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I've been dabbling in a lot of DIY beauty products lately. Today, I decided to tell you about my experience with homemade hand soap. I am extremely excited about this one!
As you may have caught on by now, I have been trying to eliminate the amount of toxins we expose ourselves to in our home. Hand soap was not originally something that even crossed my mind when I thought about chemicals because it makes our hands clean, right? I decided to check the ingredients and do a little research. Here is a bit of what I found:
Triclosan (and even small amounts of it) is the most discouraged additive to soaps and hand sanitizers. Not only is it bad for humans (even low levels can lead to thyroid issues, etc.), but once it gets into the environment (waste water treatments can't remove all of it), it is harmful to aquatic life.
"Fragrance" is also something to avoid. FDA laws allow the word "fragrance" on our labels to include whatever the product makers want. I don't even want to know the kinds of toxins that are included under that umbrella.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. There it is again. We talked about this in my toothpaste post, but apparently it's common in shampoos and soaps - basically anything that foams. It's the active ingredient in industrial strength soaps and garage cleaners. I would write more, but there's lots to say - I really read a lot about it. One helpful article I found was here.
Antibacterial soap has a pretty bad reputation. Researchers are even saying it can affect your immune system for the worse.
I'm not saying washing your hands is bad - it's definitely necessary to maintain health and get rid of harmful substances we may not even know we've come into contact with. I'm just saying the more natural the way in which we rid ourselves of these harmful things, the better!
After reading this article among many others, I decided to check out our soap labels at home. I was not very pleased with my findings to say the least!
Enter: homemade hand soap.
The main ingredient (besides water, of course) is castile soap, which is a soap that is derived from vegetable oils, rather than animal fats or synthetic materials and detergents. It's name is derived from the Castile region of Spain, where they made it out of the local pure olive oil. Now you can find other plant oils used as well such as sunflower, coconut, and aloe vera.
That was enough reason for me, but of course, the price is always something we have to consider (how else are we going to get to go on our dream vacation?!). Good news: I can assure you that making your own hand soap is worth the cost!
Based on the ingredients I personally chose to use (it varies for everyone, but you can get this Castile soap we use on Amazon), each bottle costs about 70 cents to make. This is a LOT cheaper than the more natural soaps we were choosing to buy (some of which had those harmful ingredients!).
Cheaper and healthier (and less waste)?! Yes please! I had to try it out.
After making my first batch and getting my hands clean, one thing was very clear: my hands were not drying out so fast and actually felt quite soft and moisturized. I figured it might be a fluke so I kept using it and kept changing and testing different combinations till I found one I liked best.
Update: For the bottle, I initially used an old Method foaming soap container. Since I decided I like this a lot, I invested in a prettier one that matches our bathroom and is made of glass (we prefer glass, plus it's better to use with the essential oils. Check out the one we have here.)
Special shout out to Mr.J for being my hand model this week. Didn't he do great, folks?
I'm still experimenting with essential oils to find my most perfect combination, and I've even gotten creative and tried adding other things like vanilla essence for scent. It didn't really work out too well for me though.
Note: I read that adding vinegars or lemon juice will reduce the castile soap back to it's original oils, leaving you with an unpleasant curdly mess. So...don't do that.
1) In your soap dispenser, add the castille soap and almond and vitamin e oil. [Slowly] add water and essential oils.
2) Lightly shake (once the lid is on, please!) to make sure everything is mixed well.
3) I had no problems with separation, but if you do just lightly shake again
I think homemade hand soap is worth it. It's easy to make, good for the environment, and even better on my wallet. I've made it so often now, that I just eyeball it! What do you think?