This Christmas was no different. Among the numerous pretty things she gave me, I found a big ol' chunky bar of soap. Kiss My Face soap, to be exact.
This isn't just your everyday bar of soap. It's gigantic! And heavy, too. Having never used Kiss My Face products before, and considering the size of this soap, I figured it was for the bath only.
Then I read the label:
- Saponified olive oil
- Sodium Chloride
That's it, and that's all.
You might wonder what "saponified olive oil" is. It's olive oil that has been magically converted into soap by adding it to a mixture of water and lye. Don't freak out on me yet. Although lye is the stuff used to clean drains, it's an alkali that is mandatory for making soap. Oils don't "soap" without alkali. The process goes a little something like this:
- Mix the lye with cold water
- Add in the oil
- Stir it and mess with it and add any other ingredients you like, such as salt (sodium chloride) in this case, until it's all nice and blended.
- Voila! Soap!
If you read the labels on "soap" in your bathroom you might not see saponified anything or the word lye in the ingredients. Wanna know why? The vast majority of what we casually call "soap" is actually... detergent.
Yes, friends and neighbors, many of us unwittingly lather up our faces and bodies with detergent every single day. The most common, name brand, sweet- or fresh-smelling bars are detergent. Not just the deodorant "soaps" either. Even the bars of pink stuff that is marketed as good for our skin, moisturizing and so on and so forth. Detergent.
Soap is about as simple a product as can be. Three ingredients are all that's necessary. You may have heard tales about "Grandma's lye soap" which legend always says could take the hide right off you. Although that's not off the mark, it's also not 100% accurate.
The difference between strong lye soap and other soaps, like Kiss My Face, is the blend. There is an art to soapmaking. Sure, you can mix the three in the right order and come out with something that will get you clean. The art happens with the process, blends, types of oils used and other secrets that expert soapmakers guard like Aunt Sue's homemade pumpkin pie recipe. I'm no expert, but I have made my share of soap.
After using Kiss My Face soap in the bath for a couple days, I tried it on my face. In winter, my skin is drier than last week's leftover biscuits, and just about as attractive. To really see whether it would work, I had to skip the moisturizer. Several hours later, I forgot I'd even used it. That's a good thing. With that pink bar sitting in a pretty dish on the vanity, I'd be scratching and itching until I applied some kind of moisturizer.
So now, I carry the big, green bar back and forth between the tub and the vanity every day. I need to buy a smaller one and toss out the pink stuff.
If you're wondering where the olive green color comes from, it's not an additive. It happens naturally during the soapmaking process. Fats are also mandatory for making soap, and each type of fat turns a unique color when added to the lye and water mixture. Every different oil or fat used for soap will turn orange or green or dark, muddy brown or it will fall somewhere in the middle. Pink is nowhere in the soap spectrum without a special process to prevent the darkening and then adding color. Goat's milk soap turns orange. Olive oil soap turns brownish green, like the image above.
If you're in the market for something lovely and new, I can highly recommend Kiss My Face olive oil soap. My skin is extremely sensitive, but this stuff is like magic! No dyes, no perfumes -- just plain soap.