Handmade Soap vs Commercial Soap, Whats the difference? This is a conversation that people always bring up when I'm selling at markets. Question: "what is the difference between the handmade soap we make and soap bought at a big retailer"? It's a great question and we love educating customers about the difference!
What's The Difference?
For starters, brand name soap companies are able to spend millions of dollars on marketing campaigns that can be very misleading. Many commercial soaps contain chemicals that help harden the soap, and foaming agents. They label these as natural when they are actually not even close.
Now be aware, even handmade soap may have many of these same chemicals added, so it's always best to do your due diligence. At Benjamin Roe we are very transparent with our ingredients and list them for all our soaps. Some people may have allergic reactions to particular fragrances, so we offer a variety of soaps using both essential and fragrance oils that are made specifically for use in soaps.
The Number #1 Difference Is Glycerin.
Handmade soaps contain glycerin which is a natural skin softener that attracts water from the surrounding air. Most commercial soaps will have this natural ingredient removed thus leaving your skin dried out. Instead of purchasing one product that can clean and moisturize, you will now have to purchase two products; soap and lotion. This is another way companies are able to increase their profits.
Handmade Soaps Use High Quality Fragrance
Many commercial soaps use chemical fragrances that are imitations of the real deal. Some of these chemicals can actually be skin irritants and known carcinogens.
With natural handmade soaps you are actually benefiting from not having these chemicals on your skin. In addition, some soaps use essential oils which have many great therapeutic properties. Soaps used with Tea Tree for example will have anti-inflammatory properties which is great for skin. With hand made soaps you are able to chose a soap based on your skin needs.
Handmade Soap Is Made The Old-Fashioned Way
Our ancestors knew what they were doing, and did it for thousands of years. Why would we need to change the process? Many of you may even remember your parents or grandparents making soap the "Old-Fashioned Way". Traditionally, handmade soap is made one of two ways. Either Hot-Process or Cold Process. Both end with the same result, but the method we use at Benjamin Roe is Cold Process. With this process Lye, (Sodium Hydroxide) is mixed with water, then blended together with oils (plant based). Fragrance oils are also added for their wonderful scents and skin loving properties. The mixture is put into a mold and goes through a process called Saponification. This process takes about 24 hours. Once this step is completed, the soap is removed from the mold, cut into bars, and placed on a rack to further cure for an additional 4-6 weeks. While it is a long process, the end results are worth it.
This method is in contrast to commercial bought soap. Commercial soap is formulated especially for large scale production in factories. They use ingredients/chemicals including both Sodium Isethionate (a foam enhancer) and Dipropylene Glycol (a chemical solvent).
Soap making is almost like baking, with many making the comparison because of the time and mixing of ingredients required. It's requires a certain amount of love and attention to make every batch.
The Oils Used In Handmade Soap Are Great for your Skin!
One of the best qualities about handmade soap is the preservation of oils that go into each bar of soap. When you put in Olive Oil into the mix, Olive Oil comes out. This is the same for Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Etc.. All the Fats, Butters, Oils maintain their skin loving qualities in the final product.
Handmade soapers like ourselves are able to modify recipes by means of different oils to produce particular characteristics and qualities in the soap without adding any chemicals. To make a harder bar of soap that will last longer we would add coconut oil. To make a soap more nourishing we would add sweet almond oil. Using multiple soaps creates a bar of soap that contains characteristics of each ingredient. Commercial soaps use chemicals to achieve this same affect when it's not needed.