Like many men, you might be overpaying for store-bought soap. But it’s not too late—you can save yourself! Let’s take a look at the benefits of natural soap, and how it’s value stacks up against commercial soaps.
What Are Natural Soaps?
Natural soaps are handmade, often artisan, and use no synthetic chemical ingredients. The best way to tell whether a soap is natural: try reading the ingredient list aloud. Can you pronounce all of the ingredients? Do they look familiar? That’s natural!
Commercial and store-bought soaps have non-natural additives that sometimes put them in the non-soap category. So even if a bar is being marketed to you as soap…it might not be classified as a soap by the Food and Drug Administration.
We see headlines all the time—Soap Chemical With an Impossible Name to Pronounce Causes Cancer!! This applies to commercial soaps that throw in preservatives, artificial colors and scents, and sulfates with little regard for consumer safety.
Natural soaps are transparent with their ingredient list, and you’re not going to find any cancer-causing or terrible-for-your-skin ingredients in their bars.
Natural Soaps Are 100% Authentic
When you buy a natural soap, you’re getting the real deal. A kindly old soapmaker, living in a cute cottage along a hillside, probably hand-gathered the ingredients, lovingly mixed the soap base, thought about your personal skincare needs, and wisely added ingredients straight from nature to make the perfect bar just for you.
Okay, so maybe it’s not that idyllic, but natural soaps genuinely are handcrafted by soapmakers, who are often masters in their industry. They do use ingredients that you can find raw in nature, and they customize their bars for different skin types.
Compare that to commercial soaps: manufacturers mix the soap base and strip it of its glycerin (the moisturizing part of soap), then they mix in preservatives and rash-inducing scents. Because of all the additives they include in their final product, many aren’t even allowed to put the word “soap” on the packaging.
Natural Soaps Are Made With Clean Ingredients
Maybe you’ve played this fun game: which of my new bathroom products caused all this jawline acne? Your store-bought soap might be the culprit.
With a natural soap, you won’t have to worry about rashes, breakouts, and dry or oily skin (unless you accidentally buy something you know you’re allergic to). Natural soaps only use clean ingredients that you can recognize when you read the label.
We mentioned the fact that commercial soaps pack in the additives. Oftentimes they include preservatives and unnecessary sulfates, and they even water down the final product so that you go through it more quickly.
The commercial soap on your grocery store aisle is probably trying to fool you into thinking it’s a natural soap. “Longer lasting” means they added parabens, which can mess with your hormones. “Stronger scent” means they tossed in a chemical perfume that might induce allergies, or even asthma. “Rich lather” means they packed the final product with a skin-irritating sulfate to give it more bubbles.
Natural soaps only use real ingredients to get even better results. Its additives won’t mess with your endocrine system or cause health issues when your skin absorbs the ingredients. So if you ever have to choose between handmade, natural soap vs commercial soap, always go with handmade, natural soap.
As a side note, pro-tip: if you’re using a hair colorant for any reason (maybe to touch up those gray roots?), avoid the same “fake” ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner. Sulfates will mess up your dye job faster than you can say, “I’m never buying fake soap ever again.”
Natural Soaps Are Amazingly Moisturizing
Natural soaps have a not-so-secret weapon: glycerin. It’s the moisturizing component of soap. All soap is supposed to have it, but commercial soaps actually extract their glycerin to make lotions or creams.
Let’s hit pause there for a second…your soap is meant to contain natural moisturizers. But commercial soapmakers extract those moisturizers so that they can sell you a lotion on top of the bar of soap they want you to buy. What a ripoff!
Natural soaps leave in this glycerin, saving you money. Oftentimes, on top of that natural occurring moisturizer, natural soaps also throw in some butter- or wax-based ingredients to give it that extra oomph. This is called superfatting the soap. It means you’re getting a bar that’s going to help your skin glow with health!
Natural Soaps Keep Your Skin In Peak Condition
Let me talk like a skincare commercial here for a second: do you have dry, flaky skin? Or maybe your pores are bathing in oil on a daily basis? Perhaps you even have sensitive, allergy- or eczema-prone skin? How about blackheads on your inner thighs? (too specific?)
There’s a natural soap out there for all of those conditions! Commercial soaps are desperate to sell a one-size-fits-all solution to skincare, but it just doesn’t work that way.
Natural soaps are customizable (as we’ll talk about in a second here). This means that each bar is packed with unique benefits and skincare solutions. It might take a bit of hunting, but you’ll find a brand and a soap that’s the perfect fit for your skin type.
And yes, there are even natural soaps that are made specifically for your face or hands. So if you’re worried about using a bar soap against your face, don’t be! Just lather it up and apply the suds like normal.
Natural Soaps Are Eco-Friendly
I know environmental-consciousness probably isn’t at the top of your list when you’re looking at the benefits of natural soap, but it’s one of those bonus benefits of buying a natural soap.
Natural soaps often come in less packaging (and some even come in compostable packages). The mini perk here is that you’ll avoid getting soap under your fingernails while desperately trying to navigate the impossible plastic wrap of a store-bought bar.
Plus, the organic ingredients of a natural soap minimize the chemical impact of the suds you’re washing down the drain. Antibacterial soaps, and other commercially produced soaps, are not all that thoughtful about the environmental consequences of the chemicals they add to each bar.
And, lots of natural soaps come with palm oil -free options. Palm oil is a common soap ingredient, but its production is a huge driver of deforestation today. In fact, it’s destroying diverse ecosystems and putting some species at risk of extinction.
Natural Soaps Provide Real Aromatherapy
Your store-bought soap might not be doing you any scent favors. As any soapmaker will tell you, artificial fragrances do more “masking” than actual “scenting.”
Essential oils present in natural soaps, on the other hand, create a genuine aromatherapy experience.
Have you ever caught a whiff of something unique, and it reminded you of a certain memory or feeling? My favorite is when I can smell enchiladas baking in the kitchen. It sends me back to when I was little, loved sour cream and didn’t have to pay bills.
That’s the difference between a commercial soap scent and the aromatherapy of a natural soap.
Natural soaps balance essential oils that can actually interact with your amygdala, the part of your brain responsible for emotions. It’s meant to create a soap that not only smells good, but even feels good to your head.
Natural Soaps Are 100% Customizable
When you buy a natural soap, you’re buying a soap that’s made for you. Natural soap makers have so many more rich ingredients at their disposal—with their master mixing techniques, they can create a unique bar with highly specific benefits.
Hence, buying natural soaps allows you to be pickier! Need something that helps with dry skin in the morning, but oily skin in the afternoon, and exfoliates without being too harsh on sensitive areas? Oh, and it also has to be blue? You’re not going to find that in the commercial soap department—natural is the way to go.
Some natural soap makers even take personal commissions. The point here is that, with a natural soap, you’re going to find a lot more in the variety department. This is one of the best benefits of natural soap.
Natural Soaps Last WAY Longer Than Commercial Soap
When you first start browsing natural soaps, you might be surprised by how affordable they are—once you realize how big a bar is, and how long it lasts.
Your average commercial soap is sold in light three ounce bars. (And, remember: they’re often watered down specifically to keep them from lasting too long.) Natural soaps usually come in the six to ten ounce range, and they’re highly concentrated compared to commercial soaps (buying these heavier soaps is a natural way to make your bar soaps last longer).
Many guys say that natural soaps feel like bricks because of how heavy they are relative to regular soaps. So the upfront cost might seem a bit extra, but a natural soap’s value goes above and beyond your generic store-bought breeds. Don’t underestimate