But when it comes to soap, and I’ve mentioned this before, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to make my own. I think perhaps the whole process (which involves unstable chemical compounds, gloves and masks) looks way out of my depth in terms of skill level. Maybe one day I’ll give it a go and surprise myself, but for now I must rely on soap that other people have made 🙂
My experience has taught me that anytime you are buying something that someone else has made, it is best you do a bit of research to find out exactly is in it. So that is what I did, and I was pretty surprised at what I found out about soap.
If you are anything like me, you may not even be aware that there different types of soap. And I’m not talking in terms of whether it comes in a bar, or a liquid, or about the different kinds of ingredients that are added, I’m referring to the actual soap part of the soap.
From what I can decipher soap is made from fatty acids which can either come from a plant or an animal source, with the most common animal source being rendered animal fat which is called tallow (Animal fat in soap…. who knew??) Apparently the word for turning the fatty acids into soap is called (and I felt myself become a bit smarter when I read about this) saponification, and the saponified version of tallow is called sodium tallowate. So now when you see the name sodium tallowate on the ingredients list of your soap you know that it is rendered animal fat, or as I now like to call it, saponified tallow.
The non-animal fatty acids found in soaps are usually from things like olives, coconut, palm and hemp, and soaps made purely from vegetable oils are called castile soap.
So in terms of being natural, both of these soap ingredients come from nature, but there are a couple of issues with the one that comes from animals.
Crunchy Betty has a great article about the subject and, as she rightly points out, the main problem with the animal sourced ingredient is that it is mass-produced. This means that the cattle used to make it must be mass-produced. I’m pretty sure you have heard about the types of conditions that mass-produced cattle usually live in. Mass-produced cattle tends to equal badly treated cattle. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have lots of information about the mistreatment of mass-produced cattle, and often animals die early because they don’t get proper care. It is often these mistreated animals, that never make it to the abattoir, that are used to make soap tallow. I say no to mass-produced cows. So I say no to mass-produced soaps made with tallow.
Another thing I learnt was that another name for the saponified fatty acid in soap is stearic acid. Apparently stearic acid can come from both animals or plants and most labels won’t tell you the source. Apparently it is much cheaper to make the animal product than it is to make the plant product so I think it would be safe to assume that most, if not all, mass-produced soap containing stearic acid will have been sourced from animals. On the other hand, authentic castile soap contains no animal products so you can be sure that any stearic acid in castile soap has come from a plant.
There are actually a bunch of things happening in the land of soap making that are not in line with natural or sustainable living. I won’t go into all of them now, but whilst we are on the subject of mistreatment of animals, and similarly to just about every product in the beauty industry, there are still companies testing on animals. Animal testing is mean and nasty and it needs to stop. PETA has a list of companies who do not test on animals. And they also have a list of cruelty-free soaps.
But back to the castile soap. Aside from not harming any animals whilst being made, authentic Castile soap doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, artificial colorants, fragrances, or preservatives. But as mentioned earlier, always check the ingredients on anything you buy that someone else has made 🙂
I have been making lots of things using Castile soap, I use it in the shaving cream recipe I shared last week, I use it in my laundry detergent recipe I shared a while back, have been using, and today I am going to share the foaming face wash recipe I have been making.
Here is something else you may not know about soap. Soap doesn’t actually create any foam. The super sudsy, foaming soap we buy from the shops has had a chemical foaming agent added to it to make it foam. Castile soap does not contain chemical foaming agents so it doesn’t foam.
But this does not mean that when you start using castile soap you have to miss out on the fun of foaming soap, as there are these genius things called foaming dispensers which provide you with foam without any chemicals. I don’t even know how they work, and on this one I don’t need to know. I just know that they take your un-foamy liquid Castile soap and turn it into foamy, sudsy, soapy goodness. And it is with one of these foam making dispensers that I have been making my foaming facial cleanser.
I am a big fan of this face wash and so I included some in my Christmas hampers. Here they are (front and back to show off my homemade waterproof labels 🙂
You know I am going to tell you this is super easy it is to make, and as usual with my “no more than 3 ingredients” policy, it only uses 3 ingredients. (Well actually it uses 4, but the 4th is water and given you can grab some from your tap it doesn’t really count 🙂 ).
Foaming Face Wash recipe
(Recipe adapted from homemademommy.net)
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup castile soap
20 drops of essential oil (I used 10 drops of grapefruit and 10 drops of neroli)
2/3 cup of filtered water
1 foaming soap dispenser
What to do:
Pour the olive oil into the foaming dispenser then add the essential oils and swirl around to combine. Then fill the container with the filtered water and combine. That’s it.
Just a couple of things I have found with this face wash – this quantity lasts a long time, as you only need to pump the foaming device once to get enough to clean your whole face and neck. I find that over the time the face wash starts to separate a bit, so give it a shake just before you use it to mix the ingredients back together. I also found that the essential oil scent wore off about half way through the bottle so I added some more. And lastly, castile soap (as the name suggests) is soap, and if you get it into your eyes it will sting like crazy. So don’t get it into your eyes 🙂