How to Care for Soap Bars



Did you know that real soap goes through a very technical saponification process that renders those silky bars we know and love? True soap is made when you combine fats with an alkali—lye in most cases. The lye reacts with the oils and helps saponify the mixture, turning the liquid into soap. Don’t worry. None of the lye remains in the finished product. However, soap is not soap if it doesn’t undergo this saponification process. That’s why there are very few true soaps on the market today, and it’s what makes the bar soaps at Integrity Botanicals special.

Take a look at the “bar soap” the next time you’re at the grocery store. You’ll notice that those Dove and Ivory bars aren’t labeled soap. Most cleansers on the market, both liquid and solid, are actually synthetic detergent products. These most often include harsh surfactants as the cleansing/degreasing agent, and they destroy the skin’s naturally protective barrier, the acid mantle. Real soap can actually cleanse without stripping skin, and the experience is entirely different than what you may have grown up with.

A lot of love and labor goes into true soap making. I was lucky enough to sit through a soap making demonstration that the co-founder of Meow Meow Tweet gave at the W.E.L.L. Summit last fall, and I got a true understanding for the process. It gave me a whole new appreciation for what soap makers like Meow Meow Tweet and Osmia Organics do.

Getting the most out of your soap is easy to do. Here are my tips on how to care for soap bars…

  1. Always store your soap bar in a dry area out of water. If water tends to pool around the edges of your shower or bathtub, make sure to store your soap on a dry soap dish, preferably one that allows air to circulate under the soap bar so it will dry between uses.
  2. Consider cutting your soap bar into smaller chunks. Some of the natural bar soaps are really much bigger than you may be accustomed to, making them a great value. You can carefully slice these bars into smaller bars using a sharp knife and a cutting board. Wrap the extra soap in a piece of parchment paper or the original wrapping and store in a dry area.
  3. Traveling with bar soap is easier than you think, especially if you cut a travel size chunk from the original bar. Just wrap the dry soap in a piece of parchment paper and store inside a small ziplock bag. When it’s time to come home, no big deal if the soap is still moist. Just return to the ziplock and let it dry when you get home.


3 thoughts on “How to Care for Soap Bars

  1. Very interesting! I actually recall Dove being marketed as a “beauty bar” rather than a soap, and Zest ads claimed “soaps leave a sticky film, Zest doesn’t” – both brands seemed to be trading off their knowledge that neither were truly able to call themselves real soap.

    Question for you, or anyone who can opine: I have attempted to cut a travel sized piece of my fave soaps (and I love shampoo bars, too!) because they are handy and easy and just great for travel, but they ALWAYS crumble. Is there a trick or a particular type of knife (steak knife, bread knife, etc.?) you recommend to get a clean carve?

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About Susannah Compton

Susannah Compton is the founder and formulator behind Florescent, a line of 100% botanical perfumes she blends in small batches from organic and wild crafted aromatics. Plant-based skincare and cosmetics are a way of life for Susannah, who writes about clean beauty and the benefits of botanical ingredients for No More Dirty Looks, Thoughtfully Magazine and Integrity Botanicals. Florescent, however, is Susannah’s personal expression of healthy beauty. Susannah has been working with botanical aromatics for years, blending first for therapeutic purposes before delving into the art of perfumery. Having rarely experienced the depth and complexity of true botanicals in conventional perfume, she learned the art of blending and created what her heart desired — a scent that would move her the way perfume should. In search of those elevating, ethereal bouquets of scent, Susannah honed her skills behind the perfume bench. She launched Florescent in the spring of 2015 to share the lush experience and pleasing ritual of real perfume.