Is handmade soap is really any better than the soap you buy in a store? There are really many ways to answer this question. However, I think the simplest one is that handmade soap is of far greater quality than the soaps usually available in stores. The biggest reason for this is the control that individual soap makers have over their ingredients.
Soap that is commercially produced and available in most stores typically contains a mix of synthetic ingredients and chemical additives. While these "soaps" will clean your skin, they also may cause unfavorable reactions with your skin such as rashes or other irritations. Take a look at the ingredients list of an average bar of soap in the store and see precisely what it says. Many of these bars aren't actually called "soap" at all. Instead, they label themselves as "beauty bars" or something similar. Why? Because they technically don't meet the FDA's definition of a soap! The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) defines soap as an object where "the bulk of the nonvolatile matter in the product consists of an alkali salt of fatty acids and the product's detergent properties are due to the alkali-fatty acid compounds." (Learn more about the FDA's stance on soap here.)
In contrast, handmade soaps are created by carefully selecting oils and butters for their ability to help nourish the skin. They can cleanse the body without stripping away precious moisture. Many people find that they no longer need lotion after making the switch to handmade soaps. The naturally occurring glycerin produced by the soap making process remains in the handmade soap, so your skin is left feeling soft and smooth.
While there are many recipe variations to handmade soap, you can rest assured that the soap maker has carefully considered the properties of all ingredients. Most types of skin need a delicate balance of cleansing and conditioning, and handmade soaps can provide this.
In addition to the basic soap making process, there is a larger range of color and scent choices available when you purchase handmade soap. This means that there are a lot of opportunities to find your favorite combination! What is your favorite reason for using handmade soap?