Purchasing handmade soap or lotion can seem like an extravagant expense, compared to their cost in the grocery store. However, there are some very significant differences in the quality of commercial versus handmade soaps and lotions. This blog post will attempt to explain some of those differences.
First, handcrafted soap is made in small batches by an artisan soap maker. Handmade soap is a combination of science and art, and can come in a variety of shapes, colors, scents and sizes. The artisan soap-maker can add specialty oils, healing herbs and spices, and other skin-loving products, that are rarely replicated in store-bought soaps. Glycerin is present in soap as a by-product of the soap-making process, and draws moisture into the skin, keeping it soft. However, because glycerin is valuable as a product by itself, commercial manufacturers of soaps remove the glycerin from the soap and sell it. The glycerin is replaced by detergents, which remove moisture from skin, drying it out. While detergents suds well, and will clean the skin, the skin feel of commercial soap versus handmade soap is significant. Handmade soaps have different amounts of suds and bubbles, depending on the type and amounts of oils used in the soap-making process. The qualities you want in the finished bar will guide the choice of oils in the soap. Some offer large bubbles, some offer creamy texture, and some create a hard and long-lasting bar of soap. The art of soap-making is creating a combination of oils and fats to provide the texture and qualities you desire. The benefit of small batch soap-making by an artisan allows for creation of combinations that address different skin needs and include more decadent and expensive oils not often used in commercial soap products.
Commercial lotion products, while they contain many skin-loving oils, also contain high levels of alcohols, which in turn dry out skin, causing you to need even more lotion! Handmade lotions and balms do not contain these alcohols. Handmade products include skin-loving oils and ingredients that will not draw moisture from the skin, and have soothing and emollient properties. The skin feel using handmade lotions is so different from commercial lotions that once you use a handmade product you will be reluctant to again use commercial products.
Though handmade products may initially seem decadent and costly, once you feel the difference in your skin, it will seem a small price to pay. Indeed, you will find it difficult to return to the commercial soaps and lotions you have used in the past!