Do Handmade Soaps Last as Long as Supermarket Soaps?

So, that’s the big question, “Do handmade soaps last as long as regular soaps?” 

By regular soap, I am referring to soaps that are readily available and you can purchase at the supermarket such as Dove, Palmolive, Cussons, Red Velvet, etc. In the soap world, these are called syndet soaps. The word Syndet is a blended word made by combining the words “synthetic” and “detergent” and was first introduced in the mid-1950s by Dove. Hard to believe that this style of soap has not been around that long. They are easy to produce and inexpensive. clean the skin and usually lather quite well. 

By traditional soap (also called cold process or hot process soap), we are referring to a much, much older and traditional type of soap that uses the process of combining oils (such as olive oil, coconut oil and many other nourishing oils with a very alkaline ingredient (lye) that react together and create soap. See this article for more info on this process. This method of soap dates back thousands of years.  

The answer to the question in the title is a plain and simple “no”.  A traditional soap will not last as long as a syndet bar. So why is it that many people choose traditional handmade soap over syndet soap despite the extra cost? Read on. 

Over the years as soap makers, we have noticed a number of common factors while talking to customers as to why they continue to buy handmade soap. These being: 

  • Traditional soap makes skin feel softer after using. A good handmade soap is 95% soap and 5% skin-softening ingredients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil and coconut oil. This is the perfect balance for a nice long-lasting bar of soap.   
  • Traditional soap doesn’t dry the skin out. 
  • Syndet bars can react badly with their skin. It may exacerbate eczema,  itchiness and rashes. This isn’t true for everyone but enough for us to notice. 
  • Traditional soap smells good (many soap makers are quite particular about what they use to scent their soaps. In fact, that is one of the most fun parts when making soap, choosing the scent. Our most popular scented soap is lemon myrtle.
  • Traditional soap is more interesting with added ingredients such as exfoliants, extracts and infusions.
  • By buying traditional handmade soaps you are supporting a locally made product and supporting that business.  

So, there you have it. I hope this answers any questions as to the difference between a syndet bar and a traditional soap bar and why we do and love what we do as soap makers.