Mass-produced soaps tend to contain chemical lathering agents, unnatural preservatives, animal fats, and detergents (e.g. sodium lauryl sulfate, which is harsh on skin if not toxic).
By contrast, my handmade soaps contain pure, plant-based oils and butters, and never animal fats or palm oil (see "What's Wrong With Palm Oil?" below). In the same way that healthy foods are better for all aspects of your health, handmade soaps are better for your skin than are mass-produced soaps. Using handmade soaps will cause a noticeable improvement in the feel and appearance of your skin.
Cheap production costs and high oil yields of the trees from which palm oil is derived have encouraged widespread cultivation and consumption, leading to the clearing of forests in Indonesia and Malaysia, among other countries, especially in Africa. This has resulted in significant habitat losses for the two surviving species of orangutan. As a result, one of these, the Sumatran orangutan, is listed as critically endangered.
Unfortunately, palm oil is used in most soaps - even most handmade and artisan soaps. By choosing palm oil-free soap, you can help protect the orangutan and promote biodiversity!
While sodium hydroxide (commonly known as lye) is an irreplaceable ingredient of from-scratch soap-making, its combination with the fatty acids of the oils and butters used creates soap. This process, called "saponification", eliminates all presence of sodium hydroxide in the finished product.
The "cold process" method in particular involves pouring the mixture of ingredients into a mold for up to 24 hours to undergo saponification, before being unmolded, cut, and stored to "cure" for up to 6 weeks. "Curing" is the process of gradual water evaporation from the soap bar for the purpose of firming (hardening), and "milding", for optimal use.
As long as soap has an opportunity to dry between uses (i.e. it is not sitting in water), it will never go bad, and in fact improves with age!
Compared with other waxes, paraffin wax has a much greater tendency to produce soot (impure carbon particles) when burned. Soot is a well-known carcinogen that facilitates both lung disease and global warming. Compared with beeswax, soy wax shapes and holds fragrances far better. Soy wax is also vegan, whereas beeswax is an animal by-product.
Please see my Wholesale page for information on wholesale arrangements.