You probably walk down the supermarket aisle and choose a soap without dedicating much thought to it. You simply want something that gets the job done, but did you know that not all soaps were born equal?
There’s a lot that goes into them and there’s a huge difference between your commercial soap and high-quality, natural soaps. We really believe you should choose natural, and here’s why!
COMMERCIAL VS NATURAL SOAPS
Did you know that most commercial soaps bought in supermarkets have more in common with washing powder than actual soap?
Manufacturers of mass-produced commercial soaps, tend to extract the glycerin that is created during the saponification process in order to increase profits.
Glycerin is highly sought after for more lucrative products (including lotions and e-cigarettes) and is extracted and sold separately at a higher price, whilst chemicals and synthetics are added to the soap to rebalance it.
Some of these chemicals include detergents, foaming solutions, parabens, and synthetic fragrances. This is where the problem lies – and you don’t have to go far to see it. Walk into any supermarket, grab some soap and take a look at the ingredients.
Natural soaps are usually hand made through a chemical process called saponification. Firstly, an oil or fat is combined with lye, a liquid alkali, to make soap. In the case of Poapoa, we use raw shea butter & virgin coconut oil combined with lye.
The mixture is then poured into molds to allow it to saponify (i.e. make shea butter into something that actually foams and cleans) over 24 hours. It is then taken out to dry and cure for over a month, evaporating its water content in the process. The final product is a combination of soap and glycerin, where soap will do the cleaning whilst glycerin will moisture and nourish the skin. This time-consuming yet traditional method is commonly named ‘cold process’ and ensures no preservatives or additives are needed.
This unique oil base gives special properties to the soap. Coconut oil adds moisture and disinfectant qualities, whilst shea butter has skin healing properties and is great at hydrating your skin without leaving a greasy residue. Leaving your skin feeling soft, clean and nourished.
PUTTING PLANTS IN YOUR SOAPS
Instead of adding synthetics, there are a number of genuinely natural and good-for-your-skin ingredients that can be added to create different types of soaps. For example, oatmeal and charcoal are great to increase exfoliation and remove dead skin cells.
Essential oils, commonly used in aromatherapy, are another key group of ingredients. They are natural oils distilled and extracted from plants or fruits. They each have a number of healing properties and add their unique, subtle aromas to the soap:
- Rosemary oil is one of the most powerful essential oils out there. Working as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory herb, it helps soothe skin irritations and stimulate hair growth. The scent is so lovely it’s been proven to reduce stress levels too. Find it in our Moringa & Rosemary Shea Soap.
- Tea Tree oil: originally from Australia, tea tree is a potent antibacterial and antiviral oil that can tone and clear tired skin. Find it in our Charcoal & Tea Tree Shea Soap.
- Orange Peel Oil: apart from its antibacterial and antioxidant properties, it’s full of citrus-y vitamin C and helps rejuvenate and soothe your skin. Plus it smells amazing! Find it in our Neem & Orange Shea Soap.
After adding different natural ingredients, the end product is a good-for-you soap without the need for any chemicals or synthetics that will clean and nourish your skin. This is exactly how we make soaps at Poapoa!
THE BAD STUFF IN COMMERCIAL SOAPS
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): A foaming solution commonly used in cleaning detergents that can irritate and dry your skin. It’s also linked to a number of health problems.
- Parabens: a chemical preservative used in store-bought commercial beauty and grooming products to extend their shelf life and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Not only is it a synthetic product, but it’s also been linked to an increased risk of cancer.
- Triclosan: most soaps labeled antibacterial will include triclosan, a commonly used pesticide to stop bacteria from growing. Not only can it dry and irritate your skin, but it makes its way down drains and into our water supply systems harming algae and the fish we eat.
- Chemical fragrances which can be absorbed through your skin and pose health risks including allergies, dermatitis, and respiratory issues.
- Synthetic colours: if you see any ingredients on your commercial soap that start with ‘D&C’ plus a number, you’re probably looking at a synthetic colour which is usually derived from petroleum or coal – a big red flag for us.
NATURAL SOAPS AND THEIR BENEFITS
We hope that by now we’ve convinced you to ditch your old bar of commercial soap and opt for a more natural and honest product. To sum up, these are some of the main benefits of natural soaps:
- A natural product that is genuinely good for your skin and uses absolutely no synthetics or harsh chemicals
- Smoother and softer skin without irritation
- Essential oils that will add healing properties as well as mood-boosting scents
However, not all the benefits are just for you. By supporting natural products made in small batches, your reach is much wider…
- You help local communities. In our case, these are in Kenya and Ghana!
- You support small brands trying to make a difference
- You support the planet – by only using recyclable packaging and plant-based products
Have we convinced you?
If you want to try a high-quality soap with oodles of natural ingredients, try us at Poapoa.