Today's post is written by my friend, Angela, owner of Alegna Soap. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Alegna's products, they are absolutely divine! Visit Alegna Soap's website and you will find soaps and bath products made with the most luxurious botanicals and essential oils that nature has to offer. They are truly a sensory experience and an indulgence.
For me, the choice to use all natural bath products over commercial bath products is like the choice to eat a bowl of homemade soup over a can of Campbell's: quality ingredients, methods of preparation that maintain the freshness and integrity of those ingredients, and a more satisfying experience for the senses. But I'm going to let Angela tell you more about that (and please be sure to comment below for a chance to win some Alegna products so that you can feel the difference for yourself!)...
As readers of SicLean, I know that you appreciate good food and healthy eating. You care about what you put into your body. And if you care about what you put into your body, you should care about what you put on your body. Most people don't realize that our skin is our largest organ and somewhere between 60-80% of what we put onto it is absorbed into our body. While many of us eat natural, organic and healthy foods, we neglect to insist on the same quality of products for our skin.
Alegna Soap is a company I started out of my love for soap making. As a New York State licensed Medical Technologist, I have always loved biology and chemistry. Back in 1999, I went to my local library, took out a book on cold processed soap making and found a hobby. I started making soap for my personal use, for family and for friends. Fast forward a few years. With both of my children graduated from college, out of the house and self-supporting, I had some “me-time” to reflect on what I wanted to do. I loved making soap. Here was my “Aha!” moment. I did some research, took a few aromatherapy classes and also learned how to create other bath products - bath fizzies, hand lotion, body balms, and bath salts. Soon I had tons of people asking me to make products for them. One thing led to another and… Alegna Soap was born.
Making soap is very similar to cooking. I follow a recipe: I pick the finest ingredients I can find, measure them carefully, and mix according to the directions. Sounds familiar, right?
So why should you use a handcrafted soap instead of a commercial soap? Here are a few facts about the ingredients in homemade vs. commercial soap:
1 - Glycerine is a natural byproduct of soap making. Glycerin is a humectant, which means it helps your skin absorb and retain moisture. Many commercial soap companies remove the glycerin from their soaps to sell or use in their more expensive products. We, soap makers, leave the glycerin in. We don’t have the equipment necessary to remove it and, besides, why would we want to? It’s one of the reasons homemade soap feels so great.
2 - All of the soap makers I know superfat their soaps. This means that we add extra oils to our batches and, when saponification (the process by which soap is made) is over, our soap still contains those extra oil molecules. So while you are washing, you are also moisturizing.
3 - Many homemade soaps contain pure, essential oils, while commerical soap companies use synthetic fragrance oils to scent their soaps. These artificial fragrances are developed in a lab. Essential oils are steam distilled from the actual plant, and are more expensive than fragrance oils. (Note: Many, but not all, homemade soap is made with essential oils, so it's important to read labels. If it says “fragrance” that’s a fragrance oil, not a natural essential oil.)
4- If organic products are important to you, you can find handcrafted soaps that are made with organic oils. I haven’t yet found an organic commercial soap in any of the stores that I shop in.
Most of my customers find that their skin is softer, smoother and has the healthy glow that comes from sufficient moisturization. Many say that their skin is less dry and doesn't itch, even that their eczema and psoriasis has improved. I can tell you I bring my own soap to hotels when I travel, because once I felt the difference between my soap and commercial soap, I will never go back. But the best way for you you learn about the difference between handcrafted and commercial soap is to try it for yourself. Doesn't your body deserve the finest "food," inside and out?
Yours in Gratitude,
P.S. Don't forget, one reader will be chosen from the comments below to win some Alegna products, so be sure to post a comment introducing yourself to us and we will email the lucky winner!
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