What is natural soap?
Soap is a reaction caused between oil and water with the catalyst being sodium Hydroxide. Natural soap does not have any synthetic additives in it, unlike commercial brands. Natural soap may have other additives in it such as herbs, herbal infusions, milks and milk powders, crushed seeds, citrus rinds, fruits, vegetables and so on. In natural soap, there should only be additives which are beneficial to your skin which nourish your skin. If there is any colour, it should be derived from a completely natural source such as clays or spices and such.
Why should you care about natural soap? If you are wondering what the rash is or the scaliness and dryness or other phenomena is that you see on your skin, have you ever considered that it could be caused by the synthetics in the soap or body wash you are using? Many people who suffer from eczema claim that their problems cleared up when they started using natural soap, especially goat’s milk soap.
What makes handmade natural soap better than commercial soaps is that they are not drying. When made with high quality oils (such as extra virgin olive oil), there is a high level of glycerin. Glycerin in soap acts as a humectant which helps in making a soap moisturizing. The levels of high quality oils set it apart from commercial soaps in terms of moisturizing abilities, as does the addition of other ingredients such as vegetable butters, milk and so on. So when your doctor next says avoid using soap, remember that this is not a reference to natural soap but commercial soap, which is a completely different product.
If you have gone to the expense of buying natural soap, you should look after it properly. Store it in a stainless steel soap holder which allows air to circulate underneath it and at from the sides and in the shower keep it out of the stream of water.
At Momma Zen, there are regular cold process soap making workshops we together we make soap and you can learn about soap. Click here to see more details. Below are some of the soap that we make in workshops.
Shea butter facial soap
This soap is made from olive oil and a small percentage of castor oil and a large chunk of shea butter. Shea butter is a great moisturiser and so this soap is great for the face or sensitive skin in general. It also includes oatmeal and some rose petals. For a luxurious and joyful washing and for balancing the skin, I have included lavender, geranium and a touch of vetiver.
Rosemary and hemp soap
This soap is made from olive oil, a little castor oil and a generous amount of help seed oil. The olive oil is infused with nettle and rosemary essential oil is added for a enlvening, hair strenthening or antibacterial experience. Hemp seed and castor oil are great oils for strenthening hair and adding shine to hair. Rosemary is also great for hair and it, together with nettle helps prevent dandruff.
If you are going to use soap as a shampoo, the first few times, as soap is an alkaline and has a high ph, you will need to use a 25% concentration vinegar rinse. So wash your hair with soap, then use around 50ml of apple cider vinegar mixed with 200ml of water (or around this amount but 4 times as much water as vinegar) and rinse your hair. You can leave this on as the vinegar smell soon disappears, or leave it for a few minutes before rinsing.
This soap is formulated especially for the sensitive skins of babies. It is made from olive oil, rice bran oil and a little castor oil for foaming properties. It is made from goats milk to make it more suitable for baby's skin and contains a tiny amount of lavender oil just for a little aroma. It is also great for those with sensitive skins or conditions such as eczema. The goat's milk makes it a very moisturising soap.