When it comes to keeping clean, you may think that any old soap will do but not all soaps are created equal. Certain ingredients can dry out your skin or trigger negative reactions in sensitive skin. If you wash frequently, you will want to make sure you’re using a product that protects and moisturizes your skin in addition to cleansing it.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the common ingredients used in commercial soap making, both good and bad. You’ll also learn why LAFCO uses extra-virgin olive oil in our soaps to create a luxurious cleansing experience and what benefits it provides for your skin.
Read on to learn what makes LAFCO soaps unlike any ordinary bar or hand soap…
Common Vegetable Oils Used in Soap Making
When you grab a bar of soap and lather up, you probably don’t put much thought into what you’re actually putting on your skin. What you may not realize, however, is that soap making involves a wide range of ingredients; some of them are moisturizing and good for your skin while others strip the skin of vital nutrients. This is particularly true of the oils used in soap making.
The process of soap making is actually a chemical reaction called Saponification: Saponification is a process that involves conversion of fat or oil into soap. Learn more about this and how soap works in our Blog Post “How LAFCO Soap is Made.”
Here is a quick list of some of the most common soap-making oils:
- Canola Oil – A type of rapeseed, canola oil is very economical for soap making and is often used in inexpensive soaps. Many manufacturers use it as a partial substitute for olive oil. Canola oil gives bar soap a low, creamy lather and it is a good oil to use for bar soap that incorporates a variety of colors.
- Palm Oil – Both palm oil and palm kernel oil are commonly used in commercial soap making. Often used as secondary lathering agents, palm oils create a hard bar of soap, but unfortunately can also dry out the skin. (Find out why LAFCO does not use palm oil in our soaps.)
- Castor Oil – A thick, clear oil, castor oil increases the lather in soap and acts as a humectant (it attracts moisture). You only need a 5% to 8% concentration to get these benefits but high concentrations it makes the soap too soft and impossible to use.
- Coconut Oil – The most common oil used. This oil offers high cleansing benefits and it gives soap a large and abundant bubbly lather, and also produces a very hard bar of soap. However, coconut oil can be drying to the skin when used in high concentrations
- Olive Oil – Olive oil acts as a very mild base in soap and produces a dense creamy lather. It is extremely moisturizing and high in vital skin nutrients. However, since it is soft, it works best in combination with other oils used to harden the bar.
Why Does LAFCO Use Olive Oil?
Using olive oil in soap began centuries ago but today has almost entirely disappeared. Today, typical soap makers use a combination of coconut oil and palm oil. While these oils produce an extremely hard soap bar that is super-cleansing, palm/coconut soap cleanses your skin harshly and can dry your skin by stripping its natural oils.
LAFCO soaps are made of approximately 75% olive oil and 25% coconut oil. We use a small amount of coconut oil to help harden the bar and create the best possible cleansing experience.
Olive Oil has many appealing characteristics, which is why we use it as the primary ingredient in our soaps:
- Olive oil has the ideal balance of oleic and linoleic fatty acids for effective skin moisturizing, making olive oil soap perfect for people with very dry and sensitive skin. Olive oil soap is even is known to provide relief to skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis
- Olive oil soap contains very powerful antioxidant properties which can repair damage caused by free radicals on the skin
- Olive oil contains beta carotene which stimulates new cell generation and slows down wrinkle development
- Olive oil contains a high percentage of squalene, a strongly hydrating component of all common vegetable oils.
Why LAFCO Has Removed Palm Oil From its Soaps
Palm oil is grown on giant plantations in various Asian, African, Central, and South American countries. It is commonly used in the food industry because it is cheap, efficient, and cholesterol-free. It can also be used for industrial purposes, such as for biofuel. Palm produces ten times (10x) as much oil per unit as sunflowers, rapeseed, and soybeans but its cultivation has led to a large number of ecological concerns.
Because palm oil is in such high demand, its cultivation is considerable. It is estimated that over 70 million metric tons of the oil is produced annually and that palm plantations cover an area larger than New Zealand. Demand for palm oil has caused a great deal of deforestation, particularly in ecologically rich areas like Borneo, Indonesia and Malaysia. In Borneo, tropical forest coverage has dropped from over 75% to less than 30% between the 1970s and 2010.
Deforestation leads to habitat loss for vulnerable species, deadly smoke from fires, and an increase in carbon emissions, which contributes to global warming.
What Makes LAFCO Soap Unique?
Here at LAFCO New York, our focus is in creating products that are pure and elevating our customers’ everyday rituals. Natural ingredients are preferable to synthetic ingredients, not only in the benefits they provide but in the experience as well. Our products deliver natural luxury with pure purpose, making them unlike anything you’ve tried before.
When it comes to soap, LAFCO offers an assortment of bar soaps and liquid soaps. Our bar soaps are unique in that their base is made primarily of extra-virgin olive oil and that we mill argan oil into the soap for even grater skin benefits. Argan oil is naturally rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, which is why it is so good for your skin and often used in skincare products as an anti-aging additive. Further, LAFCO bar soaps are dry aged for 4 weeks, which improves their longevity and ensures that they dry quickly after each use.
Our liquid soaps feature cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil and are enriched with argan oil and wheat proteins to ensure all-day moisture retention. Both our bar soaps and liquid soaps contain omega fatty acids which combat dry, irritated skin and help mitigate symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions like eczema. All of our soaps provide a lasting, natural scent using refined, perfume-grade fragrances and all of our products are hypoallergenic and free from parabens, sulfates, and other synthetic ingredients.
If you’re looking for a soap that does more than just clean, consider LAFCO bar soap or liquid soap. Our soaps are enriched with natural ingredients that cleanse your skin while also supporting long-lasting hydration. Choose from a variety of scents or use our Fragrance Finder to find your perfect match.