Mythbusters: The Soap Edition
Some time ago I created a #mythicalmondays Instagram series busting all the myths I've ever come across about soap. Here they all are rolled into one post. Which one surprises you the most?
1. All soap dishes are created equal
For your favorite bar of soap to live a long, healthy life, you need a breathable dish that allows it to dry on all sides between uses.
Look for a dish made from natural materials with slats, fissures, or holes rather than porcelain or plastic ones that trap water.
For example, have a look at these beechwood dishes in my shop. One bar will last months atop one of these.
Together, we can put an end to those gooey blobs!
2. Natural soap has lye in it
A correctly made lye soap actually doesn't have any lye in it...and it's the best cleansing product you could be using on your skin.
Don't let anyone fool you when they say: "I heard ___ doesn't use lye in their soap, so I only use that kind." In truth, all soap is made with lye. If it isn't, it's not soap. Lye, sometimes known as caustic soda or sodium hydroxide, is what breaks and modifies the long carbon chains of oils to create soap. This chemical reaction is called saponification.
An expert soap maker always uses a percentage more of oils than the amount of lye that will react with it. This is known as superfatting, and it ensures that there will be zero lye in the final soap.
Close to all "soap" bars sold commercially are comprised of detergents. These soap substitutes are more cheaply and easily made, but the final product contains more toxic chemicals and natural oil-stripping surfactants than your skin would care to handle.
3. Natural soap clogs drains
This is a common old wives' tale, and it's far more likely you need to soften your water or deal with tree roots. I've been using and making natural soap for almost a decade, and I've never heard of this happening to those who use it.
4. Natural soap isn't worth the price
Natural soap is the best investment you can make for your skin. And, one bar lasts for months.
Grunge Goddess soap is made with high quality, sustainable, nontoxic, biodegradable, and detergent-free ingredients that will drastically soothe any skin issues. Our soap supports small businesses and fair trade with farmers. Most importantly, it smells and feels amazing and is so much fun to use!
5. Lye soap is harsh
Grunge Goddess soap is superfatted, meaning that when the soap making reaction completes, there will be nourishing oils but no lye remaining. The result is soap that's super effective, but ever so gentle.
6. Natural soap destroys the rainforests
Depending on the recipe, this can be alarmingly true. Many natural soaps contain palm oil. The palm industry has destroyed many, many acres of rainforests and brought orangutans nearly to extinction. Grunge Goddess soap is palm free and made with ingredients that are chosen not just for their skin loving benefits, but their sustainability. Know that you're lessening your impact on the planet when you buy Grunge Goddess.
7. Yoni soap is a good idea
I don't support this trendy practice, so I won't be finding this in our shop. Treat your sensitive parts right and cleanse them with water only, and externally only. For the sake of your body's pH balance and microbiome, do not use "yoni soap".
8. Soap shouldn't be made with lye
If said "soap" truly was made without lye, it's a detergent, and you probably shouldn't be using that on your skin. Detergents are often unsustainably made, contain toxic ingredients, and strip your skin of natural oils.
9. Soap should be pH neutral
Your skin isn't terribly picky about pH. If you used soap that had a pH of seven, it wouldn't have any cleansing properties. Natural soap is on the basic side, as it should be, and there's nothing wrong with that.
10. Store bought soap is better
Can you guarantee that store bought soap is true soap, sustainable, contains hand picked and fairly traded ingredients with only your health in mind, detergent and toxin free, long lasting, and biodegradable? Not only is finding true soap nearly impossible at the grocery store, it won't be nearly as tailored to you and fun to use as handmade.
11. Only antibacterial soap kills germs
Antibacterial agents in some liquid detergents don't stay on hands long enough to kill germs. It's actually the friction of rubbing your hands together that kills pathogens, and studies have shown that bar soap is more effective at cleansing skin of pathogens than antibacterial liquid detergents. Raise the (soap) bar!
12. Bar soap spreads germs
Not necessarily. If you don't take care of your bar of soap and leave it sitting in a puddle of water, bacteria surely will begin to take advantage. Use a proper soap dish to keep your soap dry between uses, and it will be just as effective as any other soap.
At any rate, soap rinses bacteria off skin whether there was any bacteria on the bar to begin with or not. So just wash your hands for at least 30 seconds and you'll be golden!
13. Natural soap doesn't work
It's every bit as effective as store bought "soap" and more. The soap molecules in true soap cleanse your skin of grime and pathogens just like store bought detergent based soap. However, it doesn't strip you of your natural oils and it deposits hydrating emollients instead. It's a win-win.
14. Natural soap is good for hair
Hair ideally needs to maintain a pH of five to seven, and soap's pH is simply too high. That means if you use soap on your hair, it is going to get damaged.
That's why I offer shampoo bars that are not made from soap, but gentle sulfate free surfactants and kokum butter to keep your hair healthy and resilient. At a pH of six, they're safe for all hair textures and colors, natural or not! Pick one up and skip using the bottles and bar soap on your hair.
What did I miss? Let me know what soap-related gossip you've heard in the comments section and I'll add it to this post.
Now go take a guilt-free bath. And stay Grunge. <3