Next time you’re in the grocery store, take a look at a couple bars of soap. You might be surprised to see that most are not even labeled as soap, instead they are “moisturizing bars” or “beauty bars.” In fact, they contain so many chemicals that they legally cannot claim to be soap, they are instead detergents. It might sounds surprising, but over time, commercial soapmakers began stripping the good ingredients and replaced them with synthetic lathering agents, artificial colors and harsh chemicals. Not only are these chemicals and synthetic ingredients bad for your skin, they’re also bad for the planet.
Okay, so that’s the bad. But there’s good soap out there. Many handmade soapmakers use traditional methods to craft healthy soap. Look for handmade soap that uses natural, plant-based ingredients. And beware of “fragrance” - the most scary ingredient out there! While fragrances can be tempting to soap manufacturers due to its low cost, it’s highly toxic due to the lack of regulation and testing. Here's a great article that highlights the situation. The label “fragrance” is intended to protect the manufacturer’s proprietary ingredients, so you never really know what chemicals you’re signing up for. Instead, look for soap’s that use essential oils for additional fragrance, or no fragrance at all.
The Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a great resource to help you learn more about the chemicals in your cosmetics: http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/