Danielle Martin, of The Soap Distillery, has generously offered to write a guest post on the popularity of bar soap:
As a fairly new soap maker and user of bar soap, it wasn’t that long ago for me that I was questioning the consistent use of such an, what I thought to be, archaic product. I thought to myself, “bar soap is so drying. Why wouldn’t people just want to use shower gels?” and I’d head over to my local get clean/smell good store and buy some commercial bath and body products. I loved the way the packaging always looked. I loved all the colors they used and the images that the printed on the bottle. “Oooh, this one is all natural because it has added aloe in it!”, I’d screech. I have always had sensitive skin, so, seeing products with aloe in them was always a plus for me. As I got older (and subsequently fatter) I started to pay very close attention to the things that I ate. I was always the one in the grocery stores looking at the ingredients and nutritional value for packaged and can goods, and eventually I stopped eating processed foods all together. Besides, there is a level of consumer knowledge that needs to be exercised so you can make informed decisions on what you are putting inside of you. But, what about the stuff that we are putting on the outside?
One day, I said to myself, “I’m going to start using all natural skin care products. I need to take just as good of care of the outside of me as I do to the inside”, and that’s where my personal journey began. More and more these days I’m seeing the skincare isles at my local health food stores being full of customers looking at the ingredients labels and making informed decisions about what they are buying. But, if you’ve never used an amazing handmade, gentle, and many times all natural product, you may be wondering why we’re all putting so much weight on the subject. You may be thinking about those soap bars that your grandmother or great grandmother used to make, and how they used to be so strong that they’d take the hair off your knuckles. Well, let me tell you something: bar soap is making a comeback.
Bar soaps these days offer so much more than the soap of old did for us. Many companies have been making soaps since the dawn of time, and in reality, their soap really hasn’t gone anywhere. However, we can see that so many other companies have begun the large scale manufacturing of soap bars and people are buying them up like fast food French fries. Many people are attributing the popularity of these new soap bars to the fact that most of them are only comprised of a small percentage of actual soap, and the rest of the bar is made with synthetic detergents which offer a lower Ph that is gentler on our skin. Is that the case? I’m wondering how many people would still buy those soap bars if they realized that they were made with the same ingredients that make up powdered dish detergent...is this why bar soap is the new black? I think not.
Photo credit: Blossom and Twig Artisan Soaps and Aromatics
Soap is no longer just your average white molded bar of soap. It’s beautiful, it’s loaded with amazing oils, and perhaps the best part…it’s REAL. 100% soap. It’s being made with luxurious vegetable oils, calming essential oils, high quality fragrance oils, natural pigments, natural exfoliates, etc. They use flower buds/petals, charcoal powder, coffee, etc as exfoliates instead of artificial materials. They are being superfatted with oils that are loaded with vitamins and provide skin softening benefits that artificial ingredients can’t touch. And one of the most amazing things that most commercially manufactured soap is NOT offering is the aesthetic beauty that you can only get from a soap that is handmade by a talented soap artisan that treats every bar of soap like it’s the first and the last.
Yeah, it’s a cake. A SOAP cake.
You can’t tell me you’ve never wanted to shower with a slice of cake.
Photo credit: Mianra Artisan Soaps
Soap makers are putting time and effort into not just making a bar of soap that will clean and moisturize you, but they are also putting lots of time into every little detail to make your soap a work of art. The design, colors, and photography is all designed to peak your visual interest first, and once they draw you in and you actually use this artistically crafted bar of soap, you can’t go back.
Photo credit: Cirmes Tonsorial Parlour
In all, yes, soap is making a comeback. But let’s give credit where credit is due. The education that customers are getting about what they are actually using on their bodies fuels the desire to use the best products that they can get, and this demand for the best product possible has allowed us soap makers to do what we do best: make a beautiful bar of soap that not only looks good, but will properly clean you and drape your skin with the best ingredients we can get our hands on.
Thank you Danielle, for your inspirational post!