You may know already that soap is made from lye which is a caustic chemical that’s highly toxic and has the ability to melt human flesh. Scary right? Unfortunately, lye has to be used to make soap, in fact it's impossible to make any kind of soap without it and that includes natural brands made from oils. The good news is that through the process of saponification and then curing, the lye completely disappears and what remains is a toxic free, natural, safe to use, bar of soap.
How is soap made?
To make soap, fats or oils are first mixed with an alkaline solution (lye). Combining these ingredients causes a chemical reaction known as saponification. This is where the lye nearly disappears completely and you are left with soap in a liquid state. The soap is then poured into moulds and left to cure for 4-6 weeks. By allowing the curing period, this sees that the saponification process has completed its job to ensure that even trace amounts of lye have evaporated and that the soap is now safe to use and sell in stores.
How do Ethique Shampoo Bars work?
These incredibly popular bars are made using the same types of ingredients used in salon quality liquid shampoos, just minus all the water, which also means no preservatives are required. Imagine taking three bottles of shampoo and draining away all the water... what would remain? All the good stuff and nothing else right? Now remove all that goodness left from the three bottles and compress that into one little bar. This is how you get amazing, natural shampoo and conditioner that is completely solid and free from plastic.
How does pH balance affect hair?
Soap bars are of course made of soap, while Ethique bars are soap free and made of nothing but actual shampoo. pH balance is the measure of how alkaline or how acidic a liquid is. Our skin has a pH balance of around 5.5. On top of our skin is a protective layer known as the acid mantle. Our hair does not have this protective layer and therefore, regular soap that can be used on the skin, is actually no good for your hair. A lot of companies claim that their shampoo bars are pH balanced to match our skin, however, it’s chemically impossible to lower a soaps pH below its usual 9-10 on the pH scale. When soap is used on hair, it feels rough, sticks up, becomes damaged over time and causes hair colour to fade fast.
Ethique’s bars are again soap free and made from actual shampoo ingredients. They have a pH of around 5.5-6, which matches our natural skin. This leaves your hair shiny and smooth and when used in combination with conditioner, moisture is locked in for healthy, gorgeous hair. Soap (or shampoo bars that contain soap) work great on your skin, but are not recommended to use on your hair. Shampoo, shampoo bars, conditioner and conditioner bars that are soap free are what we need for long term, healthy hair.
Why are Ethique Shampoo Bars so Expensive?
- Most natural soap bars use olive or coconut oil as their main ingredient which is very affordable to source. Ethique’s bars use proper natural shampoo ingredients.
- These bars don’t just claim to be soap free and pH balanced, they actually are.
- There is no palm oil (which is cheap and readily available) and unless it’s certified sustainable, it’s highly controversial to use in cosmetics.
- The goodness of a shampoo bottle has to be compressed and have its structure completely changed with the right balance of ingredients to allow it to remain a solid (so that it can be plastic free) and that takes a LOT of experimentation and hard work.
- The bars last a LOT longer than they appear. They do look small but you get a lot of use out of them as long as you store them in a dry place. They really can replace several bottles of shampoo.
- Creating solid bars from natural, organic, palm oil free ingredients with no toxins, that actually work, costs a lot more than making products with chemical ingredients used in regular shampoos. In fact, some of the ingredients used in synthetic shampoo bars and bottles can cost hundreds more than their natural alternatives. For example, natural rose essential oil can retail for as much as $366 (or wholesale for $275 for 5ml’s from doTERRA) and yet you can purchase 15ml’s of artificial rose spray for just $15 (which has about three drops of artificial rose scent in it)
- Natural, organic ingredients are just that, natural. You are paying for clean, sustainable, plastic free, safe ingredients that don’t cause damage to the planet, you or your family.
Check out the entire Ethique range here.