Good Soapworks of Athens, LLC

Facts about Soap

Soap is our passion! We would like to clear up a few myths and also inform you about the mysteries of soap!
Soap is a cleansing agent made from the chemical reaction of oils and fats [acids] with an alkali [sodium hydroxide] to produce a solid bar. Oils and fats for soap are compounds of glycerin and natural fatty acids [in general, fatty acids refer to any compound derived from the breakdown of fats]. When oils are mixed with an alkali, they form glycerin and the sodium salts of the fatty acids. Therefore all soap should theoretically have natural glycerin content [although some large soap manufacturers remove this substance and sell it separately]. Our soap has the glycerin content intact; this wonderful substance is a natural humectant. The glycerine attracts moisture from the air, helping to keep skin soft and supple.
Many different oils, fats and butters are used in the manufacture of soap. These “fats” have different beneficial fatty acids that contribute to the properties of the soap. For example; olive oil contains mainly oleic acid that produces small, mild and creamy bubbles, coconut oil contains nearly 50% lauric acid which makes big, fat, open, fluffy bubbles and sunflower oil contains mainly linoleic acid which produces big, open conditioning bubbles. So the skill of the soapmaker comes into practice with the combining of various oils and fats in the correct proportions that will produce the best lather possible but keep the soap gentle and mild while leaving a nice soothing after-feel on the skin [not the squeaky clean, feeling tight and rough as some soaps do].
Soap removes grease and dirt from the skin because some of its components are surfactants (surface-active agents). Surfactants have a molecular structure that acts as a connecting link between water and the dirt. This loosens the particles of dirt, stale make-up, grease etc. from the skin. One end of the molecule is hydrophilic (attracted to water), and the other is hydrophobic (attracted to substances that are not water soluble).
So, soap is a very effective cleanser, but it is much more! Some ingredients that you see on many popular soaps do not have any beneficial effects for the skin, in fact, they can cause problems such as allergies for many users e.g. perfume - you will see this on most soap ingredients listing. This is a man-made chemical fragrance, simply an aroma that has no therapeutic qualities and can be toxic and irritating for many skin types. In fact, over 70% of women claim to suffer from sensitive skin at some time in their life for various reasons. Therefore the most important thing about our soaps is that they contain NO artificial, chemical fragrances, only aromatherapy quality essential oils that do have beneficial therapeutic properties for the skin. In fact, all essential oils are gently antiseptic in their action and many are corrective for different skin problems, especially when there is an imbalance i.e. overly dry or overly greasy. We use a generous amount of essential oils in all our products that not only smell delicious but have a positive effect for the skin.
These are the ingredients of a “famous” soap bar that makes moisturizing claims:
  • “White Beauty Bar”
  • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate - detergent.
  • Stearic Acid - wax.
  • Coconut Acid - coconut fatty acid.
  • Sodium Tallowate - animal fat.
  • Water
  • Sodium Isethionate - detergent.
  • Sodium Stearate - a white powder derived from vegetable fat that is commonly used in soaps and cosmetics. It can also be used as a waterproofing and gelling agent. Sodium stearate is also commonly used as a cheap stabilizer in plastics. A potential allergen.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine - detergent.
  • Sodium Cocoate Or Sodium Palm Kernelate - coconut or palm kernel oils.
  • Fragrance - chemical aroma, a potential allergen.
  • Sodium Chloride - salt, used as a thickener.
  • Tetrasodium Etidronate - a chemical that is used as a water softener in soaps to prevent soap scum.
  • Tetrasodium EDTA - a synthetic preservative that can be irritating to the
  • eyes/mucous membranes.
  • BHT - a solid, white crystalline antioxidant that can be toxic for the kidneys
  • Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891) - white colouring.
But this is NOT a natural soap, as you can see it contains mainly chemical detergents, animal fat (yuk, who wants to wash with lard???), synthetic fragrances and preservatives.
Soap correctly formulated has glorious, abundant lather, there is no need to boost the foam with chemicals !!
These are the two widely used ingredients in these synthetic detergent bars:
  • Propylene Glycol - a petrochemical
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Sodium Laureth Sulphate - harsh detergents
Instead, here is an example of our soap ingredients:
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Shea Butter
  • Purified water
  • Aromatherapy quality essential oils
  • Organic Herbs
  • Natural plant colors and clays
WHICH WOULD YOU PREFER !!!!!!!!???????
When oils are mixed with the alkali [sometimes called lye] a process called saponification takes place. Oils are composed of fatty acids as mentioned previously, which require a certain amount of an alkali to saponify them, or change them into soap. This is a crucial part of soapmaking and when formulated correctly, there is NO lye left in the finished soap. As an extra benefit, we actually "superfat" all our soaps. This means that oils or fats have been left in the soap unconverted by the lye to allow some fat/oil to remain in its original form so that it forms an invisible, protective and conditioning layer on the skin. The purpose of superfatting the soap is to give it this more "moisturizing" quality, making it milder for the skin.
We also add natural herbs during the soapmaking process to provide interesting textures and colors. The soaps are highly conditioning and make fantastic bath & shower bars, but can also be very effective shampoo and shave bars. At last you can wash your hair as well as you skin without the use of detergents [most shampoos contain detergents, the first ingredient you will usually see is either Sodium Laureth Sulphate or Sodium Lauryl Sulphate].
You will see a marked improvement in the quality and texture of your skin using a natural soap rather than it's synthetic detergent counterpart.

Good Soapworks of Athens, LLC

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