What are the benefits of natural soap? Are they worth the extra money that you have to shell out? In this blog post I am going to go through 5 reasons that I think natural soap is worth the price difference. (In the interests of full disclosure, just in case you weren’t aware, I make all natural soap.)
What is Natural Soap?
I begin with my definition of natural soap because not everyone defines it the same way. My definition of natural soap is that it is free of any synthetic colorants, preservatives or fragrances. It should also be free of carcinogens such as coal tar, mineral oil and benzene. Most of the chemicals that you have been warned as being hazardous to your health fall into one of these categories. Parabens for example are a preservative. Phthalates are now most commonly used as a fixative in certain perfumes.
My company, Susan’s Soaps & More makes lye soap and the chemical name for lye is sodium hydroxide. You might argue that means it is not all natural. However, soap has been made with lye for centuries, back when it was leached from ashes from the campfire. When soap is properly made, a chemical reaction, called saponification takes place so that no actual lye remains in the soap. As a side note, lye has many uses in the food industry such as the making and curing of olives. In addition there literally is no way to make actual “soap” without using lye.
Difference between Natural and Organic
There is some confusion between the terms natural and organic and people tend to use them interchangeably. Natural means no artificial or synthetic ingredients. Organic means those natural ingredients have been grown and produced without using any synthetic or chemical ingredients such as pesticides. There are regulations involved to be organically certified and able to put organic on your skin care product label. However, even that is a grey area as the product only has to be 70% organic to qualify.
Why is Natural Soap More Expensive?
The short answer is the ingredients are more expensive. Essential oils are many times more expensive than synthetic fragrance oils. The most expensive components of our products are the labor and the essential oils. Natural botanicals or herbs in the soap are more expensive. Many natural soaps are created with high end oils and butters. It pretty much boils down to that old adage of garbage in = garbage out. If you want good quality products to put on your skin then they need to be made with good quality ingredients. Good quality ingredients cost more money. It is really just that simple. Of course some times you are paying more for a brand name and/or its packaging. My advice is to get familiar with ingredients, read the labels and purchase products made with what is important to you.
5 Reasons Why Natural Soap is Worth It
Natural Soap is actually soap, not detergent
I mentioned lye earlier and if your soap is not made with lye then it is not soap. It is a detergent bar. Both soap and detergents are surfactants. Surfactant molecules have a water loving end and an oil loving end which is what enables them to pull dirt off whatever you are trying to clean and wash it away with water.
Soap has been around for centuries and traditionally was made from natural ingredients. It must be created by the saponification process of a reaction between an oil and an alkali or it is not soap. Detergents first came about after World War II and are chemically produced using a variety of different methods. Well made natural soaps are slightly alkaline and are considered to be more biodegradable than detergents. Detergents for the most part of composed of many more chemical components which are not easily disintegrated in nature. Detergents may be your choice for laundry or other cleaning projects, but as for what you use on your skin, I would certainly opt for soap.
No synthetic preservatives
Many of the scary warnings we have heard through the more recent years regarding chemicals in personal care products have been due to chemical preservatives.
No synthetic colorants or dyes
Many people today are experiencing skin allergies and rashes and often this is due to synthetic colorants or dyes. You hear about this food such as Red Dye 40. Soaps that are not “natural” can use synthetic colorants or dyes that can cause a reaction or even be harmful. This is why we only use natural colorants such as powdered rosemary or even real chocolate as colorants in our soaps.
No synthetic fragrances
This is a pet peeve of mine. Many is the time I have seen soaps claiming to be all natural and when I read the label it states “fragrance”. Essential oils are one of the most expensive components in the products we make. Fragrance oils are a much less expensive ingredient and they don’t have the aromatherapy benefits of essential oils. They don’t have the same freshness and clarity of scent and they can be created from ingredients that are usually not healthy for you and even possibly dangerous.
The same way that colorants and dyes as mentioned above can cause allergic reactions, fragrances are much more likely to cause an allergic reaction as opposed to essential oils. More and more people are choosing fragrance free detergents and cleaning products to avoid this issue. If a soap is labeled natural it should either be unscented or made with essential oils, not a fragrance!
Supporting small business
Natural soaps are often created by small businesses like mine that started due to their own skin care issues. Supporting small business is a worthy goal. Certainly big business plays an important role in our lives and our economy due to the products they produce and the number of people they employ. But small businesses do as well. Today small businesses employ almost 60 million people which is not exactly small potatoes. Small businesses allow for more creativity and independence and in many ways form the bedrock of what our country is founded upon. If you would like to browse our products you can SHOP HERE.