Updated: Apr 5
Soap is one of those things in our lives that has always been there, and we grew up with a certain kind and, well, a lot of times we continue using what we know as adults. That's what Dr. Jason and I did. We bought what our parents bought, and they bought what their parents bought, and so it goes. This generational consumerism runs deep, and it's a hard cycle to break. Your journey to Evolve at Home is likely going to break many generational habits, which is AWESOME! Why? Because you're evolving.
So, back to soap. You can go to any grocery store and find an entire aisle of substances proclaiming to be soap or soap products that make various [very empty] promises of benefits to your skin; and you can go to boutique bath stores for even more exotic choices, which make [very empty] promises of luxurious skin for a premium price. If you're currently using a store-bought, major brand/off brand/generic type soap, bar soap or the liquid in a bottle, I want you to stop and think about how many other products you own to relieve dry, itchy, flaky, miserable skin. See where I'm going with this... [very empty] promises?
One of the very first things Dr. Jason and I changed about our home environment was soap. Our journey took us down several paths which led us to our understanding of what exactly is in the substances being marketed as soap, and we realized those harsh chemicals were more harmful than good, and you're better off not using those soap substances at all (whoa).
I won't go into the chemical warfare being waged on your skin and endocrine system (whaat? start here to learn about endocrine disruptors) with the substances proclaiming themselves to be soap. You can search the internet to find information on the topic of detergents, surfactants, fragrances, alcohols, preservatives, colors, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, etc. If you're here, you're probably already looking for a better way to wash. That's where I come in! :)
Where to Begin
So where do you begin? There are SO MANY types of soap in just the, what I lovingly call, "hippy aisle" at the grocery store alone it is overwhelming. I used to live in that aisle reading labels on Sundays when we first started our soap journey. It takes time, so have some grace and patience with yourself while you're exploring! Anyway, we have run the gamut of soap - castile, olive oil, coconut, lard, milk (of various animals), pine-tar, and on and on. We tried liquids and bars alike. I'd hazard a guess that there isn't much on the hippy aisle and from local soap makers that we haven't tried.
It took us a good 5 years or so to settle on something that worked. I'm as restless as a jaybird so I'm always looking for something better, which I consider a good thing. My relentless pursuit to find the best for our family led me to pure lye soap made with food grade lard (animal fat). It's now our go-to soap for hand washing and bathing. We don't use anything else except liquid castile for tasks that are easier with a liquid soap (i.e. cleaning my retainers LOL). We also buy natural dish soap but dishes and the cleaning thereof will be in a future post. Stay tuned! (Have you subscribed to the blog yet?)
Since this is your personal journey of evolution at home, what works for us may not work for you! We tried the various plant based soaps and didn't really like the result. We found the lard based soap works the best for us because it doesn't dry out our skin and doesn't cause any allergies.
What to Look For
Look for ingredients that are natural (you can read the label and know what they are), organic when possible, and are saponified using natural processes. Here's a great example:
INGREDIENTS: Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Mica, Kaolin Clay, Essential Oil.
Or, our personal favorite, lye soap
INGREDIENTS: Lard (food grade), Water (aqua), & Sodium Hydroxide (lye).
And castile soap ingredients, which we use occasionally when liquid soap is easier to use:
Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide**, Organic Palm Kernel Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol **None remains after saponifying oils into soap & glycerin.
What to Avoid
Avoid any sulfate type detergents and surfactants - things that make soap like products lather up abundantly so you feel like you're getting a lot of clean for your buck. That lather is killing your skin and its healthy oils. Even proclaimed "natural" soaps have coconut or other plant derived sulfates are likely going to strip your skin of oils, leading to dry, miserable skin. Avoid artificial fragrances (endocrine disruptors), anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and basically any ingredients you can't easily identify. Your soap doesn't need to kill every living organism on it (some bacteria is fighting the good fight for us!) as well as strip off your healthy skin oil, which provides protection for your skin.
Where to Look
I'd suggest cruising Etsy, Amazon, your grocery store, natural product websites, or local farmers markets with soap artisans until you find what works for you. If you do purchase from a soap artisan, be sure to ask what the ingredients are.
Recovering Your Skin
While your skin is restoring itself from being exposed to soap-like substances, it may get itchier, more irritated, more greasy (yeah, I know, but makeup!), etc. Be patient! Your body has to restore its natural balance of oils and recover from years of repeated stripping and chemical exposure. First it will SCREAM for the stuff you were using, for the lotions sold to you to fix what soap did. Then you'll notice that storm of skin anger calm down. It will itch less, be less greasy (you're welcome), and be easier to maintain. That's when you're on your way to enjoying the benefits of natural soaps. After your skin restores balance, try one soap for at least a couple of weeks until you figure out what works. Sometimes, your skin will tell you right away if it doesn't like a soap, and that's wonderful! Listen to it. You don't have to suffer through it to prove a point.
Just remember, you'll probably have to kiss a lot of soap toads before you find your prince/princess soap (HA!). :) In the end, your skin and body will thank you.
Want to take the next step in your personal evolution? Book your consultation today.
You can buy the most natural of products and not reap the benefits if you have hard water where you live. If you live in Texas, you have hard water. To remedy this, you can either get a whole house softening system (which is quite an investment, and completely worth it) or you can buy and in-line water softener for your shower. WHAT!? Yes, my friend. In-line water softening for your shower that costs pennies to maintain. Interested? Click on over to my blog post about it. This is one thing I'm happy to give a name brand and a website because it's the only in-line water softener for showers I was able to find. We are not affiliated nor do we get any kickbacks if you buy. We just want to share this glorious invention.
Disclaimer: the information provided in this blog is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any illness, or provide a second opinion or alter a current treatment plan. If you have a medical concern, please contact your healthcare professional. Please see our full blog disclaimer here.