Before I discovered The Oil Cleansing Method, I discovered the wonders of natural soap. I grew up in a Dove household. Then, when I set up my own home, of course, we were Dove people, too. It is the most moisturizing of all soaps after all. Right? I mean, they actually treat your skin with 1/4 moisturizing lotion. After my son was born we realized that he had extremely sensitive skin. He wasn't even able to take a bubble bath as a little guy. The doctor recommended that we only use Dove on him. Not a problem. Well, a few years ago we started really having issues with his hands in particular. At the same time I began learning about why natural soap is better and decided to say good-bye to Dove.
Here is a taste of what I've found. First of all, industrial soaps take out the natural glycerin that is formed during the soap making process. They do this because they can then use the glycerin in more profitable lotions and creams. Glycerin is a natural humectant, which basically means it's very moisturizing. This makes a very gentle soap which is especially wonderful for children and those with sensitive skin. It is also good for oily skin because it prevents and cures acne related skin problems. It also has the ability to slow down or reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Glycerin also guards against bacterial skin infections. Good stuff. See why we want to keep it in our soap?
The next issue with industrial soaps is that they add toxic ingredients to make up for the nourishing ones they remove. Remember, most companies are looking out for their bottom line, not your health. It's much more cost effective for them to do this. Two of the additives they use are Sodium Laurel Sulfate and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS). You've probably heard of the dangers of this by now. But, in case you've been living under a rock somewhere, let me briefly catch you up.
Sodium lauryl sulfate did not start off as a detergent that was meant for use in consumer products. It was initially sold as an industrial strength detergent primarily used for heavy duty cleaners and degreasers. It is now found in products which are in close and frequent contact with human skin.
The reason it is used in so many products today is that consumers have come to expect abundant lather in products that are supposed to cleanse in some way. It is one of the most largely manufactured chemicals in the United States since many companies use it as a cheap lathering agent.
SLS irritates skin and compromises natural moisture balance, allows toxins to penetrate and is a toxin itself, and it irritates and erodes eyes, gums and hair follicles.
Now it's easy to see why companies that sell products like Dove aren't really all they're cracked up to be. Dove truly may be better than the average industrial soap, but it falls extremely short of the natural stuff.
Let's talk about cost for a bit, keeping Dove as our industrial standard. I went onto Walmart.com this morning for pricing because not only do most people have access to a Walmart store, they usually have better prices than many other stores. A six pack of the basic white Dove is $6.88. If you want the sensitive skin type it is $10.94. That breaks down to $1.15 per bar for regular Dove and $1.82 for the sensitive skin type. If you don't use Dove this cost is probably even lower.
The cost of a bar of natural soap can greatly fluctuate between brands and sellers. Whole Foods sells a basic natural bar soap at 3/$5.00. Before I found Whole Foods I bought a brand that I could pick up at Meijers, which is a northern version of Walmart, because they have a decent selection of natural products. Basically, everywhere I've looked, you can expect to pay between $3 - $5 per bar of natural soap. Now, that is a significant increase in price over industrial bar soap. But, let's look at this from another point of view.
What are you using to wash your face with right now? I would venture to say that for the majority of us it isn't bar soap. So, how does $3 - $5 compare with the face wash that you're using now? My guess is that if you're buying a special cleanser it's still more than this. And, is it full of chemicals that are toxic? When I began to look at purchasing natural soap from this perspective it just made sense. So, I took the plunge and have never looked back. The benefits that my family has reaped in regards to our skin health has been totally worth it. Even my son's hands are clear now. Though, I always take a bar with us when we travel or they break out again.
Being the person that I am, once I realized that natural soap was the way for us to go, I learned how to make it at home. I use the recipe from the DVD Homestead Blessings: The Art of Soap Making, but there are many recipes out there. This takes my cost per bar of soap down to $.53. That is so much cheaper than even industrial soap. Now, I know that this isn't for everyone. But, the cost to benefit ratio is so worth it. If you can't source natural soap in your area, there are many artisans on Etsy.com who craft handmade soap to sell right in their own home. This is also a great way to support small businesses.
Once, before I started making soap, I bought a single bar of Dove for some reason or another. My family was amazed at the difference between it and the natural soap. What we once thought of as the gold standard in moisture, we now found to be drying. Amazing how things change. :0)
A few last notes about natural soap and then I'll wrap this up because this post is getting lengthy.
- It doesn't get any easier than washing your face this way. All it takes is a couple of seconds and you're done.
- I have actually found this is cost effective in a few ways because one product does so much. We use the same thing for washing our bodies and our faces. We have even been able to stop buying shaving cream or gel. This soap is so emollient that it does a fantastic job at lubricating skin for shaving. We even use it on occassion to wash our hair (but I'll get to that later in the series).
- It is also easy to take with you on a trip - just stick in a travel soap container. One bar is much less to pack than multiple soaps, body washes, cleansers, shampoos, etc.
- Natural soap is not full of chemicals that strip our skin of moisture and fill it with toxins. On the contrary, it is packed with beneficial oils and glycerin that nourish our skin and naturally fight bacteria.
To view more posts in this series, click here.