The humble soap comes from a long history.
Soap is such a basic item that we often don’t pay much attention. If it wasn’t for crises like COVID-19 and the constant reminder of the importance of hand hygiene, most people would not have given much thought about soap. But soap-making has a long history – possibly as early as 2800 BC.
Archaeological evidence suggests ancient Babylonians were creating soap-like material, which was found in clay cylinders. What makes it more amazing is that inscriptions found on the clay cylinders talk about “fats boiled with ashes”. Why is this a big deal? Well, because “fats boiled with ashes” happens to be one of the soap-making methods.
As early as 2800 BC, imagine that!
What is soap?
Simply put, soap is the product of a chemical process called saponification a.k.a. the soap-making process. When fats and/or oils mix with lye and water, magic happens. And just like baking a cake, if the right ingredients are chosen and are used in the right proportion, you get to enjoy beautifully made soap.
Handmade soap is good for the skin and the soul.
Compared to commercial bars (find out why the “soap” you buy in the store may not be real soap), handmade soap offers great benefits to the skin. Here we list 3 reasons why we love handmade soap.
1. Handmade soap contains more glycerine.
In the world of cosmetic industry, glycerine is gold. It is a humectant, which means it draws moisture to our skin. Glycerine is naturally produced during soap-making. The issue with commercial manufacturing is glycerine is often extracted from soap and set aside for other high end skin care products. As a result, soap that lacks gycerine dries the skin.
Handmade soap doesn’t involve extraction of glycerine, and therefore, is a better choice for our skincare.
2. Handmade soap contains no detergents.
Yes, it is a fact that most store bought “soaps” are not real soaps, they are called syndet bars – a term derived from synthetics and detergents. Because they didn’t go through the real soap-making process (saponification), by regulation, they cannot be called soap. Companies worldwide hence have come up with some fancy names such as beauty bar, body bar, facial bar among others to make these not-real soaps more attractive to consumers.
While soap-making is definitely a science, fundamentally speaking, soap-making requires few ingredients: fats and/oil, lye and water. Sticking to this basic science, real soap-making requires no use of detergents – unless, of course, you are making a chemical bar! Handmade soap needs no detergents in its making and that’s why it is great for our skin.
3. Handmade soap can be an ethical product.
Soapers have a lot of choices when formulating a soap recipe. With carefully chosen ingredients, handmade soap can be an ethical, socially conscious product.
For example, here at Mighty Impression, we do not include palm oil in our soap formulation. Palm oil is a wonderful ingredient. It is the most widely consumed vegetable oil and from food to cosmetics, it is often used to manufacture many other items that we enjoy. Because of our dependency on palm oil, beautiful tropical forests have been cleared away for plantation, significantly affecting both Indigenous communities and wildlife such as orangutan worldwide.
Similarly, soapers can choose to support animal welfare by designing beautiful vegan soap (you will be pleased to know that all of our soaps are vegan).
Lesson of the day
Soap-making is an ancient art. Today’s soapers make beautiful soaps using a similar method as our ancestors did thousands of years ago. These handmade soaps are kind to our skin compared to commercial bars. And if designed properly, handmade soaps can be ethically made, kind to both the environment and communities.
We hope this article has made choosing your skincare a little bit easier. Do you have a question or two about natural skincare yourself? Send us your questions and let us pull our collective brainpower together and help answer the question.
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