Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul

Soap vs. Detergent


There are lots of products that are labelled as cleansers and soap that are somewhat removed from that actual process of making soap.  These products are often closer to a detergent.  Both soaps and detergents are used for cleaning.  While they serve the same purpose, they differ in their structure and ingredient list.

So, what are these differences?

Detergents are made from petroleum products.  They use chemicals to create foam and they usually have a strong undesirable smell.  Therefore, these products are scented with strong, often artificial, fragrance.  These products usually also have preservatives, such as parabens.

Soap is from a mixture of lye and oils or fats.  The lye is most often made from potassium for liquid soap and from sodium for hard soap.  The best soap is made from naturally occurring oils, such as coconut oil, castor oil, or olive oil.  Soap will have an alkaline pH of about 9 to 10, making it a great cleansing agent.  With natural soap, there is no need for preservatives, such as those used in detergents.  The best natural soaps retain the glycerin, rather than removing it and selling it in bulk, like many large manufacturers.

Some detergents, often called cleansing bars, or facial cleansers, market a balanced pH level.  In other words, they have created a product that has a pH of about 7.  This tends to be less effective at cleaning the skin.  To compensate, harsher stripping ingredients are used to penetrate the skin.

Even when the detergent hasn’t marketed a balanced pH level, if you ever get that feeling of tight skin after you have washed your face of skin, you have probably used a product that penetrated into the deep layers of your skin and stripped the moisture away.

Since I started using a natural soap, I have eliminated the need for a moisturizer!  I’ve always thought that I had dry skin and consequently, have always used a moisturizer.  Imagine my surprise when I skipped the moisturizer step of my routine and didn’t even miss it!

Have a look at the ingredient list on your list of skin care products.  It’s worth knowing what exactly you’re rubbing all over your skin every day.

3 thoughts on “Soap vs. Detergent

  1. Good advise READ THE LABEL (scary stuff we use on our bodies). Your are also correct on using a balanced ph. Doctors and scientist agree that you body’s ph affects your health and disease. Found a liquid soap on that is chemically free, environmentally safe, and biodegradable with exceptional cleaning, neutralizing and detoxifying affects. It contains no animal fats or harmful chemicals or preservative and we use it virtually on anything that is water safe.

  2. Teri – Thanks for the support! There are so many healthy options for skin products out there and they’re easy to find and use.

  3. Pingback: How do you bring balance to your day? « Au Naturel Essence

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