Updated: Oct 24, 2020
Let's dive into the world of Natural Soaps.
Society is becoming aware of the importance of seeking ecological or natural alternatives to the products we consume regularly. I am happy to see that natural personal hygiene products, especially soaps, take on greater importance in this field.
Natural or organic soaps have improved a lot in quality in recent years and cover many needs. They help us keep our skin clean and healthy, but we also save money and support industry with less negative environmental impact.
So what are natural soaps exactly? When we talk about natural soaps, the ingredients used for their elaboration are natural, which can come from vegetable, mineral, or animal sources.
Therefore, soaps with chemically altered components in a laboratory or that have preservatives, dyes, or artificial fragrances are not natural even if they say so on the packaging.
Natural soaps usually contain ingredients identical to nature; this means that the ingredients naturally provide coloring and fragrance.
But how can natural ingredients be converted into soap, such as olive oil, for example. It is through a process where the ingredient's structure is changed; it is called saponification.
Saponification is when vegetable or animal fats are converted into soap when joined with an alkaline element such as sodium hydroxide or caustic soda.
There are two methods of saponification; hot and cold. Commercial soaps use the hot process.
The cold process is more delicate; after removing the soaps from the mold, soaps take 4-6 weeks on average to "mature" in a controlled temperature environment and the right sun exposure.
This aspect is crucial since, during this period, the soap hardens, and its pH drops to 8.5 to 9.5, where it acquires the ideal use consistency.
Because of this complexity, cold saponification is a clear indicator for separating a natural soap from a commercial one.
These are the ingredients usually found in natural soaps.
Glycerin is a primary ingredient in natural soaps since it gives consistency to our soap and acquires either the classic bar shape or any other shape. Melt the glycerin thoroughly before incorporating the other ingredients and poured into a mold.
Natural essences are key since they give the soap personality and remember that each natural essence has different properties to improve skin problems or change our mood. My favorite scents are orange to boost my energy, lavender to relax, and spearmint that invigorates the mind.
And dyes to give the soap a specific color that goes with its aroma. The dyes are unnecessary, but not using them results in a soap with a whitish-yellow tone.
Among the different types of natural soaps that you can buy are:
Dermatological soaps: Ideal for condition skin like acne. Ingredients used can remove excess oil that causes acne to appear, help close pores, and help minimize dark spots and scars' appearance.
Moisturizing soaps: With ingredients rich in natural fats that deeply moisturize the skin such as coconut, olive or hazelnut oil. With a glycerin base that is ideal for dry or scaly skin.
Anti-fungal soaps: Uses natural ingredients for specific medicinal purposes of treating skin conditions such as psoriasis or other fungal pathologies. It is recommended in these cases to consult a dermatologist first as it is a more complex problem.
Neutral soaps: They are not humectants; their strong anti-grease qualities remove all the fat and leave the skin dry, ideal for the kitchen, or people who work with greasy materials.
Liquid soaps: Does not use the cold saponification process, and liquid ingredients are chosen, giving us a soft lotion ideal for shared baths where it is a more hygienic option than bar soap.
Aromatic soaps: Ideal for aromatherapy and relaxation, the ingredients are selected, taking into account any problem you want to treat; the natural essences are usually floral, fruit, wood, or plant-based.
If you leave behind the commercial soaps and make the change to the natural ones, you will notice a difference in your skin's appearance after a few applications.
You also protect your skin from the chemical elements that commercial soaps contain, and that, in some cases, can cause allergic reactions on your skin.
If you use natural therapeutic or aromatic soaps, you will give yourself a healthy bath for your skin, but you will feel your skin soft and fresh.
I hope this post has helped you understand what natural soaps are, their composition, manufacture, types, and how good it is to change for this natural and environment-friendly option.