This post today is specifically for our countrymen and women in the great land down under, Australia. Our apologies to anyone reading from other corners of the globe. There are a LOT of natural and organic soap producers to choose from in the United States and Canada. The industry here has long been established but not as well utilised as the U.S. or Canada so to the Aussies reading we say, “Come on, it’s time to get into natural soap Australia!”
We have some fantastic producers of wonderful natural soap here in Australia. They are scattered over all states and territories and it is time we all do something good for ourselves by using their products and forgetting about the dodgy stuff that is usually sold in the supermarkets.
What is Natural Soap?
First things first. What is natural soap and what makes it different to most commercially mass produced soap? The answer is quite simple actually. Soap needs to be made from fat. The fat can come from plants, for example olive, coconut, and castor oils…..or it can come from animals. When it comes from animals it is known by different labels but the most commonly recognised label would be “tallow.” Commercially produced soap will have all manner of synthetic and naturally derived additives and preservatives.
A good natural soap will be made entirely of plant derived oils (fats). It will ideally be produced using the cold process method, which will retain the natural glycerine content of the plant oils, and will take anywhere from 4 – 8 weeks to properly cure. It is a sad indictment on the state of society at this time, but you still have to beware of soaps claiming to be natural as they may not be truly natural.
As mentioned previously, a good natural soap, such as those made by Scrumpy Soap Company , Sparrow Soap, Clear Conscience Soap Company, and Ilo Organics will be made entirely of plant derived oils. For example, here is the ingredient list for Scrumpy’s 100% natural “Aloe Vera & Cucumber” soap bar:
Saponified Olive, Coconut, and Castor Oils; Chlorophyll, Organic Cucumber & Aloe Vera.
That’s it! We think you would agree that is a very simple ingredient list. We would challenge you to go and take a look at the list of ingredients on any bar of soap you buy from the supermarket or shops in the shopping centre. We bet you will be surprised.
Why Should I Bother With Natural Soap?
That’s a good question and it is often coupled with an opinion that permeates a lot of society these days. That opinion is something along the lines of, “All those natural and organic products don’t work properly.”
Have you thought that before? Do you still hold that belief to be true? Many, many people do. This authors’ mother only recently uttered something similar during a phone conversation. “Sacré bleu!” as the French would say. But my, how she changed her mind after she used some natural soap she had received for Christmas. It was the first time she had ever used a completely natural bar of soap.
After only two uses she messaged espousing the wonders of the miraculous soap. She’d had a patch of dry skin between her shoulder blades for years which had cleared up after just two uses of the soap. Did I hear someone say, “New Convert?”
The bar soap that was responsible for the miraculous healing, and the even more miraculous conversion to natural products, was a Wild Bush Lime, Vitamin C Bar from a boutique producer of EXCELLENT natural soaps in our state of Western Australia called Scrumpy Soap Company. Scrumpy produce fantastic, 100% natural cold processed bar soaps. They use organic ingredients in some of their soaps.
Our aggressive attack dog Snowy always gets a bath with Scrumpy Doggy Soap.
We do not even need conditioner after using Scrumpy Doggy Soap. On a recent visit to our vet she commented how good Snowy looked and asked if we were getting her professionally groomed!
In the interest of full disclosure, here at The Organic Warriors we think it is important to point out that, unfortunately, we will NOT receive any commissions from our promoting of Sparrow Soap, Scrumpy Soap Company, Clear Conscience Soap Company and Ilo Organics. We simply think they deserve the plug for making great products. Geez we are nice aren’t we?
Back to the Original Question…..
But we digress. We got a little off track there so back to the original question. Why should you bother with natural soap? You should use natural soap BECAUSE;
It is not full of questionable ingredients which are so often the cause of skin irritations……and who knows what else? A lot of people these days know that the skin is the largest organ of the body. It absorbs what you put on it into the bloodstream within a few seconds. Some additives make other ingredients more absorbable than they would normally be. Unfortunately for users of commercial soaps that means they will be more susceptible to dry and irritated skin. Hopefully those will be the only problems encountered!
There is controversy surrounding all of the ingredients that are about to be listed. This means that for every person who points out that there is a problem with an ingredient, there will be a person with a contrary point of view. The controversy may be based on animal cruelty, environmental, or personal danger reasons.
There will always be the smarty pants out there who points out that there are natural substances that are harmful. For example, asbestos is a naturally occurring substance that has been proven to be very harmful to people. Oleander leaf will poison a person if ingested in a tea, there are poisonous mushrooms, and ricin, which occurs naturally in castor beans, is the stuff that James Bond secret agent types use to kill people with spikey pointed umbrellas!
At The Organic Warriors we take the stance that if an ingredient has been consistently linked to problems and brought into question it’s simpler to use a natural alternative that has been proven through time to cause no harm.
The Ingredients. (of DEATH!) 😉
Yes, we are just being dramatic with that headline……or are we? Following is a list of just a few of the questionable ingredients that can be found in commercial soap.
Titanium Dioxide: Is used as a whitening agent in food, soap, and is the ingredient in sunscreen that “prevents” you from getting sunburnt. We won’t delve into the sunscreen debate here but, wow, it’s a big one! For the purposes of use in soap, all you need to know is that there are questions about the ultrafine or nano particle titanium dioxide being a carcinogen (causes cancer.)
Stearic Acid: Is a naturally occurring fatty acid which is often sourced from the rendered fat of farm and domestic animals. From Wikipedia: “Rendering is a process that converts waste animal tissue into stable, value-added materials.” Hmmmm.
Fragrance: This is a tricky one. Fragrance is used as a blanket term for the synthetically produced aromas, also known as phthalates, that are used in all kinds of products that smell “nice,” including commercial soap. Other products include perfume and cologne, washing liquid and powder, and body wash to name but a few.
Sodium Tallowate: This is the sodium salt of cow fat. It will bind to dirt but also to your skins natural oils and rinse them away with the waste water. You get dry, irritated skin when your natural oils are stripped away.
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate: This is a synthetic chemical that is used as a detergent and an emulsifier that dries the skin and has no skin benefits. An emulsifier is something that keeps liquid droplets, that are not soluble with each other, from separating. An example would be oil and water. When they are put in the same container the oil separates to the top. An emulsifier will stop the oil and water from separating keeping them together in suspension.
Paraben: Is a synthetic preservative that has been linked to abnormal breast development and with altering production of thyroid hormones.
Triclosan: Triclosan is an anti-bacterial cleanser. These types of anti-bacterial chemicals have been linked to an increase in bacterial resistance. You would most likely have seen or read news stories about super bugs over the past few years. In fact, in 2016 the FDA in the U.S. banned both triclosan and triclocarban, which effectively banned anti-bacterial liquid and bar soaps in The United States.
Looking After Natural Soap.
Natural soap requires a little more TLC (Tender Loving Care) than commercial soap. Commercial soaps have all manner of additives that keep the bar solid. Natural soap needs to be kept dry between uses or it will get all soft and gooey (Butters from South park would not approve!), and it will begin turning into a clear gel like mess. If this happens your soap will have a much shorter lifespan as you will use much more because it is so soft. You should not leave it in a little puddle of water in your shower or on the vanity. It must be well drained. The best way to achieve that is to store it on a shower caddy or soap rack / holder.
Another good tip to make your natural soap last longer is to use a shower puff or natural bath sponge. The puff or sponge will make a really good lather with only a small amount of your soap making it go a lot further. More bang for your buck. That’s always a good thing.
Phil and Nashua,
Founders of The Organic Warriors.