In order to understand why handmade soap is so good, you first have to understand what the difference is between soap and detergent. Second, you need to recognize and understand the ingredients. Third, you need to be aware that only true soaps can be labeled as soap, not a ‘beauty bar’ or similar. Last, you need to use it!
Soap is simply a ‘salt’ of a chemical reaction between the fatty acids in oils and a strong base like Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide. An additional product of this reaction is glycerin – one of the best skin moisturizers around. This reaction is called saponification and most hand-made soapmakers like us utilize the cold-process method to make our bar soap. Detergent is synthesized from a bunch of chemicals in various high-volume processes. It is typically made in very large manufacturing plants and represented as a Beauty Bar or Moisturizing Bar. Take Dove for instance – if you read the label carefully, you will see that it is called a Beauty Bar. How about Neutrogena? It is labeled as a ‘Face and Body Bar’.
Smile Soaps uses both Natural and Organic ingredients in our soaps. A typical Smile Soap bar contains both saturated (e.g., coconut, palm kernel, palm) and unsaturated oils (e.g., avocado, almond, castor, olive) as well as oils and butters well known for their skin moisturizing properties (e.g., jojoba oil, shea butter, cocoa butter). For our bar soap, we saponify these oils with a solution of sodium hydroxide and distilled water. Last but not least, we add essential oils (rarely, a fragrance oil), sometimes herbs like mint, or exfoliants like walnut shells, and allow our bars to cure for a minimum of 4 weeks before we sell them.
The FDA defines a cosmetic as: A COSMETIC IS A PRODUCT, EXCEPT SOAP, INTENDED TO BE APPLIED TO THE HUMAN BODY FOR CLEANSING, BEAUTIFYING, PROMOTING ATTRACTIVENESS OR ALTERING THE APPEARANCE. Sec. 201(i) FD&C Act. It defines soap as: every product marketed as soap meets FDA’s definition of the term. FDA interprets the term “soap” to apply only when –
- The bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the product’s detergent properties are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds, and
- The product is labeled, sold, and represented solely as soap [21 CFR 701.20].
Take Dove for instance – if you read the label carefully, you will see that it is called a Beauty Bar. How about Neutrogena? It is labeled as a ‘Face and Body Bar’. Look for ‘Soap’ on the package label to ensure that you are getting real soap!
Whether or not you try some Smile Soap is, of course, entirely up to you. If you end up not trying ours, we urge you to go by a local farmer’s market or craft show and pick up a bar or two of hand-made, natural soap. I can assure you that it is worth a try – your skin and mind will love you for it. Don’t forget a nice hand-crafted soap dish while you are at it!