The Scoop on Soap: Featuring Potager Handcrafted Soap
Ever wonder how soap works or how it is made? As you probably know it helps wash away dirt and germs and is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs and infectious disease.
The magic of soap lies in its compatibility with both oil and water. If you get oil, dirt, or grease on your hands water doesn't do much. Oil and water don't mix. Soap changes that. It has a lipophilic or oil loving tail and a hydrophilic or water loving head. The lipophilic tails can trap oil and dirt and the hydrophilic head is compatible with water and the result is that dirt and germs are trapped and washed away.
Soap can disrupt the membranes of viruses and bacteria and help clear them from the skin. Of course you do need to wash your hands thoroughly and often, working up a good lather and making sure to scrub all the surfaces. I love how Canadian health officer Bonnie Henry puts it: "Wash your hands like you've been chopping jalapeños and need to change your contacts."
Soap is made from the reaction of fats and oils with a base, a process called saponification. The earliest evidence of soap is from the Babylonian culture about 2800 BCE and Roman documents mention soap making as early as 70 AD.
Scientist surmise that perhaps animal fat dripped onto ash and when washed away the foaming properties were noted and explored. Soap making became an established craft in France, Spain, and Italy during Medieval times and soap was a luxury enjoyed by people who could afford it.
Manufactured soap bars became available during the 18th century and its use more widespread as an understanding of the relationship between health and personal hygiene grew.
In the 1950s a shortage of soap ingredients during WWI lead to the development of synthetic detergents -- which are still used today for laundering, dishwashing, cleaning, and in many face, hand, and body washes.
But if you are looking for a more natural product true soap, made with fats, oils, and a base is your best bet.
As an aromatherapist and handcrafter of personal care products I appreciate beautifully handcrafted products -- especially when they are made with organic and sustainably harvested ingredients. And I also appreciate companies that use sustainable packaging (a personal goal of mine to improve upon as we head into 2021).
I recently got the chance to try a beautiful handcrafted soap that I has me enamored! A package from Potager Soap Company arrived in my mailbox with two gorgeous, hand cut soaps: the Lavender Charcoal and Mint Lemon Tea soap.
It was a treat just unpacking them. The packaging is simple but beautiful and the soaps are gorgeous with swirls of botanicals and a lovely shape (take a look at the picture to see what I mean). You can see the artistry in the soap and the care that was taken in packing them just for me (there was even a handwritten note!).
The aroma was delightful, natural, and the perfect strength -- it even gently fragrances my bath. The soaps produce a rich, creamy lather and leave my skin feeling moisturized. A look at the ingredients tells why:
Organic olive oil, organic coconut oil, organic RSPO palm oil, organic shea butter, organic essential oils and botanicals.
Organic carrier oils, essential oils and botanicals are free from synthetic pesticides and herbicides. Organic oils are rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and ingredients that can help nourish the skin. Likewise botanicals and essential oils offer additional layers of therapeutic benefits that are simply not found in fragrances and synthetic coloring agents.
Let's take a closer look at how the ingredients give a handcrafted soap like Potager its properties and benefits.
Olive oil produces a very mild soap suitable for sensitive skin with small bubbles. Olive oil is rich in vitamin E and polyphenols.
Coconut oil helps create luscious bubbles and has great cleansing ability. It helps provide the creamy lather and bubbles we all so enjoy.
Palm oil comes from the pulp of the fruit of palm trees. It also contributes to lather and making a harder bar of soap. Palm oil however is a controversial ingredient because of environmental impact. Contentious soapers will assure their clients that they are using sustainable sources of this oil.
The RSPO designation refers to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil that oversees certified sustainable palm oil. Now more than ever when using plant based and natural ingredients it is important to look for ingredient sustainability.
Shea butter is wonderful for many reasons. In a soap it is moisturizing and offers vitamin A and E, as well as minerals. It said to give a silky feeling to bar soap.
The essential oils and botanicals not only help the soap to smell good, they also offer benefits that fragrance simply can't.
In the Lavender Charcoal bar, lavender essential oil offers soothing properties for both the skin and senses, and is a tonic to the body. Having it in a soap can literally add a feeling of calm from head to toe. Lavender also offers gentle anti-microbial benefits and is analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Charcoal is a wonderful as a detoxifying agent and adds a fun flair to the soap.
The lemon mint tea soap offers the uplifting scent of lemongrass essential oil paired with spearmint. Lemongrass is a powerful antimicrobial and also offers analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It also boosts mood and eases feelings of fatigue.
Spearmint likewise offers analgesic as well as muscle soothing benefits. It also supports respiratory health, fights germs. and boosts mood.
and I appreciate the gentle exfoliating action of the tea leaves in the lemon mint tea bar. Plus tea offers wonderful polyphenols and antioxidants.
And have you ever wondered about how handcrafters produce a bar soap vs a liquid soap? The difference starts with the base. Bar soaps use sodium hydroxide and sometimes salt to create the hard bar, while liquid soap recipes call for potassium hydroxide.
If you are looking for a fantastic organic, all natural, beautifully packaged bar soap with therapeutic benefits I definitely recommend Potager soaps (and right now they are offering FREE shipping on two or more bars for the fall). They'd make a great gift to lift someone spirits and are perfect for supporting winter wellness with hand washing. And their website features an informative blog as well.
If you enjoy liquid soaps, foaming hand soaps, or shower gels I handcraft liquid soap right here in Temecula using organic and wildcrafted ingredients. My latest batch features cocoa butter, avocado oil, castor oil, and coconut oil.
Be sure to let me know if you try Potager soaps, which scents, and how you like them. And remember to wash those hands and stay well!
aromatic blessings my friends,