Soap is a common household item that most of us use daily to clean our hands and bodies. While we may not think much about it, the type of soap we use can have a big impact on our skin and the environment. In this blog, we will explore the differences between handmade soap and commercial soap, including their histories, ingredients, benefits, and environmental impacts.
History of Handmade Soap
Handmade soap has a long history dating back to ancient civilizations, where it was made from a variety of natural ingredients such as olive oil, lye, and water. These ingredients were mixed together and left to cure for several weeks to create a bar of soap. Handmade soap was initially used for cleaning, but it was also believed to have medicinal properties and was used to treat a variety of skin conditions.
Today, handmade soap is still made using traditional methods, but it is also made using modern techniques and a wider range of ingredients. Many soap makers still use natural ingredients such as essential oils, herbs, and plant-based oils to create unique and nourishing soaps. Handmade soap is often made in small batches, which allows for more attention to detail and a higher level of craftsmanship.
History of Commercial Soap
Commercial soap, on the other hand, has a relatively shorter history. The first commercial soap was made in the 1800s by a man named William Procter and a man named James Gamble. They mass-produced soap using a combination of animal fat and wood ash, which they marketed as a way to clean and freshen the skin.
Since then, commercial soap has evolved to include a wide range of ingredients and types, including liquid soap, bar soap, and hand sanitizer. These soaps are typically made in large factories and are mass-produced for distribution to stores and other outlets.
Key Differences Between Handmade and Commercial Soap
There are several key differences between handmade and commercial soap that are worth noting. The first difference is the way they are made. Handmade soap is typically made using traditional or modern techniques in small batches, while commercial soap is made in large factories using mass-production methods.
Another difference is the ingredients used. Handmade soap is often made with natural ingredients such as essential oils, herbs, and plant-based oils, while commercial soap can contain a wide range of synthetic ingredients, including fragrances, preservatives, and harsh chemicals. These synthetic ingredients can be harsh on the skin and potentially harmful to the environment.
Ingredients Used in Handmade Soap
Handmade soap is made with a variety of natural ingredients that are chosen for their specific properties and benefits. Some common ingredients used in handmade soap include:
- Essential oils: Essential oils are plant extracts that are known for their therapeutic properties and pleasant aromas. They can be used to add fragrance to handmade soap and can also provide specific benefits such as skin-nourishing properties or anti-inflammatory effects.
- Herbs: Herbs can be used in handmade soap to add color, fragrance, and skin-nourishing properties. Common herbs used in soap making include chamomile, lavender, and rosemary.
- Plant-based oils: Plant-based oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and shea butter are commonly used in handmade soap because they are rich in nutrients and can help moisturize and nourish the skin.
Ingredients Used in Commercial Soap
Commercial soap can contain a wide range of synthetic ingredients, including fragrances, preservatives, and harsh chemicals. Some common ingredients found in commercial soap include:
- Synthetic fragrances: Commercial soap is often scented with synthetic fragrances, which are created using a blend of chemicals. These fragrances can be harsh on the skin and can potentially cause irritation or allergic reactions.
- Preservatives: Commercial soap may contain preservatives to extend its shelf life and prevent the growth of bacteria. These preservatives can be harsh on the skin and may be harmful to the environment.
- Harsh chemicals: Commercial soap can contain a variety of harsh chemicals, including sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureate sulfate (SLES). These chemicals are known to be harsh on the skin and can cause irritation or drying.
Benefits of Handmade Soap
Handmade soap offers a number of benefits over commercial soap. One of the main benefits is that it is made with natural ingredients, which can be gentler on the skin and more nourishing. Handmade soap can also be made with a variety of ingredients that are chosen for their specific benefits, such as essential oils and herbs, which can help improve the health and appearance of the skin.
Another benefit of handmade soap is that it is often made in small batches, which allows for more attention to detail and a higher level of craftsmanship. This means that handmade soap is often of a higher quality than commercial soap.
Benefits of Commercial Soap
Commercial soap has a number of benefits as well. One of the main benefits is that it is widely available and can be purchased at most stores. It is also typically less expensive than handmade soap, which makes it more accessible to a wider range of people.
Another benefit of commercial soap is that it is typically more convenient to use. For example, liquid soap is easy to dispense and can be used to wash hands and body, while bar soap is easy to travel with and can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks.
Environmental Impact of Handmade Soap vs. Commercial Soap
The environmental impact of handmade soap and commercial soap can also be a factor to consider when choosing which type to use. Handmade soap is often made with natural ingredients that are biodegradable and less harmful to the environment. In contrast, commercial soap can contain a variety of synthetic ingredients that may be harmful to the environment and may take longer to break down.
Furthermore, handmade soap is often made in small batches, which means that there is less of an impact on the environment in terms of energy and resources used in production. Commercial soap, on the other hand, is typically mass-produced in large factories, which can have a larger environmental impact.
In conclusion, handmade soap and commercial soap are two different types of soap that are used for different purposes. Handmade soap is made using traditional or modern techniques and is often made with natural ingredients that are chosen for their specific benefits. Commercial soap, on the other hand, is mass-produced and can contain a variety of synthetic ingredients that may be harsh on the skin and potentially harmful to the environment.
Both handmade and commercial soap have their own benefits and drawbacks, and ultimately the choice of which type to use comes down to personal preference and individual needs. It is important to consider the ingredients and environmental impact when choosing which type of soap to use, and to also be mindful of any potential allergies or sensitivities.