I often hear people explain that they are loyal and devoted users of particular brands of commercial soap because of the belief that they have in that product.
I'm not trying to slam any brand in particular but I do feel it's important that we all get a little better educated as to the ingrendients in those products.
The woman who creates the 'soaping 101' youtube videos broke the ingredients of a famous bar of soap down and explained the following (paraphrased):
The 'little birdie' brand of soap is quite famous and has touted for decades the fact that they incorporate a significant percentage of cream into each and every bar they make. I figured we'd take a look at their ingredients so that we can understand better exactly what kind of cream they use:
Sodium Lauroyl Isethionate – This is a synthethic detergent and degreaser
Stearic Acid - This is used as a hardener and is a solid saturated fatty acid obtained from animal or vegetable fats
Sodium Tallowate – Is saponified tallow
Sodium Palmitate – Is sapnified palm oil
Lauric Acid – Is a byproduct of saponified coconut oil
Sodium Isethionate – Is a surfactant and bubble producer
Sodium Stearate – Is an emulsifier and lubricating agent
Cocamidopropyl Betaine – This is a synthetic surfactant
Sodium Cocoate – This is saponified coconut oil
Sodium Palm Kernelate – This is saponified palm kernel oil
Sodium Chloride – This is table salt that is used as a hardener and thickener
Tetrasodium EDTA & Tetrasodium Etidronate – These two items are the same thing, specifically a synthetic preservative and stablizer
Maltol – Is traditionally used as a flavor enhancer and is created from malt barley. It is used as a sugar agent to create bubbles in the soap
Titanium Dioxide – Is a whitener
If we were to replicate the above formula into a soap that is truly 'all natural' without any added chemicals it would look something along the lines of this:
We could add some malt extract just to up the bubbles (not that it's necessary) and some titanium dioxide to insure the bar is extra white. :)
Now, if ingredients are listed in highest percentage of ingredient used first, it's disheartening to see that SLI (a synthethic detergent and degreaser) is the #1 ingredent on the commercial product. If I ask myself, "why?" I would have to venture a guess that it once again boils down to money, and that it is cheaper to make and far more profitable to the company to use man made chemicals as the biggest ingredient in their formula.
The more I learned about things like this, the more offended I became and it fueled my belief that real, handcrafted soaps are far superior and healthy than any commercial product out there. For me, it's not about the bottom line...it's not important to me that it be cheap and more profitable. What is important is that our soaps feed our skin with healthy things.