This is Phil from The Organic Warriors. I’m going to take a bit of time to talk about the humble old bar of soap and specifically it’s metamorphosis and meteoric rise to stardom in these days of healthy products.
First, a Personal Story From Yours Truly.
I am a child of the 80’s. I was born in the 70’s but grew up in the 80’s. In those days everyone bought and used soap bars from the local supermarket chain of choice and my Mum was no different. I grew up in the Australian countryside with the good old ubiquitous Sunlight® soap bar in the laundry ready to wash grubby, dirty hands whenever required. The same soap bar was used to spot clean stains on dirty clothes. It was an all around winner. Simpler times…..lol. However, organic soap bars were not even on the radar at that time.
Shower time was not much different and we had packs of soap bars in the bathroom from the big brand names sold at every supermarket and corner store. As a youngster I always noticed how dry my skin would be after a shower. I knew it was something to do with the soap bar I was using but I wasn’t sure exactly how or why. What I didn’t realise at the time, and what I have learnt since, was mass manufactured soap bars were full of dubious ingredients and fillers. They are also manufactured in a way that is not conducive to a good healthy bar of soap because those methods strip the soap bar of its natural glycerine content. Natural glycerine being a substance that is very copacetic with our skin.
As I grew older, working in construction in Sydney, there started to be ads on T.V. about new liquid body washes for the shower and how they didn’t leave you dry because they were pH balanced. I thought, “Great! I’ll give these things a try and see how it goes,” which I did and I was very happy with the non drying effect of these body washes on my skin. I didn’t get that familiar tightening of the skin effect that the old soap bars used to do.
I remember telling my mate Adam that he should give these body washes a try but he responded that he preferred to use a natural soap bar. I thought he was a dinosaur stuck in the past and was missing out on that great feeling of non-dried out, post shower skin. Little did I know, he was actually ahead of his time. Now he’s just a dinosaur stuck in the present!
“Buy ’em out Son!”
Now I don’t want you to get the wrong impression when I say “mass manufactured.” At The Organic Warriors we have no ethical problem with mass manufacturing if it is done using quality ingredients and processes that lend themselves to the production of quality products that are healthy and beneficial to us, the end users, and that workers are given a fair go. I don’t think that is too much to ask.
It seems, however, that the ones producing the best quality products, including the best organic soap bars, are the little guys and gals dotted all over the world. The artisan producers. The small businesses who want to produce top quality products. I am sure that right now there is some organisation out there that is going to become a mass producer of quality organic and natural products.
If I were a betting man, and sometimes I am, my money would be on Amazon! But who knows? Someone might come out of left field. Or the more likely scenario? One of those big guys is going to realise that they are starting to miss out on some serious moolah and they will simply buy out the small businesses making the good stuff because the buying public are demanding better quality, healthy products. A La Coca Cola style, if someone is making waves and taking some of your market share…..”Buy ’em out son!”
Right now we have a situation where great little companies the world over are making fantastic natural and organic soap bars. These artisan producers are making soap with nothing but good intentions for the end user. Because of this they own businesses that are going gangbusters. And so they should be! A lot of them are making soap using the Cold Process method which, we at The Organic Warriors believe, is the best way to do it. Using the Cold Process method, the final bar of soap retains it’s natural glycerine content which is gentle and conditioning to the skin.
Although a Cold Process soap is safe to use within 24 – 48 hours after manufacture most makers will allow 4 to 8 weeks for each bar to become fully cured and ready for use before selling them. The aromas available from using essential oils to fragrance the soap are far superior to lab created synthetic fragrances. The laboratory boffins in white suits swear black and blue that their fragrances smell exactly the same as those produced in nature. They even have a term for their products to make them sound more impressive. They call them “nature identical!” Anyone with a nose on their face will gravitate to the natural scent over the lab scent and they will not particularly know why. I personally believe there is something in nature that can not be effectively replicated by the boffins at this point in time. No offence to any boffins reading! Boff on!
Certified Organic Soap Bars….
Some producers of organic soap bars will be certified and some will not. Some will use certified organic ingredients and others will use a combination of certified organic ingredients and natural ingredients. The certified organic products do have an air of greater trustworthiness but that is the subject of another post at another time. Suffice to say that great products can be found whether they are certified organic or not but the trustworthiness of a certification body’s stamp of approval can not be denied. That is because the certification bodies, of which there are several in Australia, conduct regular inspections and have strict compliance guidelines for manufacturers. The certifying bodies are also held to account by a government department. In Australia it is the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (DAFF). In the United States it is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Unlike the united states who only have one organic certifying body, USDA Certified Organic, in Australia there are seven certifying bodies authorised by the DAFF.
The United States Certifying Body
The Seven Australian Certifying Bodies
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry in Australia is particularly rigid with regard to topically applied products that will be exported to overseas markets. Even more so than with products for sale only inside Australia. The Australian government has identified that this burgeoning trade with overseas countries is worth a lot to the Australian economy and they desperately want to maintain Australia’s excellent international reputation for very clean, high quality products. That means that you, the consumer, can rest assured in the fact that the certifying bodies and the Australian government will be keeping manufacturers honest.
You Still Have to be Careful….
Unfortunately, you still have to be careful when you see the term “organic”. As Hugo Saavedra, the founder of Hugo Naturals, said in a 2013 article on INC.COM,
“The truth is the FDA does not regulate the industry at all.” Chemicals, such as phenol (found in coal tar, and heavily restricted in Canada and the EU), are used in skin products and advertised as organic in the U.S., Hugo says.
“The word organic is being corrupted in America. People use it as a marketing tool, and companies use it to confuse the consumer.”
At the end of the day, YOU have a personal responsibility to become as informed as you can be. We understand that can seem like a time consuming task and it is somewhat. There is an ocean of information out there and it becomes overwhelming sifting and sorting to find the truth but it is worth it.
At The Organic Warriors we sincerely want you to have the BEST products that we know of. We will always strive to deliver that to you. That is why either Nashua or myself, or both of us, will use every product before we recommend them in our Reviews section. Those recommendations may well change over time if we discover products that we consider better.
Phil and Nashua,
Founders of The Organic Warriors.