Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Have You Ever Used Real Soap?

Have you ever used soap?  You may think you have, but are you sure? If soap leaves you dry, tight or itchy, then there is a good chance that what you have been using isn't soap.  Did you know that grocery store soap is not soap? 

Years ago, I remember being in a little shop that specialized in handmade soap.  I remember thinking, these are all very pretty, and they smell nice, but what is the big deal?  I thought, “A whole store full of just soap?  What a waste.  I can’t use soap anyway.  It makes my skin dry and itchy and bothers my psoriasis.”  So I patiently waited while the lady I was with browsed the selection and made her purchase. 

A few years later, I went to the doctor with my kids for psoriasis and eczema.  Our normal doctor was not in, and we needed to see a different doctor.  Like I always did, I asked this doctor what soap we should use.  I expected him to say Dove or Carress, like they normally did.  This doctor's answer made my jaw drop.  He said that if I knew anyone who made “old fashioned lye soap”, then we should use that.

I couldn't believe someone would recommend that!  I had heard stories about old fashioned lye soap and it sounded pretty awful.  I thought that lye soap was stinky and harsh and would eat your skin.  This doctor explained to me that today's handmade soaps are the most gentle soaps available.  He told me the bars I had been buying were not even soap at all.  Most were actually detergents. He explained how a true soap is very gentle and beneficial to skin, and detergents are not.  

If the only soaps you have used are the regular bars and body washes available in the grocery store, then you are washing with detergents.   Detergents are great for washing dishes, but not so good on your skin.  Have you ever used these bars and gotten that tight, dry, itchy feeling?  Try a true soap, and that dry itchy feeling will go away.   

Here are the ingredients of a leading bar made for sensitive skin.  There are a few nice ingredients in this list, but most are harsh synthetics or chemicals.
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Synthetic detergent), Stearic Acid (fatty acid), Sodium Tallowate (soap) , Water, Sodium Isethionate(Synthetic detergent) , Coconut Acid, Sodium Stearate (Synthetic detergent), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Synthetic detergent), Sodium Cocoate (Soap)  or Sodium Palm Kernelate (soap), Sodium Chloride (table salt), Titanium Dioxide (natural whitener), Sweet Almond Oil, Rosewood Oil (essential oil), Tetrasodium EDTA (water softener), Trisodium Etidronate(preservative), BHT (preservative), Cedarwood Oil (essential oil), Rose Oil (essential oil), Disodium Cocamido-MEA-Sulfosuccinate (synthetic detergent), Cetyl Alcohol (alcohol derived from fats), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E).

I have had multiple friends come to me and tell me my soaps are so pretty, they wished they could use them.  They said their skin was so sensitive or dry that they can't use soap.  I explained the difference between the detergents they were familiar with, and a true soap like mine, they would reluctantly give it a try.  Every time they have come back to me and told me how wonderful real soap felt on their skin, and how it even helped with whatever skin ailments they had.  

So have you ever used soap?  Read the ingredient list on whatever bar or body wash you use.  If you see things like this list, you are not using soap.  

Sodium Lauroyl isethionate       
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
ammonium laureth sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate
TEA Lauryl Sulfate
Cocoyl Isethionate
Sodium Isethionate
Ccamidoproply Betaine

Now read the ingredients of ANY handmade soap and compare.  If you have never used a handmade soap, then chances are you have never really used a real, pure soap.  You owe it to yourself to give it a try. 


  1. You're getting really good at this soap thing! They look wonderful, and what an interesting miter box.

  2. Thank you Tina. I am very happy with how this batch turned out. I think it is my best looking batch so far, with three completely different looks. It was my first time doing a fairly steep water discount. I usually do the full water amount which is usually about a 25% lye concentration. This one was a 33% lye concentration. I may try a 35% one next. Also, it was my first time using Chromium Oxide green. It is such a pretty green. :) What do you use to cut your soaps? This little miter box has been very handy. One day I would love one of those big professional cutters. But they are so expensive! So I will stick to my one bar at a time cutting for now.

  3. I use a wooden miter box as well, but it only has two slots (one narrow and one wider for a crinkle cutter) and is open at each end. My largest discount has been in the 33% range, so you are getting brave. I have used a lot of clays in the past for color and never wanted to discount more than that since clay absorbs water and can make a crumbly soap. I just subscribed to this. I thought I did that already, but apparently did it wrong.

  4. Tina, You may have been subscribed correctly at first. I changed the name of the blog slightly. Because it was confusing having a blog and a website store with such similar names. So I made this one Sego Lily Reflections. It may be a tad corney, but I like it, and it is different enough that I hope I won't confuse anyone.

    I'd like to try more clays for colorants. I have only used Kaolin clay so far. And it isn't for color cause it is not as pretty as other clays. But I do like how it feels in soap. I love how rose clays look in soaps. I'd also like to try some green clays of some kind. I will remember to discount less when I use clays. Thanks for the reminder.