In the last few years it has come to light how bad plastic pollution is, and not only are more people actively avoiding plastic water bottles, straws and bags, the barred soap industry has also been doing better over the last two years.
In 2018, we have spent over £68 million on bars of soap, which was the first time in the last century (?!) that the sale of barred soaps went up. Even though this is only a 3% rise, it's fantastic to see the return of the soap bar in people's households.
If you're worried about hygiene, please don't. Soap bars aren't really less hygienic than liquid soaps. Bacteria can start to grow when the soap stays wet for too long time and goes soggy, but you don't have to worry about the build up if you use it a couple of times per day and wash off the soggy bits while washing your hands.
Any kind of soap, and most definitely soap bars will help kill coronavirus cells, read more about this below.
One of the main reasons for us to go back to barred soap is to reduce our household waste. With barred soap we also won't be overusing the soap, because a liquid soap dispenser often pump out too much soap which is a complete waste of watered down product!
How is soap made?
You will often read the words glycerine, glycol, glycerin or glycerol in the ingredient list, and when you do, this means those fats can be made either from animal fats or vegetable fats/oils. Animal fats used can be fats from pork, beef or sheep and most soap bars that do not contain the words 'vegan' or 'vegetarian' will use this form of fat in their soaps. Because, here we go: vegetable fats are more expensive than animal fats. Vegetable oil and fats come from coconuts, palm oil, shea butter, beeswax, soybean and many of the cooking oils you have in your cupboard at home.
The moment the lye solution mixes in with the oils, the substance 'saponifies' - the chemical reaction changes the oils, turning them into 'soap': it becomes harder and when dried, you can use the bar to clean your body and hair.
What to look out for when buying natural bar of soap
What to do when you want a vegan (or vegetarian) soap bar made of natural ingredients?
First of all, look at the words vegetarian or vegan.
The next step is to avoid parabens and SLS.
Parabens (methylparaben, butylparaben, propyl paraben or isoparaben and everything else ending in paraben) are used to prolong shelf-life and help against growth of bacteria and mould.
SLS (which you can also find in hair, dental and cleaning products) is used as a thickener and emulsifier - also used in some foods. Please make sure your soap (and all other products) is free of both SLS or SLES (the slightly less irritating version). There are many concerns about their toxicity. SLS can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and scalp and parabens can disrupt hormone function and could be connected to breast cancer.
Dove is the number 1 soap brand currently dominating the markets in America and Europe. I'm sorry to say, but there are barely any natural ingredients in their bars or liquids. Even though they haven't tested on animals in the last 30 years and are PETA certified since late 2018, non of their products are certified as vegan. So stear clear of Dove if you want vegetarian or vegan products.
Soap is the most effective way to wash away COVID-19 particles
Since the lockdown started all kinds of soaps have been flying off the shelves. There are no exact numbers for (bars of) soap sold, but the first week of March saw an extra £60 million spent at supermarkets for personal hygiene and cleaning products, and dry and canned foods.
Many small companies have enjoyed fantastically profitable months and we can see a definite rise in luxury soap bars on the market. I love soap bars so much, that it's the reason I started making soaps, now selling my own range in this webshop.