Ah soap! it's all about the contents. They come in all kinds of shapes, scents and functions; scrubbing, moisturizing, softening and of course they clean our body. As with all kinds of cosmetics we have the yay and the nay. Remember that list of up-to-no-good ingredients? Well, they hide in soaps too, so read that label carefully. Without getting too much into details on what harmful ingredients to avoid--that's a whole other article in itself that we will get into discuss later on, but for now your best bet, specially if you are starting out is to keep to the two or three natural ingredients; anything else more then that, you might be stepping over the all natural soap boundaries and into a dangerous territory of preservatives and chemicals that could be canceric and leave your skin dry.
Here are some good fellow alternatives:
A soap made in the city of Aleppo in Syria that dates back thousands of years ago and known not only for its cleansing deep moisturizing properties but for its curative ones also. Aleppo soap making has a long tradition in Syria and perhaps it also accompanies with the oldest factories in the world. The soap is made purely from olive oil and bay oil. The bay oil helps against skin issues as dandruff and psoriasis while the olive oil cleans your skin without being to strong. If you have really dry or sensitive skin, I would recommend to moisturize yourself with for example olive oil before or after using the Aleppo soap. This soap will bring out the baby soft skin and is excellent for use all over the body. You may also use it instead of toothpaste, shampoo, foaming products for shaving, shower gel, you name it. A wonderful biodegradable soap for a modest price. Also, stories say that Cleopatra used the Aleppo soap.
African Black Soap
The African Black Soap, also referred as Anago Soap, Alata Soap, or Ose Dudu is an interesting West African soap that also dates back generations made with loads of various ingredients; like lovely cocoa butter, shea butter or other caring exclusive ingredients making it an exotic choice. It also has a high level of natural glycerin which is something that lacks very often in your commercially produced soaps that are infused with harsh chemicals that often leave your skin dry. Alike the Aleppo soap; it is said to also have healing properties. It is made from the ashes of plants and barks. The process includes roasting the dry leaves and then adding water, oils and shea butter. It's stirred for a day and then left to set for two weeks. Although, it does take some knowledge to know if it for sure it doesn't contain any bad ingredients due to its artificial additives, but when you do find one without them, it's worth it. And, if you are looking for a real foaming agent; look for a soap that contains a little bit sugar or salt. You will get an amazing foam that really does wonders, if you miss the bubbles. Expensive but worth it. Check the ingredients list carefully.
Another soap that dates back centuries and it is said to originate from the Mediterranean is the olive soap. You would think that that olive in the soap would be the moisturizing agent, which is, but Ancient Egyptians used it as a cleansing agent. The olive used in soap has tons of both health and curative benefits so much that it is strongly referenced in various religious texts. And just like its two other counter parts, olive soap is high in vitamin A and E, which gives it a content of antioxidants that renew your skin. If you are allergic to bay oil or other oils and butters, a pure olive soap is a good alternative. Olive soap holds mostly a fair price.
Some tips on using your favorite natural soap:
-To keep the soap bar fresh, leave it on some kind of soap box so it will dry quickly.
-If you like liquid soap more then firm bars I've got the trick for you: It's really easy, just grate a little of the soap and add water to the wished consistency. Only make as much as -You will need for around a week so that way it stays fresh.
-The reason why already made soaps aren't an option is because they need some kind of preservative which aren't the best for your body.
-If your hair still seems unclean then try to wash it through twice with the soap and finish with a cold acidic rinse.
Photographed by Lovisa Karlsson
References: What is Black Soap?, Tree Hugger, What is authentic black African Soap?, Etsy Earth, Olive Oil Benefits, Living Strong
Written by Lovisa Karlsson from Hardcore No-Poo. I got intrigued by nature and how perfect it seemed with all the ecosystems gracefully working together, giving each and every type of plant and animal a task in this world. I could just sit and philosophize for hours even as a very young lady. As I grew up on the countryside in Sweden, I realized how much we influence nature and that we have a great responsibility towards the earth. I strongly wanted to take action.