Updated: Jun 8
Natural soap and its skin benefits.
Soap making history goes back many thousands years. Babylonians were the first to discover that plant and wood ashes mixed with oil and lard creates a fat-dissolving lye. A formula for soap was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC. One believes that the word alkali has it's origin here: al-quali means as much as plant ashes.
This initial soap was used for cleaning wool and cotton used in textile manufacture and for medicinal purposes for at least 5000 years.
Back then soap wasn't made and used for personal hygiene. Only centuries later, the the Romans discovered the cleaning properties for sanitary measures. From then on it was used almost solely for this purpose.
The process remains relatively unchanged although nowadays one uses vegetable and seed-based oils and butters rather than animal fats.
And the ash has been replaced with a substance called ‘lye’.
Handmade soaps vs. commercially produced soaps
There are different methods of making soap. However, the one I believe creates the best quality bar of soap is called the cold process method. This method creates gentle and mild soaps which cure over several weeks.
Real handmade soap contains raw ingredients that include butters, fat or oil, and lye.
Most mass-produced bars we buy in the supermarkets have nothing in common with “real” soap as they contain synthetic ingredients such as harsh detergents, hardening agents, artificial fragrances and colours. These strip your skin of it's natural oils and can leave it dry and irritated.
Bad for you, good for the industry. Instead of purchasing one product which cleans and moisturises you will have to buy two or more products to serve the same purpose.
But here comes the good news:
Handmade soap contains glycerine which is a natural by-product of the soap making process. Glycerin is a natural skin emollient (a preparation that softens the skin) that attracts water from the surrounding air and maintains moisture in the skin throughout the day.
Natural oils contain between 7-13% of glycerine as a part of their natural chemical compound.
For better understanding what we put in and on our bodies we should always read the labels on the back carefully.
Does artisan soap dry out my skin and leave it itchy?
Absolutely not! It's quite the opposite as it helps to rebuild the skins protective barrier. In combination with natural oils as aftercare your skin will feel soft, smooth and deeply nourished.
I only use high quality, cold pressed and raw, plant based oils and butters to produce my soaps. Not only does this create an incredibly gentle cleansing product, that supports the natural function of your skin. It also gives it a delicate and natural scent- without having to add any fragrances.
"I LOVE LOVE LOVE this soap. It smells beautifully natural, mild and gentle. You can literally feel that it's made with pure oils and ingredients. It leaves my skin super soft, without drying it like a regular soap does. I use it for my hands and my skin, and I don't need to moisturize as much as I used to." - a happy customer rom Finnland
The quoted weight, it is always the fresh weight. During its "curing period" it loses water, which causes the soaps to become harder and therefore longer lasting. Another positive effect is that handmade soaps, like good wine, becomes milder and more gentle the longer they cure. The loss of fluid is usually about 10-15% and is completely natural.
My personal advice
To make your soap last longer, I recommend cutting it into two pieces. This way you use a smaller surface of your soap and therefore it will last a little longer. Plus, smaller pieces are more unlikely to break in the middle when becoming thinner.
The soap piece you are not currently using can go back into the packaging, where it can be stored in a dry and cool place.
Due to its mild formula handmade soap can be used for your delicate facial skin. It is also suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin as well as neurodermatitis.