Welcome to Day 7 of the 12 Days of Beauty!
I have been asked, 'Why I don't make and sell soap?' The answer may surprise you! The truth is that I have made soap and I have also leaned more about the science of the skin.
Before I explain more, let me tell you a bit about soap making. It is an absolutely amazing feeling to learn about the process of combining natural fats together with a strong base ( like sodium hydroxide [NaOH] - typically called 'lye' or potassium hydroxide [KOH]). After a natural process of saponification, the end soap product is basic and typically with a pH around 9 - 10.
For me, the very first batch of soap that I ever made was utilizing hot process. I was completely enthralled with making a batch of soap in the morning, and being able to use the soap in the shower that evening. (Hot process soap making utilizing heat, which speeds up the saponification process, allowing soap to be useable in hours.) I still remember the very first shower, I was not only completely excited to use my homemade soap, but I even remember the scent of the lemongrass soap and I was completely amazed how soft my skin felt after that first shower.
I was completely 'in love' with my soap, but after about a month of continual use, I noticed that my skin started to change. Dry patches, were appearing, my skin seemed to be more sensitive to irritation and started feeling tight and itchy. I originally had thought that perhaps it was just the change of the season or my skin needing more hydration and moisturizing, so I decided to increase moisturizing my skin with lotion and butters. It never occurred to me that it could be the result of using the soap, after all, my soap was naturally made with the highest quality ingredients. After about 3 months of using soap,... I had no choice but to stop using it as my skin seemed to be out of control, extremely dry and super sensitive/ irritated to everything.
It was not until quite some years later that I learnt more about the science of the skin, and more importantly, the emphasis of pH and the pH required for healthy, happy skin.
To give you some background, normal healthy skin has potential of hydrogen (pH) range of 4.5 to 6 and normal bacterial microbiome. To put this into perspective the pH scale is from 1-14. 1 pH is highly acidic and 14 pH is highly alkaline. Water is typically considered neutral with a pH around 7. As I mentioned previously, soap typically has a pH of around 9 (slightly alkaline) and normal skin healthy skin is typically between 4.5 to 6 pH (slightly acidic).
We are currently talking about soap, however any beauty product applied to skin may have the same reaction and soaps, shampoos, body washes, etc, used by the population at large have a pH outside of the range of normal skin and hair pH values. Your skin pH will immediately match the pH of the what you are applying to it, so what does this mean for your skin health?
Well, think about anyone who spends time with their hands in water, just plain water. How many of those people do you know, have extremely dry hands from having their hands in water. That's because water with a typical pH of about 7 (hard water may have a pH of 8 or more ) makes the skin on hands at a higher pH than what the range for normal healthy skin is, resulting in dehydrated dry skin. So consider what it means when you put a product on your skin that is a pH of 9 or more?
Granted that we are each unique and our individual tolerances to varying pH levels will be individual as well; I know a friend of mine who has been making soap and soap shampoo bars for years. She LOVES making soap and does a beautiful job of making them look amazing (Soap art is a talent!). However, she has also been concerned about her daughter's hair and scalp. Her daughter has very dry scalp and very brittle, fine hair. My friend also knows that I have been working on a haircare line (hoping to launch in 2021) and asked for some advice. I explained what I know about the pH of soap and the skin and am so happy to report that changing the shampoo that the daughter uses to one that aligns with the normal healthy pH range, has made an incredible difference. My friend, although she has used soap shampoo bars for years with no adverse effects, is now very conscious of the pH of products that she puts on her skin.
There may be other factors that alter the normal health pH of skin, but the following are some of the effects to skin when products are used that are outside of the health skin pH range. (These effects are heightened if you have sensitive and acne prone skin.) :
Causes dryness, chronic dryness, and dry, dehydrated skin types
Provokes dry skin patches
Makes skin flake, peel & crack
creates irritation, redness, sensitivity and itchy skin
leaves skin feeling tight (and not in a anti-aging type of tight skin!)
stops healthy skin bacteria sticking to your skin
helps problem skin bacteria (such as acne bacteria breed)
I still am amazed by the soap making process and admire all of those makers who utilize nature in this way. I understand all those individuals who use handmade soaps, wanting to embrace the amazing benefits of nature's ingredients, but the one thing that I have learnt, through my own experiences and education, is that there are ways of utilizing the benefits of nature that must be in harmony with the way our skin and body needs. Now understanding the pH requirements of skin, I now know how to formulate body wash, hand wash, shampoo, lotions, etc, within the pH range of normal healthy skin. I may still make soap, however I will NOT be using it on my skin. For me, I will be leaving soap for making cleaning supplies, laundry detergents and other products that won't have effects on the normal healthy pH of my skin. I would also never sell any product to anyone else that I don't believe in myself. (That's also why I am the Lead Product Tester of every product that Soul Concept formulates! ) Using products that are in line with normal healthy pH range of skin has made all the difference to how my skin feels and how quickly I can support any changes that happen to my skin.
All Soul Concept products are formulated within the healthy pH range of skin! Let's take the White Peppermint Patty Hand & Body Wash and Sweet Vanilla Frost Hand & Body Wash. Both of these hand & body washes are formulated with natural surfactants, oils, vitamins and extracts, to embrace the abundant benefits of nature for the skin, and the final product is about 5 - 5.5 (which is well within the range of normal healthy skin). This product provides all the gentle cleaning, abundant skin hydration in a pH range that will leave skin soft, smooth, and not overly dried, irritated or sensitive! Check out each product for the ingredient spotlight benefits!
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There is no requirement for a pH value to be labeled on any product. This makes it more difficult as a consumer to choose products that will be completely beneficial to your skin health. Soul Concept is committed to formulating and sharing products that maximize all the benefits that nature provides, in a way that works in harmony with your skin and body!
Give the gift of Natural Self-care this year, to others and yourself, and celebrate the UNIQUE BEAUTY of YOU!