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Why choose handmade, natural soap Part 2

Real soap may not be high on your priority list of natural products, but that may change if your regular brand is drying out your skin or causing other irritations.

Danielle Roussy has experienced these frustrations and more, which inspired her to create Wildfiredragon Designs, a line of natural health products including soaps, lotions and shampoo and shave bars.

In this week’s Q & A, she helps us to clearly understand the differences between conventional and natural soap so that we can make our choices accordingly.

1. What is the problem with regular store-bought soap?

First, I’d like to make a distinction. Soap is the product of a chemical process called saponification. This process happens when you combine sodium hydroxide (lye) with fat (vegetable oils or animal fat). Once the fats have been converted into soap, they produce lather and have the ability to clean away dirt and grime.

Most of what is in the store is not soap. In fact, companies aren’t allowed to call it soap if they don’t use fat and lye. If you take a look at whatever you are currently using, you may notice that it’s called a ‘Deodorant Bar’ or a ‘Moisturizing Bar.’ And if you look at the ingredients, you’ll see items like Sodium Laureth Sulfate or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. These are cheap, unnatural synthetics that produce the lather.

But what about the brands that actually make soap? Well, they keep their cost down by using low quality ingredients including the cheapest type of fat — beef fat (appears as sodium tallowate in the ingredients).

Some companies also deliberately remove the good and expensive stuff from soap, like glycerin, which is a natural by-product of the saponification process. It allows them to provide a cheaper bar and also make money by selling the glycerin or using it for other products.

Without the natural important ingredients like glycerin, soap can be VERY drying and bad news for sensitive skin.

2. How does your soap address the quality gap? 

We formulate our recipes with quality plant oils that we source from environmentally sustainable sources. We also mix batches that are smaller to ensure that the saponification process happens evenly throughout the resulting soap.

We offer both all natural bars and 99.8% natural bars. Our all natural bars either have no scent added or are scented using only pure essential oils. Our 99.8% natural bars are scented with fragrance oils that we make sure are phthalate-free.

We also offer all natural shampoo bars and shave bars.

3. Are you currently just selling at Burnaby Farmer’s Markets?

Yes, our main storefront is at the Burnaby Farmer’s Market. We are working on getting an online store started, most likely on Etsy, and will be able to ship product throughout Canada.

Image credit: Wildfiredragon Designs

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