Unwrapping The Allure of Classic Soap Bars: From Past to Present
We live in a world increasingly dominated by liquid soaps and shower gels. But did you know there's a rising tide of individuals and communities shifting back to contentment with good old-fashioned hard soap bars? Why this unexpected u-turn, you might wonder. In this article, we journey back to the remarkable history and lasting appeal of solid soap bars.
Solid soap bars, or the humble slab of cleanliness we are all familiar with, was once the golden standard of sanitation. From its creation nearly 3000 years ago, it has remained an integral part of human hygiene. Our reasons for loving them are plentiful such as:
- Less wasteful packaging compared to liquid soaps
- Rich in natural ingredients like glycerin and essential oils
- Superior durability and long-lasting compared to liquid soaps
A Journey Through Time: The Soapy Saga
Over the centuries, soap bars have experienced various transformations – from the crude mix of ash and animal fats in Babylonia to the refined and luxurious concoctions in Victorian England. The essential process, however, has remained relatively unchanged. The magic of turning oil and lye into a cleaning and moisturizing block has stood the test of time.
In the ancient Mediterranean cultures, soap was an unbeatable companion to public bathing rituals. To the Romans, it symbolized cleanliness and purity. During the Middle Ages, soap was used not only for personal hygiene but also for cleaning textiles. In fact, with the Industrial Revolution, giant soap-making factories emerged – shaping soap bars into the firm bricks we are familiar with now.
A Green Turn: Bars Over Bottles
The plastic crisis we face today has led us to rethink our choices, and the humble soap bar stands clear as a beacon of eco-friendly options. The plastic bottles that house our liquid soaps contribute to the horrid mountains of plastic waste laying waste to our environments. Switching to soap bars, more often than not veggie-wrapped or paper-packaged, drastically reduces this waste.
In addition to being zero-waste, many soap bars available today are made from natural ingredients, causing less harm to aquatic life when washed down our drains.
Inside Your Soap Bar: A Sustainable Symphony
Ever wondered about what goes into the making of your soap bar? Most good quality bars are a blend of oils or fats, lye and various extras like perfume, colours or even herbs and spices. This chemical reaction called saponification turns oils into soap and glycerin. Notably, glycerin, a powerful moisturizer, often remains within these bars – offering an acne-friendly cleansing option.
Parade of Soap Bars: Classic and Contemporary Varieties
Soap bars come in a riot of types suitable for every individual’s unique requirement. From the traditional Castile, Aleppo, and Savon de Marseille soaps to modern favourites such as charcoal soap, tea tree soap, and rice water bars.
These bars can work wonders for the health and beauty of your skin. For instance, the best soap for men in terms of invigorating and deep cleanse is often charcoal soap or oatmeal soap, offering a nourishing clean. Meanwhile, lavender soap, black soap, tea tree soap, and the other diverse soap bars cater to those with specific skin types or sensitivities like acne or eczema. Striking the right balance between moisturizing and cleansing, they help maintain healthy, glowing skin. Explore our collection here.
Dispelling Misconceptions: The Soapy Truths
Bar Soap is Dirty: It's believed that bar soap is unclean because bacteria remain on its surface. However, this isn't true; soap removes dirt and impurities, which are then washed away. To maintain cleanliness, simply rinse the soap after use and store it on a draining dish.
Bar Soap is Super Drying: Contrary to this myth, natural bar soaps are made with skin-nourishing ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil that moisturize rather than strip skin of natural oils.
Bar Soap Won’t Get You Clean: Some think that bar soap isn't effective for cleaning. In reality, bar soaps dissolve and lift dirt from the skin's surface, and ingredients like charcoal and clays can provide a deep clean.
Bar Soap is Wasteful: Bar soap is actually less wasteful than body washes since it doesn’t require plastic packaging and can be used entirely without leaving waste behind.
Bar Soap Leaves a Mess: If soap is left in water, it may "melt" or crumble, but this can be prevented by keeping it dry on a well-draining dish.
Antibacterial Soap is Better: Antibacterial soap is not proven to be more effective than regular soap at killing disease-causing germs.
Bar Soap is More Expensive: It's actually liquid soap that tends to be used more quickly and therefore can be more costly over time.
Bar Soap Creates More Environmental Waste: Liquid soap contributes more to waste due to its plastic packaging and the energy required for its production and disposal.
Bar Soap Transfers Germs: Germs cannot grow on bar soap if it is kept dry between uses, and rinsing the soap before use can serve as an extra precaution.
Bar Soap is Boring: Many bar soaps are uniquely handcrafted with various designs and essential oils, offering a delightful experience.
Crafted Just for You: Match the Bar to Your Skin
As with all things skincare, it's essential to understand what your specific skin type needs. Dry skin might benefit from glycerin-rich soap or a bar enriched with oils. If your skin is oily, you might find a clay-based or charcoal soap bar beneficial. Zinc pyrithione soap is a known accomplice for those warring with fungal acne. Meanwhile, sensitive skin will appreciate a gentle, fragrance-free formulation.
Tips for Picking Out Your Soap Match:
- Know Your Skin Type Understanding whether your skin is dry, oily, sensitive, or combination will guide your choice.
- Check the Ingredients Ensure that the soap isn't packed full of synthetic detergents and check for natural moisturizing ingredients.
- Pick One That Suits Your Needs Acne-prone? Opt for a tea tree soap. Need a deep cleanse? Activated charcoal soap might be your best friend. Concerned about environmental impact? Look for a vegan and palm oil-free natural bar soap.
Making the Most of Your Soap Bar
Caring for your soap bar can help extend its lifespan and maintain its efficacy. Keeping your soap in a dry, cool place when not in use can prevent it from becoming mushy or dissolving too quickly. Soap dishes with a draining mechanism can also help prolong the life of your soap bar. Check out our range of soap dishes here.
Moreover, hygiene doesn't need to be a concern with solid bars. Research indicates that the risk of disease transmission from a soap bar is negligible. Regular rinsing of the soap also keeps it clean for use.
The Resurgence of The Soap Bar
The green revolution has spurred a global resurgence of soap bars. From major brands to small businesses and home soap-makers, there's been a flurry of activity around creating soap bars that are eco-friendly, effective, and luxurious. Brands are innovating with exotic ingredients, like Himalayan pink salt or exotic Amazonian butters, and creating soap bars that are a treat for the senses.
From synthetic, mass-produced bars, we've progressed to artisanal bars crafted with care and respect for the environment. These handcrafted soaps are on par with, if not better than, their liquid counterparts in terms of quality, ingredients and performance. No wonder then that they are making a grand comeback not just in our homes, but also in gift boxes, as hotel amenities, in guest bathrooms and much more.
More so, with the increasing awareness about go-green measures in our society, it is safe to say that the future of personal care is solid, sustainable and soap-full! Check out some artisanal creations here.