Pure Natural Soap
soap: a substance used for washing and cleansing purposes, usually made by treating a fat with an alkali, such as sodium or potassium hydroxide, and consisting chiefly of the sodium or potassium salts of the acids contained in the fat.
Unless you are a chemist, even an amateur one, you probably have no idea how to go about making soap from this definition. Which is fine. There are lots of pure, natural soaps out there.
First off, let me say, the term natural soap is kind of a mistake. All “soap” by definition is natural. It’s made from natural ingredients. All the things you need to make soap can be obtained via natural means as well. Vegetable and animal matter are mixed with alkaline materials. All of which occur in nature without any help from humans. Pure and natural soap is closer to what I think most people mean. Not a lot of chemicals.
The key to pure and natural soap, is what natural ingredients are used. For our purposes here, I’m going to say a natural soap is a soap that has pure beneficial ingredients.
Most off the shelf bar soap contains more of the chemically reactive ingredients. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Hydroxide being two examples of these types of ingredients. This type of ingredient causes the bubbles in soap. The reaction between these ingredients and the oils used to make the soap create the bubbles that carry the dirt away.
Natural soaps should also contain things to help your skin. The biggest problem with lots of lather in a soap is that it dries out the skin unless beneficial oils are included. Essential oils of many varieties should be included in a good natural soap, depending on what benefits you are looking for.
Lavender Oil is a wonderful ingredient to include in a natural soap. If you are looking for a good soap to balance out the oils in your skin, this should be one of the main essential oils included in your soap. It’s lovely fragrance helps to alleviate stress and encourage relaxation. Perfect for the little ones right before bed.
Citrus oils (Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit) all help to tone and brighten the skin. Vitamin C is great for your skin. The fragrance of one or more of these mixed together in a soap is a bright and sunny start to any day. Especially effective for those that suffer from Seasonal Effective Disorders. Also good for use in the kitchen when you need to get those nasty food smells off of your hands. One thing to remember when using citrus oils, they do tend to dry out oily skin, so include plenty of moisturizers in the soap or a good body lotion in the regime.
Oats and Oat milk in soaps has a soothing effect on rough, dry and damaged skin. Not to mention the smell of a nice oatmeal cookie is always welcome.
Minty oils (spearmint, peppermint, etc.) have somewhat of an astringent effect, while also stimulating blood flow and helping clear the sinuses.
Now this is all just regarding the way you want your soap to smell and the benefits of the different types of oils when added to the soap. Next time we’ll tackle the types of oils used for the main part of the soap. The “meat” of the soap, if you will. The different types of oils used and the other ingredients included at the top of the list, when they are listed quantitatively. And then, we will move on to French Milled Soap.