Are All Bar Soaps The Same?

Are All Bar Soaps The Same?

You may have asked yourself this question for a number of reasons. Perhaps you’re a new parent and you’re curious about ingredients. Or perhaps you have sensitive skin and you’d like to know if one soap is better than the other. No matter what the reason, the answer is “No.” Not all bar soaps are the same. Here are a few key points to remember about bar soaps that you may not be aware of:

    • Not all bar soaps are true “soaps”. If you have fats combined with lye, or sodium hydroxide, then you have a soap. Otherwise, it must be called something else (like Dove’s “Beauty Bar” or other “Syndet” bars”. Syndet is short for Synthetic Detergent.)
    • Bar soaps vary widely in their ingredients. Some use rendered fat from slaughtered animals as their primary ingredients. Most use palm oil, a plant-based saturated fat found in everything from foods to cosmetics. Still others use synthetic emulsifiers or fragrances which do not have to be revealed to the consumer.
    • Bar soaps are manufactured using a variety of techniques. Triple-milled soaps are manufactured using a process perfected in France, which involves the use of machinery to mix, compress and shape the bar soap. Other soaps are made by hand using either a cold process or hot process method. Still others are made using “melt and pour” bases which contain alcohols and other ingredients.
    • While there are many soaps out there claiming to be “age-defying”, etc., chances are that the ingredients do not touch your skin long enough to have any real benefit. The real purpose of bar soap is to clean.

    Confusing? It can be. For example, it was once common to see many antibacterial bar soaps on store shelves. What made them antibacterial? It was usually the use of the ingredient Triclosan, which has been much maligned recently for its possible implication in bacterial resistance, pollution of our waterways, and other issues. Essentially, the best way to eliminate pathogens is by washing hands properly with plain soap and water.

    Where Can You Start?

    You can begin by listing the qualities of bar soap that you are looking for. Do you want a product that is made in the U.S.A.? Do you want it to be free of synthetic perfumes, dyes and preservatives? Do you want it to be free of animal ingredients? Do you want it to be biodegradable/safe for the environment? By knowing which properties you want in a bar soap, you can quickly narrow down the list of products that fit the bill. If you would like to explore our line of botanical bar soaps, please go to the bar soaps page in our webstore.

    You may, in fact, end up using different products to cleanse different parts of the body – like an oil or cream cleanser for the face and bar soap for everything else. The choice is yours. Once you understand how bar soaps differ in terms of ingredients and their degree of cleansing, you can make a more educated choice that is in sync with your needs and values as well as your wallet.

    Smithsonian article on why you should stop using antibacterial soap
    The Beauty Brains article about different surfactants

Lavender Tea Tree Body Balms group of four

We’ve received many compliments on our body balms, but some might be wondering just what a balm is. Other common names are “salve” or “cream” depending on who you ask. Essentially, a balm is a waterless cream designed to soothe, heal, and/or protect in some way. Because they don’t contain water, little to no preservation is required. We help the oils retain their potency with the help of Vitamin E and rosemary resin. We are very proud of our balms, which do all three and serve multiple functions. We’d like to list some of them below:

1) Facial moisturizer

– Our balm is non-comedogenic and can be applied directly to the face as a spot treatment for dryness before makeup, or at night before bed. A little goes a long way. Balms are particularly good for individuals with normal to dry skin.

2) Hair and scalp conditioner

– For those with dry, flyaway hair, the balm helps to coat the hair shaft. Ingredients like shea butter, olive and sweet almond oils quickly add moisture and shine. A little can be massaged into the scalp to soothe itching and irritation. Again, a little goes a long way.

3) Bug repellent

– A number of essential oils like lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus are effective bug repellents. Peppermint and neem oils are also effective against pests. We use only pure essential oils, not fragrance oils, in our balms. Fragrance oils do not contain the same botanical properties as essential oils.

4) Lip gloss

– Why buy a separate product when a balm will do just as well? Use it alone over your favorite lipstick for a little shine. It also soften and protects lips with candelilla wax and castor oil.

5) Cuticle cream

– Soften and protect dry nails and cuticles throughout the day. At bedtime, you can enhance the softening effect by smoothing balm on dry hands and donning cotton gloves. In the morning, your skin will be super-soft!

6) Barrier balm

– Smooth on one of our balms on your hands before washing dishes or working in the garden to protect skin and nails from harsh chemicals and other irritants. Excess water can cause nails to thin, while detergent cleaners can leave skin dry. Balms are a quick solution that repel water for optimal protection.

7) Natural lubricant

– Instead of synthetic-based products, you can try an all-natural and sustainable alternative to help relieve chafing, diaper rash, cradle cap and other skin conditions. Re-apply as needed.

8) Skin Salve

– Use a little balm to soothe insect bites, razor burn, athlete’s foot and other skin irritations. Our Ache-Relief Balm can help reduce redness and inflammation. Apply 3-4 times and as needed for immediate relief.

9) Bear balm/hair groom

– Our balm is fine for the guys as well. Use to condition hair and soften an itchy beard. It’s great for protecting skin after shaving.

10) Wood/shoe/bag conditioner

– Yes, our balms work on wood, shoes and bags! Just rub a little onto the item with a soft cloth. It leaves a protective shine and conditions without the need for toxic sprays or expensive finishers and petroleum or animal-based waxes.

Perhaps you will think of other uses for our balms. If you do, please let us know.