Artisanal Soap: Expectations vs. Reality

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Artisanal soap is so good! It is completely different than the mainstream stuff you buy at the supermarket, trust us on this. But are your expectations being met?

First, let us start by defining soap. The FDA states that: "To be regulated as “soap,” the product must be composed mainly of the “alkali salts of fatty acids,” that is, the material you get when you combine fats or oils with an alkali, such as lye" source 

They further explain that "Ordinary soap is made by combining fats or oils and an alkali, such as lye. The fats and oils, which may be from animal, vegetable, or mineral sources, are degraded into free fatty acids, which then combine with the alkali to form crude soap. The lye reacts with the oils, turning what starts out as liquid into blocks of soap. When made properly, no lye remains in the finished product. In the past, people commonly made their own soap using animal fats and lye that had been extracted from wood ashes.

Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. Detergent cleansers are popular because they make suds easily in water and don't form gummy deposits. Some of these detergent products are actually marketed as "soap" but are not true soap according to the regulatory definition of the word."

Let's take a pause here...detergent cleansers? Detergent sounds like Dawn dish soap, right? Well, yes, Dawn soap is a detergent, so is the stuff you use for your laundry and most of the stuff available in supermarkets used for washing yourself. So it's no surprise your skin feels dry and flaky after using these products. Synthetic detergents or syndet bars are what most of us are used to.

So what about artisanal soap? This is what the FDA refers to as ordinary soap. A combination of fatty acids and certain alkali which results in beautiful skin loving soap.

Now that we got that out of the way, what are some of the usual expectations about artisanal soap?
  • It must be bubbly
  • Fragrance has to be nice and noticeable
  • Bar soap has to last in the shower
  • All skin issues will be solved 
  • There are no chemicals in artisanal soap
We'll break down each one of those in the upcoming blog posts...

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