When it comes to washing your body it’s important to choose a soap that nourishes the skin, is free from harsh chemicals, and makes your skin feel clean & moisturized. The good news is this guide highlights some harmful ingredients to look out for when soap shopping, the benefits of organic soap, and some amazing small businesses that sell organic bar soap.
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What is Soap Made Of?
Traditional bar soaps are made of the most economical oils, animal fats like lard and tallow, but nowadays a day’s number of vegetable oils are used for soap making. The chemical makeup of soap depends on the type of oil from which it is made. Lye is the second important ingredient in soap, the reaction between lye and oil produces soap and the process is known as “Saponification”. There are two types of lye including Sodium hydroxide NaOH to make solid soap and Potassium hydroxide KOH to make liquid soap. Water is used according to the specific soap recipe. It creates a solution between lye and oil molecules and helps them bound together. Other ingredients found in soap can include colors, preservatives ( typically only in liquid soaps), essential oils, scents, and fragrances oils.
Are There Toxic Ingredients in Bar Soap?
While most soaps are considered non-toxic, unless you ingest them, there are some ingredients you want to be aware of. Traditional soaps made from synthetic chemicals are not good for our skin, aquatic life and a lot of soaps feature plastic waste packaging which ends up in landfills. Fragrances and coloring made from harmful chemicals in regular soaps can disrupt the ecosystem because of eutrophication. Along with these ingredients commercial soap can also contain parabens, sodium Laureth Sulfate, triclosan, and more questionable ingredients. As these are known as carcinogens and endocrine disrupters, these are not the ideal ingredients to be cleansing your skin with. Sometimes synthetic ingredients can actually dry out our skin more instead of cleaning and moisturizing. Since organic soaps are made with natural ingredients that follow organic farming practices, these soaps are typically more nourishing to our skin and better for the environment. Let’s explore a few of the reasons why organic soap is a good choice.
Benefits of Natural Bar Soap Made with Organic Ingredients
There are quite a few benefits of choosing organic bar soaps for both the environment and for our skin.
- Easier to Find Cruelty-Free Options: Organic soaps are animal friendly because they don’t require animal testing during production, have no chemicals and are derived from plant-based oils. Only a few organic soaps contain lard, you can check the label before purchase.
- Essential Oil Fragrance: Organic soaps typically contain essential oil fragrance like peppermint, lavender, and lemongrass which gives them antibacterial properties. In contrast, regular soaps containing artificial fragrances can have ingredients that are associated with causing cancer, hormonal damage, and problems in reproductive systems. Scents made with pure essential oils are better for sensitive skin types and usually feature relaxing scents.
- Better Healing of the Skin: Organic soaps are made from essential oils, herbs, and spices, they are all-natural high quality ingredients and aid in the healing process of the skin. They can help in some other skin conditions like acne, eczema, and sunburn.
- Biodegradable: Organic soaps are eco-friendly as they don’t use chemicals and pesticides during their production. They are safe and biodegradable as they are made from nature.
- Sustainable Packaging: In case you are thinking about the packaging of soaps. Then you need to know that it is good to prefer soap bars to plastic bottle soaps, as paper can be easily recycled. Liquid soaps in a plastic bottle require five times more energy during production and 20 times more energy is required for the packaging in plastic bottles.
- Supports Small Businesses: Bar soap made with organic ingredients can commonly be found at local farmers markets and craft fairs. This is a great way to support local makers and farmers in your community.
MADE WITH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS VERSUS CERTIFIED ORGANIC SOAPS
On select soaps you might see the USDA Organic certification, that means that it has been verified by a third party that the product has been made with 95% of organic ingredients. You might also see made with organic ingredients which by USDA terms means the product is made with at least 70% organic ingredients. However, these third party certifications cost time and money that a lot of small businesses and farms don’t have. So if you’re shopping locally read the labels and see if you are able to spot any organic ingredients in a bar of soap. Just because a brand or product doesn’t have the third party certification doesn’t mean they don’t use organically grown ingredients.
The Best Bar Soaps Made with Organic Ingredients
These handmade soaps are made with love for the planet and our skin. Shop these socially responsible brands to discover a clean ingredient list, fair trade ingredients, and some of the best soap for smooth skin.
ECOROOTS PACKAGE FREE ORGANIC BAR SOAP
EcoRoots bar soap is handmade in the USA using organic ingredients. Their soaps are cold-pressed by hand in small batches, never contain synthetic fragrances or colorants, parabens, sulfates, or animal products. Their package free bar soap comes in a range of scents including lemongrass, tangerine lavender, spearmint sage, and more. These soaps are $12 each or feature a discount in price in the soap bundle.
EARTH HARBOR’S NATURAL BAR SOAP MADE WITH SUSTAINABLE INGREDIENTS
Earth Harbor harnesses the natural power of Ocean & Earth to bring conscious consumers safe, ethical, sustainable products. Founded by certified health scientist and herbalist, Ali Perry-Hatch, MPH, developed holistic phyto-technology to bring you customizable formulas that replace toxic synthetic ingredients with their safe botanical superiors. Earth Harbor’s products are made without synthetic ingredients (artificial dyes, fragrances, synthetic preservatives), GMOs, gluten, soy, toxins, fillers, chemical additives, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, phenoxyethanol, dimethicone, emulsifying wax, nanoparticles, mineral oils, petroleum, and over 2,700 other questionable chemicals found in the beauty industry— including all 1,300+ banned in the EU. Their soaps features clean ingredients that are certified organic, non-GMO and/or wildcrafted. Conscious consumers can choose from a few different types of soap including Clay Healing Soap, Mineralizing Soap, and Facial Soap. Earth Harbors soap bars are $12.
MEOW MEOW TWEET’S PLASTIC FREE SKIN CARE
Meow Meow Tweet is a vegan brand focusing on the production of organic products. They use cruelty-free practices and make sure that their sources do not harm the animals and their habitat in any way. Their vegan soaps feature beautiful packaging in a paper box which is recyclable and compostable. This sustainable soap brand has closed the loop of generating waste. Discover unique scents such as lavender lemon, grapefruit mint, tangerine basil, and more. These bars of soap can be purchased for $10.
WHISPERING WINDS SHOP: INDIGENOUS OWNED
Whispering Winds Shop is an Indigenous owned brand. These makers grow and harvest herbs in their own Wisconsin Farms with traditional methods of offerings. All the products available at their shop are handmade in small batches. My personal favorite soap is the Fresh Rose Organic Soap. The Roses used in the production are hand-harvested and grown with organic practices. They use certified organic essential oils. Their vegan organic soaps can be purchased for $9-$10.
WILD LATHER’S UNIQUELY SHAPED SOAPS
Wild Lather soaps feature chic shapes, sophisticated scents, and organic ingredients making this soap a beautiful addition to your routine. Discover unique scents such as Osaka, Milford Sound, Kyoto, and more. These uniquely shaped organic soaps can be purchased for $14.
MINI ORGANIC TERRAZZO GEM SOAP BY BELL MOUNTAIN NATURALS
Not only is this Mini Organic Terrazzo Gem Soap unique, adorable, and travel sized, it is also Organic! Great for a gift or a little on the go soap. Choose from a range of colors and scents featuring ingredients including organic olive oil. These beautiful soaps can be purchased for $7 and is 100% Package Free.
CORVUS BOTANICALS SOAP MADE WITH SUSTAINABLE & FAIR TRADE INGREDIENTS
Corvus Botanicals is a sustainable self care brand that focuses on responsible sourcing and crafting products with care. This woman owned business crafts all soaps by hand in Michigan. Corvus Botanicals products are made with as many organic ingredients as possible such as organic cocoa, coconut oil, olive oil, and more. Find an organic soap bar with a unique scent such as Elderberry, Eucalyptus + Mint, Charcoal + Tea Tree, Lime + Basil, and more. Corvus Botanical soaps for $8.
LITTLE SEED FARM SOAP MADE WITH GOAT MILK
At Little Seed Farm sustainability is the heart and soul of everything they produce. Their products are packaged in recyclable and reusable materials, they use organic ingredients, and their farms are solar energy based. The Rosemary Mint Bar is one of their famous organically produced bar soaps. They use goat milk as a major ingredient, it contains moisturisers, anti-aging alpha hydroxyl acids, vitamins A and D. Organic olive oil in the soaps acts as a protective barrier that traps the moisturiser providing long-term hydration to the skin. Little Seed Farm Soap can be purchased for $8.
ORGANIC BATH COMPANY SOAPS FOR RELAXATION
Organic Bath Company promotes skincare and nurturing yourself. Their soap bar contains Lavender powder for gentle exfoliation, organic oils, and organic Shea Butter. Peaceful bar soap will leave you with an extra dose of relaxation. They produce in small batches focusing on self-love and care. Their scents feature java, unscented, zesty, and more. These organic soaps can be purchased for $8.
Shopping Tips for Organic Soap
If you’re ready to give organic soap a try it’s a good idea to ask yourself these questions as you begin to shop for soap.
- Do you have dry skin or oily skin?
- Will this be used as hand soap or used on your whole body?
- Am I sensitive to skin irritations? If so be sure to look at the ingredients list and consider choosing a neutral scent with soothing ingredients such as oatmeal.
- Look for plant oils such as coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil as these are moisturizing and eco-friendly ingredients.
- Does the soap have plastic packaging? If so consider another brand that has recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable packaging.
Skincare is as important as your health. Skin is the major organ of your body that’s why you need to take care. Stay happy, love yourself, and be kind to the environment. Hopefully this guide has helped you learn the importance of choosing non-toxic bar soap, key ingredients to look for, and some more eco-friendly soap options.