What are the Benefits of Bar Soap?


Why Choose Bar Soap Over Liquid Soap?

Most liquid soaps are not true soaps; if you read the label closely you might notice the absence of the word soap (excluding the brand name).  This is a subtle clue that the liquid “soap” is not actually a soap.  Most liquid “soaps” are actually detergents, which are made with surfactants.  Surfactants are chemicals that allow oil and water to combine.  Washing your hands with water will remove the water soluble dirt on your hands, and if using soap it will combine with the oils on your hand and allow them to be washed away with the water also.  Both soap and detergents work on the same principle, the difference is detergents can be far more effective at combining oils and water, which isn’t always a good thing.  Some surfactants can be so effective at combining oils and water, that they can remove the oils that your skin naturally produces, which dries your skin after use.  If you want to be sure, just read the ingredient list.  If the ingredients appear to be words that only a chemist would recognize, then you are probably looking at a detergent.  Also, there are special rules for packaging soap, so if the word soap is not on the front of the label, then you probably aren’t looking at a bar of soap.  Beauty bar, bath bar, etc. all sound nice, but they may not actually be true soap.

Some people have this idea in their heads that bar soaps are drying, or harsh on your skin. While I guess this can be true, a well made bar of soap is far from this.  I think this idea comes from years ago when it was common to make your own soap with whatever you had on hand.  It was possible to make your own lye with wood ash, but it would have been difficult to control its consistency or strength with the tools available to most people.  Soap is by definition a chemical reaction that takes place between oils and lye (sodium hydroxide and water).  The sodium hydroxide molecules combine with the oil molecules to produce soap.  Whatever you do, you want to make sure that all of the sodium hydroxide molecules are able to react with the oil molecules. If not you would have some free sodium hydroxide molecules left in your soap which would most definitely irritate your skin.  It seems likely that many years ago soap was often made to be slightly lye heavy just due to the crude way that it was made and the low quality of the lye that was used.  In today’s world we have very precise scales readily available at low cost, and can also buy very high quality lye that is very consistent. There is no excuse for making lye heavy soaps any more. 

Qualities of Liquid Soaps

It is possible to make real soap in a liquid form.  I find something like this to be very convenient to use, and far superior to the surfactant based options that are sold at supermarkets everywhere.  A good quality liquid soap made with organic oils, and scented with essential oils can be very nice to use. The biggest drawback of liquid soaps is the limited ability to add extra oils into the liquid soap to provide some moisturizing qualities after you wash your skin. True liquid soaps can hold a very small amount of oils in solution before they start to separate with the oil collecting at the top or bottom of the container. It will mix back together if shaken, but will eventually separate out to its natural state.  There are surfactants you can add to the liquid soap to prevent this from happening, but than you no longer have a product that is made of pure soap. They can also offset the purpose of adding extra oils, which is less than ideal.  Without the additional oils liquid soap is not as moisturizing to the skin after rinsing.

Qualities of Bar Soaps

Bar soaps can be made with excess oils in the soap, which serves two purposes:

  • Extra oils ensures there is a surplus of oils to balance the chemical equation with the sodium hydroxide.  If well mixed, we can be assured that all of the sodium hydroxide will have reacted with the oils to produce soap. 
  • The extra oils also help to moisturize the skin after the soap is washed off.

There is a limit to how much extra oils you can include in the bar of soap as well, but that limit is much higher than liquid soap. If you are looking for a soap that will cleanse your skin, and leave it feeling smooth and soft afterwards there is nothing better than a bar of well made soap. Our soap is gentle, has a thick lather, is long lasting, and will not strip your skin of it’s natural oils.  Our soaps are made with USDA certified organic oils and all of our All-Natural soaps that have scent are scented with 100% pure essential oils, so you can enjoy some aromatherapy while in the shower!  Who knew a bar of soap could bring one so much joy?!

If you have strayed away from using bar soap because the last one you used dried out your skin, I would encourage you to give a well made soap a try…you just may be surprised!

Be careful though, it can be addicting.  Just ask any of our customers.

Treat yourself, LOVE your soap!


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