Fearmongering in the Soaping Industry
Jessica Falcon

Have you seen that quarter moisturizing commercial? The one where they liken your skin to a piece of what looks like edible tissue paper, lay it on a bar of soap, and tell you soap will dissolve your skin like it did to this piece of paper. And how their 'beauty' bar is superior because a quarter of the bar is made with 'moisturizers'...

"Our bars won't strip your skin, like soap, because it's not soap, it's a moisturizing bar."

Well, they lied to you. Companies like that one, bank of the hopes that their comsumers are unaware of what soaps and cosmetics are made of, and what they SHOULD be made of. 

Let's take a look at what our "skin stripping soap bars" are made of. In every bar I make, this is the base, made from scratch in small batches:
1. Purified water
2. Pure olive oil- works as a humectant, drawing moisture to skin and conditioning the skin.
3. Coconut oil- this oil helps to create a hard cleansing bar with stable lather.
4. Shea butter- also creates a hard bar, but more importantly this butter has a high percentage of unsaponifiables, matter that can't be dissolved like the rest of the fats, allowed to linger in the bar creating a more conditioning bar.
5. Cocoa butter- also contributes to creating a naturally hard bar.
6. Food grade lye- (the one chemical needed to turn the oils into soap)
7. Sunflower oil- high in fatty acids, creating a conditioning and silky bar.
8. Organic sugar- a natural way to increase lather, and also increase the heat of the soap during the 'incubation' period, speeding up the gel phase.
*The glycerin (a natural humectant that is created from this chemical process, is never removed from the soap. It is a natural moisturizer, it literally draws water from air, and binds water molecules to skin helping skin to retain moisture. When I want to add fragrance, I use pure and natural essential oils, and when I want to add color and I use clay and other natural colorants. 
* Zero synthetic additives/fillers/hardeners, zero petrochemicals, zero parabens/preservatives, zero animal by products, zero sulfates/synthetic detergents, zero synthetic fragrances/colorants.


Let's take a look at what the big store brand's 'extra sensitive' bar is made of:

1. Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate- synthetic detergent
2. Stearic Acid- a naturally occurring fatty acid used as a humectant (moisturizers) but usually made from animal fats.
3. Sodium Palmitate- saponified palm oil (not so bad)
4. Aqua 
5. Lauric Acid- a Humectant. It's naturally found coconut oil. I think the main idea here is if most or all of the fatty acids are synthetized, this 'extra sensitive' bar will work for people who are allergic to all kinds of nut fats/oils. 
6. Sodium Isethionate- synthetic detergent
7. Sodium Stearate- saponified stearic acid, also naturally occurring in plants and animals, but probably synthetized as to avoid plant and animals.
8. Cocamidopropyl Betaine – a synthetic surfactant, creating a foaming lather. Derived from coconuts, but is too harsh and can dry and irritate skin.
9. Sodium Palm Kernelate – saponified palm kernal oil (good)
10. Glycerin – Humectant, an ingredient that should have already been present in the soap, not an additive.
11. Sodium Chloride – simple salt perhaps used to harden soap.
12. Zinc Oxide, a white mineral used as pigment. 
13. Citric Acid -probably used as a pH balancer, to help neutralize the high alkalinity of the bar.
14. Tetrasodium EDTA- a preservative made from ethylenediamine, formaldehyde, and sodium cyanide.
15. Alumina – synthetically produced aluminum oxide, an ingredient used as a bulking agent, as in, filler just to increase the volume of the formula. Also used as an anti-caking agent, so the other powders in the formula don't clump during the mixing process. 
16. CI 77891, titanium dioxide, a white mineral pigment.

I think the main idea here is if most or all of the fatty acids are synthesized, this 'extra sensitive' bar will work for people who are allergic to all kinds of nut fats/oils. But sensitive skin can have averse reactions to most of these synthetic ingredients.


'Soap will strip your skin. But our beauty bar won't because it's not soap'. -
1/4 moisturizing bar commercial. 

Technically. Their bar IS soap. So technically, their bar can strip skin too. The term 'soap' is meant for a water/fat/alkali product that 'cleanses' skin only. When the terms "moisturizing", "exfoliating", etc are used, these are cosmetic terms, and the soap is labeled as a cosmetic. Since technically the bar is a cosmetic, they are touting that their bar will not 'strip' because it is not soap. However, the very chemical reaction of naturally made soap creates glycerol; it's job is soley to draw in water and retain moisture, therefore soaps don't just cleanse, they inherently 'moisturize'. Cosmetic guidelines are faulty. To say a 'soap' can not be both cleansing AND moisturizing is contradictory to what soap actually is and does, and because of this word twisting, companies can use this is a selling point for customers who are unaware.

Scratchmade soap, when made right, will NOT strip the skin. It will in fact moisturize and help keep skin soft.