We generally refer to anything that we use to clean our hands, hair, bodies, etc... as soap. But the truth is that most of the products we use aren’t really soap. The FDA has strict guidelines about what can be labeled a soap. If it doesn’t meet the standards then the product is actually a detergent. What’s the difference?
"Detergents are petroleum based products..."
Let’s start with detergents. Detergents are petroleum based products that use alcohol to clean and disinfect. Foaming agents are included to produce the bubbles that people associate with clean and preservatives are used to make sure the product doesn’t spoil. Since many of these added chemicals don’t smell very good, strong artificial fragrances are used to cover up the odor. All these added chemicals strip the skin of it’s natural moisture and often cause allergic reactions. But don’t worry, the big cosmetic companies will sell you a lotion to relieve the irritated skin they just caused. How nice of them :)
Real soap is made of by treating fat with a solution called lye. Lye, also known as sodium hydroxide (NaHO) or potassium hydroxide (KOH), is a naturally occurring strong alkali that is reclaimed from the ashes of hard wood trees. The process for turning oil and lye into soap is called saponification. In this reaction oils are broken down into fatty acids and then combined with lye to make soap. During this process glycerin is liberated from the oil. Glycerin helps keep skin moist and soft. Some cosmetic companies strip out the glycerin and sell it at a premium to be used in lotions and moisturizers.
"It's about more then just the scent."
All "real" soaps are based on a fat. Some are vegetable based. You will see ingredients such as olive oil, coconut, palm, or avocado oil. Other soaps are based on animal fat, referred to as tallow or sodium tallowate. Basically the difference between margarine and butter. Both have their benefits. The biggest difference we find from trying the products we carry at WCS is that your skin just feels better than some of the big brands you see at the drug store. It's about more than just the scent. It's about having clean, healthy skin that isn't dried out.
As with the the food we put in our bodies and the soap we use on them, it's a good idea to read labels. When you see natural products like olive, coconut, etc. then you know you are using good stuff. When you see too many chemicals like sodium sulfate, Ammonia, or artificial fragrances—you know you are dealing with detergents.
We carry a lot of great soaps to try like Level Naturals, Captian's Choice, Mitchell's Wool Fat, Izola, Luxo, and Musgo Real... just to name a few. Try it out today and see what you think. We think you will notice a considerable difference. Happy Scrubbing!