Five Essential Elements of Beneficial Soaps

As I’ve gotten older, my skin changed drastically. Suddenly, I started getting rashes all over my body- different types. First on my feet, underarms and patches on my arms. Later, my legs, back, face and other places. I found out that not only was it caused by my laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, but mostly the soap I used everyday to wash my body. At the time, I was using anything that was on sale at the local supermarket. My dermatologist recommended that I switch strictly to Dove, beauty bar. Later, I learned that Dove is just that – a beauty bar. It doesn’t include anything that is actually good for your skin. It may deplete your skin of its natural oils, causing dry skin. It also doesn’t contain anything that actually cleans the skin. So, I started looking for alternatives.

I started experimenting with natural soaps that were made made and sold in local farmers markets. I started speaking to the “soap artists” [that’s what I call them] and they all told me different things, but basically they had the same concept. Here is what I learned:

  1. Soaps that contain less ingredients the better;
  2. Use soaps with ingredients that you know [and can spell]; 
  3. Use soaps that contain only essential oils; 
  4. Do not use soaps with harsh chemicals and dyes; and 
  5. Natural soaps are not all the same. Know how the ingredients help your personal needs. 

With those five requirements in mind, I set out to find the soap that was best for me and my family. Here is what I found, the soaps I liked and disliked and why.

Oregonia Soap Works 
handcrafted in Oregonia, OH

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I found this soap while attending an outdoor market on a farm in Lebanon, OH. They specialize in soaps that help certain skin and health problems for both humans and pets. Their soaps helps many different conditions such as inflammation, nausea, muscle pain and aches, skin wounds, skin healing, allergies, diabetes, sinuses and much more. The conditions are listed on each label for convenience. I usually don’t rely on their allegations of healing until I try it. At the time of purchase, I had an incredibly painful and itchy large lupus rash on my lower leg. Medication wasn’t working, so I purchased a soap called “Tea Time” [Tea Tree, Lemongrass, Gingergrass, Chamomile]. It contained saponified olive oil, coconut oil, organic RSPO certified palm oil, vitamin E, organic turnip root extract, nutrients, and essential oils. I also purchased “Purple Fields” [Lavender]. It contained the same basic ingredients but different essential oils. I also bought a charcoal soap that really helped with my rash. I loved everything about this brand. The soap left my soap soft, moisturized and more importantly, cleared up my skin. They do not have a regular home base store, but their schedule can be found on their website or purchased online. This has to be my favorite company so far. They sold me and are my number one choice.

Miss Selby’s Soap
handcrafted in Middletown, OH

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Miss Selby started her soap making business in local markets and has since opened multiple locations, including boutiques at The Greene and in Middletown. She began making soaps and non-toxic cleaners after her daughter developed allergies. She was a local nurse but has since given up that career and began another. Now, her daughters are working in the shops. The three of them have an intense knowledge of the importance of natural ingredients and essential oils. My favorite is “Tea Tree & Clay”. It contained saponified oils of olive, coconut, shea butter, rhassoul clay, french green clay and essential oils. It really keeps my skin rashes under control and reduced my outbreaks. Between Oregonia Soap Works and Selby’s, I stay pretty well stocked. The best thing about Miss Selby’s is that they have local boutiques and they treat their customers like family. Also, purchasing gifts for others, which I do on occasion, they wrap it up like shown above. It’s one perfect package all in one.

Green Bubble Gorgeous
handcrafted in Grand Rapids, OH

Green Bubble Gorgeous Bath and Body Goods company sells more than just soaps. But, their soaps are amazing, as well as their other products. I also bought a jar of their body butter and it is among my favorites. I found it at a local street market just by chance. But, getting back to the soaps, I purchased the “Amazing Grace”. the scent is just as in the name – amazing! It lathers really well, it’s light, soft to the skin and I loved it. The ingredients included saponified organic olive oil, coconut and palm oil, patchouli essential oil, and chromium dioxide greens. I can’t wait to get more.

Barefoot in the Garden
Handcrafted in Dayton, OH

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When I went to another market, I ran into Barefoot in the Garden. I purchased “Oatmeal, Mile & Honey with Goat’s Milk”. It included goat’s milk, saponified oils, including olive, coconut, sunflower, castor, shea butter, tallow, kaolin clay, oatmeal and fragrance. The only thing that this soap didn’t include that would meet the requirements for a good soap was the essential oils. Some soap makers tend to shy away from the essential oils because of the cost. But, they are very important. I did enjoy this soap. It was the first time I ever used a soap made out of goats milk. It was different than other soaps- creamy, great lather, held it’s shape well and lasted a little longer than other soaps.

Burt’s Bees 
Replenishing Body Bar
Made in North Carolina

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I was in a pinch one day and didn’t have time to find a farmer’s market to replenish my soap supply. This is one downfall of buying handmade soap- prepare to go through one bar every week or every other week for two people. It’s about an average of $5-$6 a bar. So, when I was at Dorothy Lane Market, I thought I would go with a well-known brand that prides itself in making products from natural bee products. I purchased “Cranberry & Pomegranate Replenishing Body Bar”. The ingredients include sodium rapeseedate, aqua, sodium cocotte, glycerin, perfume, helianthus annuus seed oil, luffa cylindrical fruit, tunica granatum extract, theobroma grandiflorum seed butter, vaccinium macrocarpon fruit extract, vaccinium macrocarpon seed powder, sodium citrate, CI 77491, citral, geraniol, limonene, linalool. The soap was brash and felt like nothing special. It didn’t lather well and it was just something to fill in the gap until I could get something better. I wouldn’t buy it again.

Wick-edly Sent Soap & Candle Company
handcrafted in New York

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I bought this soap at a market that occurred at the Nutter Center in Fairborn, OH. The one thing that attracted me to this soap was the labeling- of course. If you know me personally, you’ll know that I love fireflies. So, naturally I was drawn to the label. I purchased the Black Raspberry & Vanilla Olive Oil Soap. It contained saponified oils of palm, olive canola, coconut, fragrance and essential oils, sodium lactate. I also purchased Cucumber Melon Olive Oil Soap. It contained olive oil, coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, fragrance, sodium lactate. Before, I even say anything about the soap, you can tell it didn’t meet the five essential elements of good soap. But, it was enjoyable. It didn’t lather very well, but smelled light and clean. I wouldn’t buy it online, but I would buy it again if I saw it around the area again.

Barmaid Soap Company 
handcrafted in Kettering, OH

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I found this soap at the Webster Street Market in Dayton. I purchased “Bubbly Beer Soap w/ Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout”. This was my first experience with natural soap and it was horrible. It was the worst soap – FOR ME! Later, I found out that I should never use beer soaps. I suffered a horrible rash for weeks after just one use. It burned my skin and just wasn’t for me. But, my husband liked it. It contained saponified olive oil, RSPO palm oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, palm kernel oil, fragrance and essential oils, and meadowfoam oil. Some people love beer soap, but if you have sensitive skin, it might not be a good idea.

What’s your favorite soap?

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