Natural soap. What is the big deal?

People who have seen my kitchen lately might be wondering what the fuss is all about. What started as a simple what was supposed to be a simple handmade Christmas gift has exploded into a natural soap making frenzy. And it doesn’t look like it will be stopping anytime soon. But, why? What is all the fuss?

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freshly made natural soap, still in the mold

Why bother with natural or handmade soap? How does natural soap compare with commercial soap? What is the best soap out there for you and your family? I would like to share with you a little what I have learned about the benefits of natural soap and body products, and why I bother.

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tea tree peppermint soap


This evolution from the commercial life many of us were raised on, to a more natural way of living, is a transition I’ve been working on for my family since the start… long before it became all the rage. {I don’t want to say exactly how long. That would date me, now, wouldn’t it? Anyhow…} It takes time to change old habits. It doesn’t all happen overnight. I think we all intuitively know that a more natural way of living is a more healthful way of living. The evolution {or, devolution?} happens, one choice at a time, as we educate ourselves and decide what is important for us and those we love. These last couple of years, one area I have especially been focused on is our personal hygiene products.

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Reasons I have turned to natural soap (and other body products):

  • I had some serious frustration after a stint of several trips to the doctor for a ‘health problem’ that I eventually figured out was being caused by a body wash I had been using. This had gone on for well over six months and it was such a simple solution. No more shopping at that store. Finding an alternative that suited my needs, not so simple. The search began.
  • Searching for a solution to what seems like overly itchy skin… why does my skin tickle all the time? While I admit that natural soap has not completely eliminated the nagging little tickly itch my skin experiences, it has reduced it. I’m still searching for the perfect recipe.
  • No more synthetic fragrances – they interfere with your hormones. Yup. No more smelly good soaps, no more candles, no more {gasp} perfume?! Nope. Not unless it is scented all naturally with essential oils and zero synthetics.
  • Continuing to eliminate the unnatural ingredients in our environment that I know are not good for any of us.


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calendula {and lots of other skin healing herbs} in an organic olive oil infusion


We take so much care of what we put into our bodies, what we put on our bodies deserves the same thoughtfulness.

So what is the difference?

Natural Soap vs Commercial Soap

Soap is made with three basic ingredients – water, oil, and lye. When these ingredients come together they form a chemical reaction, saponification, where the molecules undergo separation and reformation and what you end up with is soap. Natural soap contains glycerin that helps to moisturize your skin by pulling moisture from the air. The commercial soap industry, seeing that glycerin is so wonderful, removes it from ‘soaps’ and uses it elsewhere – in other products like lotion, to moisturize skin. Seems like it would have just been better to leave the glycerin in the soap in the first place.

Not only does the commercial ‘soap’ industry remove the glycerin, but they then pack these products with all sorts of synthetic ingredients, toxic chemicals, and harmful imitation fragrances. Get away from harmful commercial soap ingredients like parabens, phthalates, and artificial dyes and perfumes. These things are known to cause cancer, mess with your hormones, and cause other short and long-term health effects. Do we keep using them because we feel like there isn’t a good alternative?

In natural, handmade soaps, the glycerin remains along with the thoughtfully chosen emollient oils and butters, botanicals, clays, and essential oils that may have been used by the soapmaker for that particular recipe. I love that handmade, natural soap can be endlessly customized to an individual’s particular needs or taste. Need a facial bar for damaged and aging skin? Or a bar that will soothe and calm you with lavender essential oil just before bed? Or a nice, exfoliating soap scrub, with coffee to energize, and shea butter to moisturize… oh, the possibilities.

When you use real soap instead of the commercial alternatives, you are cleansing your skin, and moisturizing, at the same time. Pampering and protecting your largest organ, and your immune system’s first line of defense, your skin, with natural ingredients. Ingredients chosen to clean, condition, moisturize, soothe and heal.

Don’t fall for what they disguise in pretty packaging and try to pass off to us as good. They may seem convenient, but then, so does McDonald’s.

What is the best soap?

That is for each of us to decide for ourselves and our families. Whatever you do, educate yourself, and seek out something natural. Maybe learn how to make natural homemade soap for yourself, it’s fun! Then you have complete control over what your are putting on your body. Then again, maybe you don’t have time for making your soap from scratch. Local soap makers can be found if you seek them out. And… you can always order from me. 😉

For my tiny, little (yet growing) community of readers… If you would like to try out some of the natural, homemade soaps I have been working on, using as much as possible locally grown and gathered ingredients from around the Pacific Northwest and out of our own PNW edible and medicinal gardens, here is a coupon you can use in our brand new (definitely a work in progress) Etsy shop, use coupon code – PNWBLOG15OFF – to save 15% off your first order.


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hood canal saltwater cedar soap – quickly becoming a favorite!


We have a small selection listed at the moment. Stay tuned for the line that we are working hard to have ready for Valentines Day! We will have some of the ‘sold out’ favorites from the first line, and what I am sure will be some new favorites that I am really excited about.

For more information on natural soap vs commercial soap, check out this article discussing the differences plus how important using natural skin products can be for a full body detox. And also these articles on the benefits of using real, natural soap and the benefits of organic soap. Want to know more about the ingredients you find in natural soap? Stay tuned, that post is coming next.

Comments or questions? I would love to hear from you!

If you find this article useful or interesting, I would be so grateful if you spread the word! {…thank you for your likes, follows and shares!}



2 thoughts on “Natural soap. What is the big deal?

  1. Pingback: CEDAR & HERB SHAMPOO Bar | PNW from Scratch

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