What's the big deal about handmade, artisan soap?

What's the big deal about handmade, artisan soap?

Why should you, the person standing in the shower, care about what bar soap you use on your skin?

Well, let's dive in!

A lot of commercially made bar soaps use a process called milling, in which soap flakes are pressed through large, expensive machine rollers. During each pass, other ingredients are added, which can include harsh ingredients like sulfates and fragrance oils. They are usually less expensive because the cost to make mass quantities by commercial companies is less than a handmade, artisan soap. While these commercial bar soaps can last a very long time due to their process, a quality artisan soap can also last a long time!

So why choose handmade soap?

1. They can also be super long-lasting!

Artisan, handmade soaps require at least 4-6 weeks to cure (some up to 6-12 months!), which means the soap finishes saponifying (turning from lye, water, and fatty acids into soap crystals and glycerin), loses excess water weight, and develops its crystal structure. While the soap is safe to handle after the first 24-48 hours, it requires this curing time to create a harder, longer-lasting bar of soap with a better lather.

2. Better ingredients

Also, handmade, artisanal soap usually containers better ingredients than commercially milled soaps. Looking for a soap maker (like myself) that chooses botanical ingredients for colorants and fragrances can help you get the most natural bar of soap. (This is also a reason that I choose to use only essential oils to give fragrance to my soap!)

Commercially made soaps can actually be detergents instead of true soaps; they may contain sulfates or surfactants (though not all are bad), triclosan, or parabens instead of strictly soap.

3. Handmade soap can be more moisturizing

Depending on the recipe, oils used, and superfat (amount of oils that remain untouched by the lye), handmade soap can in fact feel very moisturizing. A by-product of the process of making soap is glycerin, which is a very moisturizing ingredient that attracts water to the skin. Commercially milled soaps are specially created with the glycerin content removed.

4. Unique product

Every batch made by a hand is going to be different - that's just the nature of it. This may seem like a problem, but it's really a benefit of purchasing handmade soap! Each bar is unique, just like yourself, and is specially handcrafted by a soap maker. Commercially made soap usually lacks the special details of handmade artisan soap (such as botanical decorations, nice swirl designs, or special ingredients for exfoliation).

5. Better for the environment

Handmade bar soap is virtually harmless to the environment since it contains natural ingredients and breaks down easily as it enters the water cycle. It also usually contains less and/or more eco-friendly packaging, so you're automatically using less plastic!

What's your favorite reason for using handmade bar soap? Drop a comment below - I'd love to hear it!

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