What Is Cold Process Soap And Is It Safer Than Commercial Soaps?

When it comes to the old tried and true bar of soap, you might think that they're all made the same. As it turns out, soap can be produced in a variety of different ways and not all of them contain ingredients that are kind to our skin. In order for a soap to be considered soap, it must contain one key ingredient: lye (via Neolaia Skincare). Otherwise known as sodium hydroxide, it's the lye that plays a key role in what's known as the "saponification process." In this process, the lye undergoes a chemical reaction with the fat or oil components of the soap. This reaction produces sodium salts which is what makes soap an effective cleanser (via Chemistry Explained). It's the sodium salts that allow water to more effectively break down and remove grease and dirt particles from our bodies.

While still an effective cleansing agent, commercial soaps use chemical additives to shed our body's natural oils, often leaving skin dry and deprived of moisture (via Edens Garden). Not only can this cause skin irritation, but the synthetic chemicals used can pose harmful risks to our health. Most commercial soaps are actually detergents that act as a convincing soap imposter yet carefully avoid the term "soap" on their labeling. Depending on the additives used, these products have the potential to interrupt regular hormone function and in some cases can cause cancer.

Potentially harmful chemical additives in commercial soaps strip our body of its natural oils

Thankfully, there are natural alternatives available to safeguard our health. In recent years, cold process soap has become a popular and creative replacement to commercial cleansers. Rather than using traditional heating methods, cold process soaps are carefully crafted over the course of several weeks and keep the natural and beneficial ingredients (that are often removed in commercial soaps) that keep skin healthy and hydrated (via NavLi Naturals). Instead of damaging additives, many cold process soap manufacturers incorporate natural vitamins, herbs, and oils to enhance skin health. This way, you'll also have the added perk of only needing to purchase one product, rather than springing for both a soap and a moisturizer to offset the effects of the commercial soap. 

The next time you're at the store perusing the aisles upon aisles of soaps, gels, scrubs, and body washes, consider keeping an eye out for a cold process soap brand, as these soaps have proven to be effective, healthy, and well ... actual soap!