Soap; we lather up with it each time we shower and we (hopefully) use it whenever we leave the washroom or prepare food. But have you ever stopped to reflect on what it is you are actually cleaning your body with? Your skin is your largest organ and it is porous, meaning it absorbs everything it comes in contact with – are you treating it well?
If you are using commercial soaps you may be surprised as to what it is you are actually introducing to your body. These products may smell good and leave you thinking you are clean but hard truth is that the bulk of them are full of toxins. If you ever read the ingredients list when purchasing new health and beauty products you’ll notice that common soaps often contain harmful synthetic compounds such as parabens, phthalates, perfumes, and sulfates. Studies have shown that these ingredients can lead to a wide variety of health problems including dry skin, irritation, and allergies. Some of them have even been shown to cause cancer (Edward, 2016).
Aside from having a negative impact on your body these toxic commercial soaps also wreak havoc on the environment. They are usually mass produced leading to immense amounts of waste as a result of the production and packaging process (Vemb, 2015).
So what should we be using instead? Natural handmade soaps are a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative. They are created from all natural oils and ingredients such as arrowroot, beeswax, clays, flowers, aloe, and cocoa butter. This makes them very gentle and moisturizing, all while fully cleansing the skin. Natural soaps also tend to be cruelty free and are produced in small batches leading to less waste and environmental harm.
Where Can You Buy Natural Soap?
I highly recommend Crate 61 Organics natural soaps. They are not only all natural but are also raw, vegan, and local (assuming you’re in Toronto)! Another great choice is SoapWorks for tried and true natural soap.
Note: I do not recommend buying from LUSH as they use parabens and a host of other synthetic chemicals in almost all of their soaps. This is really deceiving considering that they are ethically produced. Read the ingredients people!
Interested In Making Your Own Natural Soap?
Making your own soap has become a recent trend. Not only is it eco-friendly but it is very simple and affordable too. The “melt and pour” method is what I have found to be the best way to make your own soap.
You will need:
- A natural soap base
- Essential oils
- Rubbing alcohol
- A spray bottle
- A heatproof (i.e. ceramic or glass) pot
- A saucepan
- A soap mold (silicone bakeware works great!)
- Optional: dried flowers, oatmeal flakes, coffee grinds, or other pretty things to put inside
- Optional: natural colours from ingredients like beetroot powder, spirulina, cacao powder, charcoal, or turmeric
- Cut the soap base into small cubes if necessary (about one square inch)
- Simmer about an inch of water in the saucepan
- Put the soap base in the heatproof pot and then set the heatproof pot inside the saucepan
- Add your colourings to the soap base as it is melting and stir it gently
- Spray the soap mold with a bit of rubbing alcohol
- Once the soap base is completely melted, add your essential oils and stir it gently
- Spray alcohol onto the soap base to get rid of any air bubbles
- You can place any solid ingredients you have such as dried flowers into the mixture at this time. It is up to you whether you want to place them neatly on the mold, add them to the mixture, or sprinkle them on top at then end
- Pour the melted soap into the mold (if you haven’t already!)
- Let sit for 30 minutes to cool and harden
- Remove the bars of soap from the mold
Note: To get creative try making different coloured soap bases and layer them into the same soap bar.
- Vemb. C. (2015, June 4). Natural Soap Vs Commercial Soap. Retrieved from https://www.pulpandpress.com/natural-soap-vs-commercial-soap/
- Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DABFM. (2016, February 3). The Benefits Of Organic Soap. Retrieved from https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-organic-soap/