What is the difference between Commercial Soap & Natural Soap?
Is there really a difference between a bar of soap that is bought from the grocery store and let's say, a nice handmade bar that you bought from a local farmer's market? Well, if you have ever done just that then you know the answer is a resounding yes!
Commercial bar soaps generally are produced on a large scale with harsh chemicals, synthetic ingredients, and cheap perfumes or fragrances which all can cause irritation to your skin.
Furthermore, commercially available soaps in most cases isn't really soap at all...it's a detergent. Detergents strip your skin of their natural oils which can leave your skin feeling dry and tight after a shower or bath. Natural, REAL soap on the other hand, that is acutally made with organic, plant based ingredients like Zen Soap, is created with an excess of plant oils in a process called "superfatting". This process along with the chemical reaction called "saponification" leaves a soap bar full of moisturizing, natural oils, and glycerin.
Glycerin is a humectant which draws moisture from the air to the skin creating a protective layer that helps prevent drying. Pair this with an excess of plant oils that are left over in the bar soap after saponification and you have an amazing, nourishing product.
Just look at the ingredient list of this commercially available bar soap. This is a common ingredient deck for cheap grocery store soap.
What exactly is "Superfatting"?
Superfatting is a term used by soap makers to express the value of unsaponified oils in the final bar of soap. In theory, a soap recipe with a 0% superfat will have 0% lye, and 0% oils left over in the final product. Rendering a bar of soap that is 100% soap.
A soapmaker that superfats his or her recipe with a 5% superfat will have a final product of 0% lye, 5% unsaponified oils (the base oils used in the recipe that did not get turned into soap), and 95% soap.
So, as you can see, superfatting not only assures the soapmaker that there will be no lye left over in the final product (which can burn skin), it also adds a moisurizing and nourishing element to the soap because of the unsaponified oils that were left over in the process.
What about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Phthalates, & Parabens?
First we need to define these terms and understand why they are used in commercial soapmaking.
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