Handmade Soap Versus Commercial Soap: What's the Difference?

Posted by Aspen Kay Naturals

If you walk into any grocery store or drug store, you’ll likely find at least one row packed with soaps. With brightly-colored bars and bottles of all shapes and sizes set out before you, why would you choose anything but commercial soap? Upon first glance, handmade soap might appear to be a thing of the past, a quaint oddity your grandparents used back in the day or an artistic, artisanal product you see at the local farmer’s market. Fun to use on occasion, but not a daily essential. After all, the mass-produced gel-filled bottle and ribbon-tied handcrafted bar are basically the same, aren’t they? Soap is soap, right?

Wrong. Especially in today’s market, handmade soap and its commercial counterparts are worlds apart in nearly every way. They’re made differently, contain dissimilar ingredients, and, of course, have quite disparate effects. At AspenKay, our team of skilled soap specialists have become experts in this realm. We know soap inside and out, from start to suds. In the following blog, we explain what sets handmade soap apart from commercial soap and why we carefully craft each and every one of our bars from scratch.

Manufacturing Methods
The most obvious distinction between handmade and commercial soaps is the way they’re made. While many modern mass-produced soaps claim to be “natural” (a term many major manufacturers use with reckless abandon), the truth is they’re formulated by the thousands of factories. In fact, many commercial “soaps” aren’t soaps at all. The FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration, whose job it is to ensure the safety of products) explains: “ordinary soap is made by combining fats or oils and an alkali (a compound with the opposite effect of an acid), such as lye...Today there are very few true soaps on the market. Most body cleansers, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products.”

So, the soap you’ll find in most stores is an artificially synthesized combination of cleaning agents, produced by the millions. Meanwhile, handmade soap is what the FDA refers to as a “true soap,” made using the methods humans have used for millennia. There are many ways to make handmade soap. At AspenKay, we use the Cold Process. Basically, we combine lye (the alkaline agent) with essential oils and other high-quality ingredients, mold the mixture into a bar shape, and let it “cure” (set) for up to six weeks. This process takes time and effort, but the end result is a spectacular soap, vastly different from commercial detergents.

Their Cleansing Contents
Have you ever tried reading the ingredients in commercial soap? Could you even pronounce them? These products are filled with “ides,” “states,” and other artificial chemical compounds. Since commercial soaps are actually detergents, manufacturers load them up with extra ingredients to help them look, feel, and smell more like actual soap. To make matters even worse, most manufacturers use the cheapest additives they can find, and with devastating results. All the while, big soap companies tout their products as healthy. The FDA explains: “the laws and regulations that [it] enforces do not have definitions for ‘natural’ or ‘organic,’” so any manufacturer can claim their soaps fit these descriptions without actually doing so.

For example, many commercial soaps contain sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. These create a “sudsing” sensation in the detergent, but, according to Livestrong, “have been linked to neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, skin irritation, and endocrine disruption.” Virtually all commercial soaps are also preserved with parabens, which the Scientific American magazine advice column notes “have been linked to reproductive, immunological, neurological, and skin irritation problems,” according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC).

In contrast, AspenKay’s handmade soap ingredients are safe, truly healthy, and easy to pronounce! We Cold Process our products with certified organic shea butter, certified organic olive oil, certified organic and sustainable palm oil, certified organic castor bean oil, and certified organic sunflower oil. We then supplement our fundamental formula with a wide range of lavish accents, such as goat milk, lavender, honey, and aloe vera. These simple, wholesome ingredients cleanse and moisturize your skin without the negative effects associated with many commercial soaps.

Smell, look and feel great with Handmade Soap from AspenKay Naturals!
Stay clear of the chemicals, harmful and unnatural soaps and check out our product page to see our handmade bars.