial store-bought soap isn’t soap at all. It’s a detergent made out of chemical hardeners, artificial scents, and chemical foaming agents.
It may be labeled “natural” and come with all kinds of persuasive advertising claiming all sorts of wonderful benefits, but read the ingredients label for more info.
Handmade soap is pure soap, in its true pure form. It cleanses and moisturizes naturally without stripping away your skin’s natural healthy oils.
To be fair, some of the ingredients of commercial soaps are in handmade soaps, too, and they are natural ingredients. Stearic Acid is a fatty acid common in all soaps. Sodium Tallowate is a byproduct of the saponification of animal fats like beef tallow. (It makes a good soap, but we don’t use animal products at C&L.) Sodium Palmitate is a salt of palm oil, also common in handmade soaps.
However, handmade soaps do not usually contain any preservatives or harsh chemicals that are commonly found in commercial soaps.
Handmade soap is more expensive – Typically selling in a range from $4 to $9 per bar, handmade soap is far more expensive than most store-bought soaps. It’s worth it, though. Read on.
Handmade soap contains all its natural glycerin – In the soapmaking process glycerol (glycerin) is liberated from the triglycerides, which are then converted to sodium salts. Chemically speaking, soap itself is a “salt”. Glycerin is FANTASTIC for your skin, but it is far more commercially valuable than the soap itself. So, commercial soap companies extract the glycerin and sell it separately, replacing it with cheaper chemicals. Independent soapmakers leave in the natural glycerin to hydrate and soften skin.
Handmade soap can be custom formulated – We can make soap in very small batches, so we can easily custom formulate. For example, this weekend I’m making ten pounds of all natural dog soap for a special use containing colloidal oatmeal, activated charcoal, tea tree, sulfur, lavender, and citronella.
Handmade soap uses natural essential oils – Commercial store-bought soaps are usually scented with chemicals. Most soapmakers, however, use all natural essential oils instead. These oils have real therapeutic properties. For example, tea tree oil is a natural antimicrobial. Lavender oil helps you relax. Citronella repels biting insects. Peppermint is a natural astringent.
Handmade soap preserves the natural oils – The coconut oil, shea butter, and other natural skin-nourishing oils we use actually stay in handmade soap to protect and heal your skin naturally.
Handmade soap comes in many varieties – C&L makes 150 varieties of soap in a dozen formulas for different purposes. Buying from an independent soapmaker, you can select exactly the soap you want for your specific needs and preferences.
Handmade soap is local – Buy local! Yay!