Natural Soaps: An Introduction

Recently I have been starting to use only natural soaps for wasching my body, face and even hair. The difference to regular soap is that natural soaps are almost completely made out of oils. No harsh chemicals, preservatives or detergents. While normal soap often leaves your skin dry, natural soap can moisturize it. It comes it hundreds of different variations. With salt or clay, herbs or essential oils, the possibilities are endless and it depends on the skin type you have.

I have mixed skin on my face. While my forehead is often shiny, my nose, chin and part of my cheeks suffer from big pores and blackheads while being dry at the same time! I have tried lots of products but nothing really made it better. When I heard that natural soaps might help with that I was willing to try immediately.

Compared to my face, the skin on my body is really dry so I wanted a soap that was superfatted a bit more. The term is explained quite well on Chagrin Valley‘s page:

Superfatting is the process of adding extra fats (oils or butters) when formulating a soap recipe, so there is more fat in the mixture than the lye can react with during the chemical reaction.

Superfatting leaves a portion of unincorporated oils in the finished soap. Superfatted soaps have superior moisturizing and emollient qualities.”

2women2cats: Natural soaps - Rizodermol
Rizordemol by Savion with coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, tea tree oil, clove oil, argan oil, walnut oil. 80 g.

This Rizodermol soap is for dry skin as well as itchy skin and skin that suffers from eczema and acne and is superfatted at 10%. It has a really pleasant smell and feels great on the skin. I sometimes also use it for my face. Since the skin on my legs is really dry at the moment I oil it after the shower with coconut oil. The soap itself is quite soft so you can easily cut of a piece if you don’t want to use the whole bar at once.

2women2cats: Natural soaps - Flow Cosmetics
On the right: Clay and Marine Algea soap with shea-and coconut butter, coconut oil and rosemary. 60 g. On the left: Gardener’s soap with shea butter, coconut oil and lavender. 60 g.

Another body soap is the Gardener’s soap (left) by Flow Cosmetics, a Finnish brand. It is antiseptic and peels the skin. To me it smells a bit like fresh laundry. Unfortunately the soaps from Flow don’t indicate the superfat percentage. Just by trying, I would say it is less superfatted than the Rizodermol but that might be just the ingredients working differently on my skin.The bar is hard but you can still cut it well without crumbling.

Another soap by Flow that I own is the face soap Clay and Marine Algea (right) for mixed and oily skin. The smell is difficult to describe but it’s pleasant. It takes my make up off (I use mineral make up) quite well but leaves the skin a bit dry afterwards. At the moment I am still experimenting if my skin is lacking fat or moisture. So for more moisture I put on aloe vera gel after washing and oil with coconut or sesame oil (cold pressed) afterwards.

2women2cats: Natural soaps - Aleppo soap
Aleppo soap with 60% olive- and 40% laurel oil.

My main face soap for the evenings is an Aleppo soap with a high percentage in laurel oil against impure skin. It takes aways my make up easily and develops a nice foam. This soap is made after a traditional recipe from Syria and comes as a big bar of 200 g which was a bit difficult to cut. You can use it for your body, hair and face. I quite liked it as a hair soap. Only used it a few times since I am trying the Only Water method at the moment but my hair didn’t get greasy as fast as before. As a conditioner I used a vinegar rinse which left my hair soft and shiny.

I bought it at Genuss im Bad which has lots of lovely soaps. For the shipping to Finland I paid only 4€ (up to 500 g)! You can contact them beforehand if you want to order to a different EU country but that should always be possible. They replied immediately and soaps were here quickly.

2women2cats: Natural soaps - sea salt soap
Sea salt soap with 50% salt. Also with coconut-, olive- and rapeseed oil. 110 g.

In the mornings I either use ghassoul clay by Logona or a salt soap for my face. Salt is also great for blemishes and acne prone skin but with some people it tends to dry out a lot. My sea salt soap contains 50% salt and smells like lavender and rosemary. Because of the salt it is more difficult to cut and will easily crumble. Although the salt content is high, is still foamed up well in my hands.

Summary: My face cleaning routine contains washing my face either with a natural soap or lava earth. In the evening I use mostly the Aleppo soap. In the morning either the salt soap or ghassoul clay as a mask or face wash. I always wet my face first and make the soap foamy in my hands since I don’t apply the bar directly to my face. While that is certainly possible with most soaps, it’s not recommended for salt ones.

The ghassoul clay can be mixed with honey, tea tree oil or other oils and leaves the skin really soft but in my case a bit dry on certain areas. After washing my face in the morning I put on aloe vera gel and add a few drops of coconut or sesame oil which is really mild. In the evening I pat my face with rose water as a toner before the aloe and oil treatment.

For my body I use mostly the Rizodermol soap and apply coconut oil afterwards. Under the shower I use the bars directly on my skin.

Conclusion: I am still in the testing phase so before I will change anything I want to observe changes to my skin a bit more. I really like the feeling of the soaps on my skin and the thought of doing something good to it without using all those unnecessary chemicals in most skin product. The blemishes are a bit better at the moment but there is still lots to improve. Next I will test some soaps without olive oil because I’m not sure yet if that might be comedogenic for me.

Yesterday I made some whipped shea butter for dry winter skin that also can be used for atopic rashes. Check the instagram box on the right for a preview! A tutorial on the blog will follow soon.

I also plan on making my own soap these days. One body/face soap and one highly superfatted on (maybe 20%) for the body. As you can see I am quite hooked on natural soaps and want to test a few more. Which are you favourite ones?



5 thoughts on “Natural Soaps: An Introduction

  1. I too struggle with finding soaps that suit my skin. Right now I’m using a goat milk soap for my face, and a lovely soap with peppermint essential oil for my body that is wonderfully cooling on these hot Australian Spring days. 🙂

    1. When I ordered the soaps I also wanted to take a goat milk one but there wasn’t any space in the package anymore 😀 So definitely one I want to try out!

  2. A few months ago i took a class about how to make natural soaps recycling used kitchen oil. The result was amazing soap.
    I still have to make it at home, hopefully soon so i can write about it 😀

    1. A soap class sounds awesome! It is really so much fun to make it yourself and way easier than I had thought. I just need to have more people to give the ready soaps to, so I have an excuse to make more! 😀

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