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Getting Down and Dirty on Soap Ingredients

So, what’s the difference between the mass-produced bar soap in grocery stores and farm-milled organic soap? Let’s dive in and get the clean facts! These soaps differ in several key aspects, including ingredients, production methods, environmental impact, and the healthful benefits for your skin. So let's go all Tyler Durden and check out the pros and cons of mass-produced vs. organic.


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Even Fight Club's Tyler Durden knew healthy soap was important

Mass-Produced Soaps and their Unhealthy Ingredients: Let’s start with the ingredients because that’s the most impactful part on our skincare and health. Mass-produced bar soap typically is made with synthetic detergents and harsh chemicals.

Most big brand soaps contain artificial fragrances, artificial coloring, and of course, harmful preservatives. These can include chemical additives that can strip your skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness or irritation. In fact, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (not to be confused with the gentler, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate), has been linked to skin irritations and allergic reactions such as eczematous dermatitis. It bonds with other common soap ingredients, resulting in carcinogenic nitrosamines - chemicals that feature in California’s Proposition 65 list of known human carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.


Most soaps on the market today contain this SLS component. If your current soap leaves your skin dry and irritated, it can also lead to damaged, more sun-sensitive skin and even infections.


Meanwhile, at the soap factory... "I wonder what this stuff does?"

Another common contaminant found in many soaps, cosmetics and products meant for personal care, is 1,4 Dioxane. This compound is listed as a probable human carcinogen and an animal carcinogen. Research has shown that it easily penetrates the skin and excessive exposure has been linked to organ toxicity including kidney and liver damage. Yikes!


The worst part about this common soap chemical is that you won’t see it on any labels. That’s because the FDA does not require 1,4 Dioxane to be listed, as it is a “byproduct of the manufacturing process” rather than an ingredient formulated directly into the soap.


Like many of the other chemicals in this list, ethanolamines can be found in a dizzying variety of consumer products ranging from personal care and cosmetics to household cleaning products and even candle wax.


The most well-known compound in this group is diethanolamine (DEA), which is banned for use in self-care products and cosmetics in the European Union. This is because it and related chemicals such as MEA, TEA, and others are known to increase the risk of exposure to carcinogenic nitrosamines and cause organ toxicity, as well as causing environmental damage once it’s washed off and flushed from your home.


Organic and Healthy Ingredients: The good news is that there are many healthy and skin-enhancing products out there. That’s why one of our best-selling products are our Hivessence Farm-Milled Organic Soap Bars.


The best soaps for your face and body are made from natural and organic ingredients, that are often sourced from sustainable farming practices based on processes used for hundreds of years.


Soaps like Hivessence’s are formulated with plant-based oils (such as olive oil, coconut oil, and/or Shea butter), essential oils (Lavender, Rosemary, and citrus), and natural colorants from herbs, botanicals, or clay. Look for products that are free of any synthetic additives, which can cause skin irritations.




Also, handcrafted or small-batch soaps are processed on farms or small local businesses. Careful attention to detail and quality are given to these products, with artisans focusing on the soap-making process. As with our soaps, each batch might vary slightly, but that adds to its uniqueness and story. Even the honey used in our soaps comes from different beekeepers making the variants of botanicals, color and texture a bit different for each batch. So check out our Hivessence Honey Oatmeal Soap!


Small run products have less of an Environmental Impact than factory, mass-produced products. Large-scale production can lead to significant environmental impact, including waste generation and pollution and may involve the use of unsustainable palm oil, which is a major contributor to deforestation and increased CO2 output. Organic soaps are NEVER tested on animals either because we know what's in them and are confident in our formulations.


Best of all, natural organic ingredients provide your skin with wonderful benefits, such as moisturizing, soothing, and nourishing. Essential oils used in organic soaps might offer aromatherapy benefits, promoting relaxation and stress relief. Hivessence Peppermint is a favorite for this relaxing and opening up nasal passages.


In summary, farm-milled organic bar soap is typically a healthier and more environmentally friendly choice. It offers the benefits of natural ingredients and supports sustainable farming practices, while mass-produced bar soap often contains synthetic chemicals and may lack the skin-nourishing properties associated with organic options. Your skin will thank you and you'll retain younger, healthier looking skin into the years ahead! :-D

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19 oct 2023
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