Solid soaps have been a basic hygienic need since ancient times, dating back thousands of years to Ancient Babylon. Egyptians and also many other ancient civilizations also used early forms of soap. It is the gentlest choice for cleansing the body. However, in recent years, with the advent of modern liquid soaps, they have been unfairly neglected. Do you feel that solid soap is an afterthought that fits best in the closet to scent the laundry? But that's a big shame! Solid soaps are timeless. Quality natural soaps are irreplaceable. And you can also buy ones that will decorate your bathroom.

How is the natural soap made?

In natural soaps, the cleansing agent itself is the soap. Real soap is created by a process called saponification. As input raw materials we generally have fat (triacylglycerol; a mixture of higher fatty acids) and hydroxide. During saponification, soap (a salt of a higher fatty acid) and glycerol, which is a natural part of the resulting soaps, are formed from these components. Of course, making soap is a bit more difficult, but this information is important to us for now.

alchymistky solid soaps
Alchymistky solid soaps

How does the soap work?

As soon as we wet the soap and start washing our body or hands, the soap molecule breaks down. The soap foams, removes dirt, sebum, because it is an effective anionic surfactant. Thanks to its structure, it can create micelles at a higher concentration and bind both aqueous and fatty components to the skin, thereby cleaning it perfectly. At the same time, it does not disturb the hydrolipidic film that protects the skin.

Solid soap

During the washing process, we also reach the moment when the mixture of water and soap acquires a higher alkaline pH. Thanks to the alkaline pH, we may feel that the skin is tight after use, but this will settle in a moment just because nothing has disturbed it. Our skin is smart enough to balance the pH again as soon as possible. After all, we only have soap on our hands and body for a while. However, the most important thing to mention is that real natural soap breaks down on the skin and produces fatty acids that enrich and support our skin film. If we look a little more closely at the function of the skin, it itself, under the influence of bacteria, breaks down the oils produced by the skin into fatty acids and glycerol (the study mentions skin processes such as microbial hydrolysis of sebaceous triglycerides). Together with other components of sebum and sweat, it creates a protective acidic pH on the surface of the skin. Therefore, it is already clear that soap, by forming fatty acids on the surface of the skin, supports the entire protective function of the skin and serves as food for skin bacteria. So as soon as there is any amount of soap left on the skin, our skin microbiome makes full use of it. Therefore, solid soap is also very suitable for individuals with sensitive skin.

Synthetic soaps 

Soaps based on synthetic components have become very popular because of their accessibility. They are based on various synthetic surfactants, which are also used to wash the whole body. In synthetic soaps, the cleansing agents are usually artificially made detergents.  Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS, also known as sodium laureth sulfate) is one such detergent commonly found in synthetic soaps. In most cases, their pH is adjusted and directed towards acidic values so that our skin is as satisfied as possible after use. These soaps can contain various surfactants, even from groups that are very gentle and gentle on the skin. After washing, the pH of the skin is not disturbed in any significant way, and after the rest of the soap adheres to the skin, the surfactant molecule does not change or decompose in any way. It stays on the skin as it is, and this is why it can cause skin irritation in sensitive individuals. 

Glycerin, the other product of the saponification reaction, is a natural humectant and moisturizer.  It is colourless, odourless and viscous.  Because of its natural ability to absorb water, it is often extracted by manufacturers to be used in pharmaceuticals such as toners, cleansers and moisturizers.  Naturally made soaps has glycerin that is formed as part of the saponification process.  As for synthetic soaps, some do not contain glycerin at all. Those that do have glycerin, it is added in as part of the manufacturing process.

Ecological aspect of solid soaps

You can buy solid soap in a paper package, so another plastic package is saved. In addition, natural solid soaps are decomposed in wastewater by bacteria in the presence of oxygen in a relatively short time without residue into water, carbon dioxide and salts. Such a state is called complete biodegradability. Isn't that great?

Taking care of your solid soap

To avoid your solid soap turning into a soggy mass that spreads all over the sink, get a good soap dish for your solid soap. A good soap dish is one that has holes or grooves in it and thus ensures the right conditions for the soap to survive. Soap that floats in water in a soap dish after use does not have a chance to dry nicely before the next use. 

Take a look at the selection of the natural and non-toxic soaps we did for you here.

BOTMA & van BENNEKOM solid soaps sortimentBOTMA & van BENNEKOM solid soaps assortment

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November 26, 2023
Tags: Solid Soap