Soap. We all use it. But do we really understand what it is?
Most, if not all, of the stuff we buy at the grocery store or fancy upscale shops isn’t soap, it’s detergent – or, if you’re lucky, it might just be glycerin, which is a part of the soapmaking process but still not actual soap. Soap is made when you add lye to fat and it saponifies, the chemical reaction that results in soap. Far from producing the harsh bars of yesteryear, today’s craft soapmakers can make a variety of fine products that nourish the skin instead of stripping it of its natural oils.
The bars above are a simple, basic soap that can then be grated down and mixed with more water, as well as other additives like essential oils, herbs, flowers, and fruits, to create French milled soap. Made by “cold process,” they contain pork fat (lard), olive oil (pomace), coconut oil, and lye. C’est fini. That’s all. The great thing about these bars is that if you have sensitive skin, as I do, it doesn’t irritate it (unless you have a specific allergy or intolerance for the ingredients themselves.
What about you, Dear Reader?
What kinds of body cleansers do you like?