The next time you’re searching for soap you’ll want to take a closer look at the ingredients and manufacturing process of the bars located at your local grocery store. A large quantity of soaps contain unsavory ingredients that aren’t good for your skin! In fact, many manufactured bars of soap are loaded with chemicals that cause irritation and dryness. Instead of picking up one of these conventional bars, you should opt for a bar of cold-processed soap from a company that uses natural ingredients. Cold-processed soaps often use clean ingredients like olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils, and they are often vegan. Companies that use the old-fashioned method of cold-processing soap typically make products that are better for your skin.
What is Cold-Processed Soap
You might hear soap makers, especially artisan crafters, say their soap is cold-processed. This method of soapmaking uses no external heat source, rather it relies on heat generated by the chemical reaction between the acids (oils) and the base (sodium hydroxide). Natural glycerin is a by-product of soap production that occurs when the bases and acids react. Glycerin just happens to be a wonderful skin moisturizer. In cold-process soapmaking the glycerin remains in the soap making it super moisturizing. Cold-process soapmaking results in a much creamier bar of soap, which can leave skin feeling great. Why aren’t all bars made this way? We’ve all heard of triple-milled or French triple milled soap, these bars tend to be rock hard and have a smooth polished finish. While this sounds great, the problem is that the natural glycerin in the soap gums up the milling and pressing operation. The solution for makers of mass produced soap is to remove the glycerin. They sacrifice the skin nourishing benefits to produce these polished gems. They also benefit by selling the glycerin they removed from the soap for other skincare products.
Additionally cold-processed soap is a time consuming method of production. The soap must cure and harden, which is obviously not ideal for mass production.
Commercially Produced Soap
Most of the soap found in supermarkets is processed in huge vats (kettles) and relies on heat to speed up the chemical reaction. Many of these bars rely on synthetic hardeners, whiteners, preservatives, colorants and fragrances…not exactly what comes to mind when you think of the word “clean”. Also, in order for the milling and molding to work, the naturally occurring glycerin must be removed. The manufacturer then has the option of selling the glycerin for use in other skin care products, or adding some back in the final stage of production.
Most consumers don’t realize that manufacturers remove the natural goodness of glycerin from their triple-milled and highly processed soap, because unless you are in this business, how would you know the subtleties of these two very different methods of production.
Companies Doing it Right
The good news is there are still many small soap companies out there making cold-processed soap! One in particular, is Potager Soap Company, which is located in Concord, Massachusetts. Potager creates handmade natural soaps with certified organic ingredients using the cold-process method. This process assures customers that each bar of soap provides maximum moisturizing and aromatherapeutic benefits.
Next on our list is The Natural Soap Company, located in Norfolk, UK. Their founder Sara Phillips tried soapmaking and never looked back. Her company makes handmade soaps the old-fashioned way, and they sell their bars at retail and wholesale.
Finally, The Two Bits Man has created a natural soap for burly men with beards. This Minnesota company has an assortment of natural products, and they are known to use organic ingredients.
What to Take Away
Now that you know the difference between hot or kettle process, and cold-process soapmaking, it’s time for you to take ownership of what you put on your skin. Using quality products on your body is extremely important as it can have a long-lasting effect on your health. Eliminating soaps made with synthetic ingredients from your daily routine is a great place to start if you’re searching for ways to improve your self-care routine.