the science behind why hand-crafted soaps rock!
(and maybe some opinion based facts as well!)
before we even get into this article, lets clear the air a bit. most people have never used handcrafted soap before. check that… most people have never used soap before…. wait. what??
its true. if you look at a commercially produced bar of soap, like the ones sold at your favorite grocery store, you won’t find “soap” anywhere in the contents. what you will find is a bunch of chemical detergents, synthetic lathering agents and bar hardeners. all of which can be drying to the skin and is the number one reason people say, “i don’t like bar soap…”
i didn’t either.
until i tried it. real, handcrafted, beautiful bar soap…. so lets get into why it rocks.
first, i feel like i should start off by saying, all of our soaps are fantastic. and i’m not just saying that… really. milk soaps have their place in my shower, and i really enjoy them. but i’ll tell you…..my very favorite bar of soap for all times, hands down, has not one single drop of milk in it. you don’t need milk to make a fantastic bar of soap! you just don’t. don’t get me wrong, i also love milk soaps and they do have their benefits, but this article is about the pure bliss you get when you treat your skin to a hand-crafted bar of skin-loving awesomeness – – with or without milk!
my first science based fact lies more in sociology than anything, but it’s a valid reason why hand-crafted soap rocks. so here it is, ah-hem: its made the old-fashioned way. our ancestors knew what they were doing and they did it successfully for thousands of years. we follow the same tried and true technique. we mix lye with water and add it to unique blends of oils (depending on the outcome we’re trying to achieve) and viol! we let nature’s chemistry do its thing and when we’re ready, we cut and inspect each bar to make sure its up to our high standard. we test each batch with a sample cutting to ensure consistency. but don’t think that means they’re all “the same.” everything we do is by hand and we like the subtle differences in design and shape!
back to the science stuff… there are three different layers of skin. the outer layer (epidermis), the middle layer (dermis) and the lower layer (hypodermis—aka “the fatty layer”). each layer of skin has a specific function. the epidermis is responsible to be your base protection. think of a brick and mortar structure. layers of dead skin cells that are tightly woven together with a surrounding matrix of glycolipids that essentially waterproof your skin. special proteins then provide the mortar, or glue, that holds it all together. this combination keeps the stuff that’s supposed to be in… in, and the stuff that’s supposed to be out…out! sounds gross, i know, but its our body, so we might as well embrace it! the bottom portion of the epidermis is constantly creating new cells to replace the dead cells that sluff off throughout the course of the day.
random fact (#ididnotwanttoknowthat) the average person shed 1.6 pounds of dead skin per year!?!
anyway… the dermis resides right underneath the epidermis and has the lion’s share of your skin’s work load. its basically the hub of operation for everything your skin may need. it holds blood vessels, nerves, collagen and all the nutrients that the epidermis could possibly need to make new, radiant cells. these two layers work very closely together and contribute to your skin’s overall healthy appearance.
the hypodermis is mainly responsible for temperature control and is composed mainly of adipose tissue (cough cough… fat cells… cough cough). it insulates and acts like a shock absorber. our soap does not penetrate into this tissue and while it’s important to know it exists, it’s not important when we’re talking about our soap.
let’s go back to the epidermis for a minute. it does a fantastic job of keeping unwanted stuff out because most of the things traveling around the air are attached to tiny water molecules and remember those glycolipids that water proof our skin by repelling h2o???
well, guess what?
they don’t repel other lipids.
fats (aka lipids) are part of the glycolipid family. like a second cousin… twice removed. the fats (or oils) aren’t repelled and can penetrate deep into the layers of our skin. this is the main reason why all of our soaps, whether they are milk soaps or not, are super moisturizing and downright amazing! our unique blend of oils and silk proteins navigate through that brick and mortar structure of the epidermis pretty easily, which is important, because it means your skin will quickly absorb all of those beautiful nutrients! the more nutrients your skin has on hand, the less it will need to pull from the dermis. the less the dermis has to give up, the more it has on hand to make new skin cells strong and healthy! more nutrients equals soft, beautiful and radiant skin!
let’s talk about moisture for a little bit. at this point, i’m sure you’re feeling like, “i get it.. i get it…! the oils soak into our skin and bam. we’re moisturized. right??” well, that’s part of it…
meet glycerin. it’s a natural humectant. that means that it actually draws water molecules towards it and holds onto them. it is also a natural biproduct of making soap! if you have cold processed (or hot processed) soap, you also have glycerin soap! #twofer!
when oils and lye react, this is what happens: triglycerides (oils) + 3 molecules of naoh (lye) blend together and the magic of saponification happens. what comes out it is 3 molecules of soap and 1 molecule of glycerin, ish… as the soap oils penetrate deep, the glycerin settles itself in the outer layers of skin and draws excess moisture from your body towards it, keeping your skin nice and supple. it also allows the dead and dull cells to fall away gently, revealing radiant and fresh skin underneath!
pretty magical, right??
one of my favorite reasons that handcrafted soap rocks has to do with freedom and control. we have complete freedom with our ingredients. any because they are pure oils and butters, what goes in, comes out. we put olive oil in, we get saponified olive oil out (pssst! that’s the term that means “turned into soap”). mango butter goes in, mango butter comes out. hemp oil in, saponified hemp oil out…. wax on, wax off…..
because our ingredients are whole, their nutrient profiles remain intact. so if we build a bar packed with vitamin e or aloe vera, that’s exactly what you’ll get. we have complete control over the final bar of soap. and boy have we let that control go to our heads!! (in a good way!). we’ve created thoughtful soap with extra gentle oils for those with sensitive skin, we have bars formulated with extra bubbles and moisturizing oils to create shave and shampoo bars, we have bars built to be good for the face and so on. we can literally create anything! the only limit is our imagination!!
still unsure about trying our soap? email me and i’ll personally get you your very own sample bar.
check out more information on why handmade soap is so special by reading why we love goat milk soap!