Beneficial and Delightful Soap for Skin, Senses & Spirit

Monday, March 28, 2011

What Do You Look for in a Soap?

I have a confession.

I cannot use scented soap on my face or body.

I also do not like any 'weird' ingredients in my soap unless I am exfoliating.

I started making my own soap because it seemed that everything was irritating my 'red head' Irish skin.

Now, I am a soap and water girl from way back. I do not use commercial cleansers - ever. And guess what? The same people who preach "no soap" are amazed when they see my skin. :)))

Most women are aware of the soap vs skin cleanser debate. So many people tell you to not use soap on your face. 

Handcrafted soap is different. 

Handcrafted soap retains the natural glycerin which is typically siphoned off by the big commercial brands and sold as a by-product. Big companies then dump chemicals into the soap batter to create lots of bubbles. Then comes the artificial fragrance, colors, preservatives and who knows what else?

It is the lack of glycerin, the combination of drying oils (yes, some oils can be drying if the recipe is not well-proportioned) and the chemicals that make your skin feel like sandpaper. This starts the cycle of wash and then slather moisturizers (which can also have lots of junk that your skin does not like or need).

Skin is the largest organ of your body and will absorb anything you put on it. Be careful.

I realize that I am in the minority, but I do not select a soap based on scent, unless it is for hand-washing. Oddly, my first inclination is to still pick up soap bars and smell them.

I love to appreciate olfactory delights! Also, I am a bit of a fragrance snob (as in commercial toiletries). I despise "badly" scented perfumes, colognes and oils. Ick. I get headaches and nausea from inferior scents.

I am not opposed to good fragrance oils, although my preference is for essential oils. Most of the time, my soap blends both with good results.

So - I get my post-wash fragrance fix in fragrance oils or sprays that I create myself and I leave my personal soap unscented. I also love to mix a current favorite scent with raw coconut oil or raw shea butter and use that as a scented body lotion or cream.

This leads me to ask the question - What Do You Look for in a Soap?

My personal  favorite is an unscented, creamy, high performance soap. High performance for me means that the soap should cleanse, but not irritate my skin. My skin should feel lightly moisturized, never stripped or tight.

I like "Butter Cream" or "Vata" from my own line. "Butter Cream" is a coconut cream and raw, organic cocoa butter base with palm and castor oils. Clients tell me that it will remove eye makeup! "Vata" is stuffed with good-for-you ingredients like jojoba, avocado, almond, apricot kernel oils and raw, organic shea butter. So soothing for skin on the dry side!

There are many soap artisans who make luscious soap that is unscented and coddling. Why don't you try a bar or two?

My favorite ice cream flavor is vanilla. But those indulgent calories had better come in the form of an extremely high quality product - no fake anything - thank you very much.

This mandate goes for my soap too.

In Love, Truth and Beauty.....


  1. I have to say I prefer my soap scented ... either with high quality fragrance or essential oils, doesn't matter which as long as they're well-blended and not too strong. I love breathing in the delightful scents when I take my shower!

  2. I know what you mean - I am soooo jealous! *kidding*
    You are fortunate to be able to gain the benefits of aromatherapy in your shower!
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. ((hugs))

  3. I am still thinking about that yummy vanilla honey lip balm, Girlie!! hee hee!

  4. In this order
    - conditioning (starts at a minimum of 8% SF for me, below is too drying. I'll compromise frothy lather for conditioning anytime)

    - scent (both scented and unscented. I LOVE unscented soap, and really there is always a nice scent to just straight fwd oils and butters without extra fragrance. Don't care for soap that smells like banana cream fudge cheesecake strawberry pie. At all. Mastress of scenting so far is Tiggy from Future Primitive, her eo compositions are like paintings for the nose)

    - appearance (includes aesthetics and handling. I'm a visual person who loves the look of soap if it's not crammed with psychedelic color swirls to the max, or skyscrapers sticking out of the top. I prefer au natural and don't care for brick sized chunks that I can't handle without chasing after it in the shower stall)

    There you have it. Oh..and who cares about cleansing ability..let the water take care of that, I say :)

  5. Why, thank you, Ms. Cocobong.
    I totally agree.
    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

  6. As soapmakers, I think we look at soap differently than our lovely clients.
    I bet that most consumers buy for scent and price.
    Your thoughts?

  7. yep. scent and price, varying in order depending on customer. few seem to focus on appearance first, even fewer on ingredients. ain't that something now...

  8. I love a soap with integrity, a soap that looks like soap - simple and clean. I want and need a soap that conditions and I love,love,love me some bubbles.

  9. Michelle - yes!
    Your soaps certainly fit that bill!
    Thank you for the comment!

  10. I love natural soap,so I don´t like too much fragrance or essential oils in my soaps, but the most of my clients whant soaps very smelly.
    Sorry my english,Kisses from Spain.
    Your blog is Beautiful.