For some, handcrafted soap is fun, beneficial, and there is no need to justify its purchase. For others, handcrafted soap may be a new thing, and not all that reasonable compared to the less expensive, and more readily available bars in the local store. Here are a few things to consider if you have never thought about buying and using handcrafted soap before.
1. Handcrafted soap is made with natural, wholesome ingredients that cleanse without stripping skin of its natural oils. In contrast, commercially-made bars are made with chemical additives, or synthetic detergents. These additives and detergents dry out the skin, create rashes and other irritations, and may be harmful to health. If natural healthy ingredients are used in a commercial bar, the quantities are too small to be truly beneficial. Advertising may suggest a more natural product, but the ingredient label will show that the bar is still primarily composed of synthetic ingredients. To illustrate the difference between the effects of commercial and handcrafted soap, consider those who suffer from psoriasis or eczema; many have found that commercial bars make their condition worse, while handcrafted soaps brought relief.
2. Handcrafted soap is real. Since commercially-made bars are made with synthetic detergents, they cannot even legally use the term "soap." Instead, they may be called "beauty bars," "cleaning bars," "cream bars," or something similar. Since handcrafted soap is made with real and wholesome ingredients---e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil, water, goat's milk, and essential oils---the end result is a real and wholesome product.
3. Handcrafted soap contains glycerin to moisturize skin. Glycerin is a humectant; it attracts moisture and softens your skin. Glycerin is not merely added to handcrafted soap. Rather, it is naturally created in the process of mixing water, oils, and butters. In handcrafted soap, the glycerin is left in place. In commercially-made bars, however, glycerin is thought to be valuable, and so it is extracted for use in other more profitable, moisturizing products. The absence of glycerin is another reason that commercial bars dry out the skin.
4. Handcrafted soap is an art. In addition to the science of executing the proper balance of ingredients, soapmakers take great pride in manipulating color, shape and fragrance to produce beautiful looking bars of soap that are fun to use and display. Believe me, I've seen handcrafted soap bars that look good enough to eat!
5. Handcrafted soap smells wonderful! Sometimes, handcrafted soaps may retain the rich scent of their natural oils. More often, handcrafted soaps have been made with essential oils that give of their healing properties and luscious scents. Many soapmakers also use fragrance oils, though, fragrance oils are considered a synthetic ingredient.
These are just five reasons to consider handcrafted soap, but they are a few of the best reasons I can think of! Can you think of others? If so, let me know in the comments below! And the next time you need some soap, a hostess gift, or something fun for a dear friend, consider a few bars of handcrafted soap!