Handmade soaps are creamier, so keep them on a slatted soap dish, so they dry out and last longer. Note handmade soap is not the same as ‘handcrafted soap’. Those fruity translucent bars are just the glycerine taken out of commercial soap, to eek more profit. Use a proper handmade soap instead,. Use it for a month with nothing else, and see the difference. You may not even need any other skincare products.
Avoid essential oils for pregnancy and nursing. Avoid rosemary, citrus and sage oils for high blood pressure. Avoid shea butter for latex allergies.
- Paper Plane Rose Geranium Gardener’s Soap (Rutland) contains madder root and shea butter. Gardeners often get dirt stuck under their fingernails, and these soaps are designed to naturally exfoliate and get the earthy smell from your hands, fast.
- This 3-ingredient sensitive skin soap is obviously ideal for sensitive skin! The difference is that this soap is vegan, no palm oil and wrapped in biodegradable paper. Made in Rutland (England’s smallest county), it contains just olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter.
- This rosemary & lime charcoal soap is made in Rutland with toxin-absorbing charcoal, along with oils of lime and rosemary (not for high blood pressure). Made with coconut oil and shea butter.
- This lemongrass, tea tree & peppermint travel soap is made in Rutland (England’s smallest county) and is vegan and free from palm oil, wrapped in paper. It is a soap, shampoo bar, shaving soap and deodorant, all in one pocket-size bar, so very affordable. The oils are also antiseptic and natural insect repellents.
- Zero Waste Path Soap Bar is available in many scents including aloe vera (no essential oils), lavender and blue clay, oatmeal, shea butter or activated charcoal with green clay, peppermint and tea tree oil.
Handmade Soaps from Berkshire
Coraleen Skincare (Berkshire) makes artisan handcrafted soaps using only the finest organic ingredients. All are handcrafted in small batches by a small family company with moisture-rich olive oil and unrefined oils of coconut, castor and almond, along with shea butter and naturally occurring glycerine.
Scents are hydro-distilled to retain therapeutic properties, with some of the gentler soaps being good for babies, and hydrating for sensitive and troubled skin. The richer soaps are good to use for men as shaving foam alternatives, to help prevent skin rash. All packaging is plastic-free and printed with eco inks. The colourful boxes make ideal gifts.
The inspiration for making these soaps came after the birth of the couple’s daughter, who was born with Down syndrome and two holes in her heart. Thankfully she now has a clean bill of health, but at birth her skin reacted so badly to conventional skincare, that they began to make their own. Realising others could benefit, the company took off! The range includes:
- Chamomile & Harrow
- Nettle & Calendula
- Rose Geranium
- Peppermint, Lemon & Charcoal
- Juniper & Orange
- Cinnamon, Almond & Oat
Eco-Friendly Soaps from Wales
These eco-friendly soaps from Wales are free from palm oil, and made with natural plant-based biodegradable ingredients. Real handmade soap does not dry your skin out, as it retains moisturising glycerine (instead of selling it to industry, during the soap-making process). Scents include hemp comfrey.
Zero Waste Soap-on-a-Rope
Zero Waste soap-on-a-rope takes plant-based soaps (free from palm oil) one step further. Usually handmade soaps and shampoo bars have to stay on a slatted soap dish, or else they get too creamy and go squishy. But these soaps are on a rope, so can hang up in the shower after use.
- Kleen Soaps (Kent) offers soap-on-a-rope which lets gravity dry out your soap naturally. Handmade with real ingredients like coffee grounds and pink clay. The range includes grapefruit (uplifting), lavender (calming), minty fresh (with oatmeal & spirulina) and spicy (ginger, cinnamon). Some soaps contain healing oatmeal and turmeric.
- Soap Daze (Devon) also makes soap on a waxed cotton rope. Get a discount if you order these soaps without packaging. There is an unscented Oatmylk bar (ideal for sensitive skin, pregnancy or nursing), along with many scents including coffee & cacao, You get a discount if choosing bars without packaging. Choose from Unscented, lemon patchouli, black pepper & ginger, cedarwood & grapefruit, lavender & orange, lemon & lime and coffee & cacao.
- Harmony Soap on a Rope is named after songs and bands that Soap Daze love. These large soaps are also handmade in Devon, again with discounts if you order without packaging. Try Echo Beach (grapefruit, lemon & seaweed), Replica (lavender, vetiver & Kaolin clay) or Canyon (frankincense, rosemary & charcoal).
Syrian-Inspired Aleppi Soaps
These Aleppi soaps are inspired by the world’s best soapmakers in Syria, traditionally made with olive and laurel oils. The war has left over 360,000 people dead, donate to SPCA Rescue (Syria’s animal charity) and The House of Cats Ernesto (one man who feeds and helps over 800 cats, 24 dogs, monkeys, horses, donkeys, wild birds and domestic farm animals, all left behind).
- Department of Hygiene offers nice soaps from a couple of brothers in London, with Syrian heritage. Choose from a hydrating facial bar or a citrus body bar or peppermint poppy seeds for gentle exfoliation.
- Fair Squared (Germany) is a company that is centred around Fair Trade philosophy. All their soaps are packed in beautiful cardboard boxes, with a cotton soap bag for travel. The soapmaker is Syrian, who had to flee from Syria with his family, and now works for the company. The oils are bought Fair Trade from the Middle East, to help give income back home.
How to Stop Soap Going Squidgy
It’s good to know how to stop soap going squidgy. Good handmade soaps are plant-based and free from palm oil. They are gentler on your skin, but because they are creamier, this means that they can quickly go soft if left near water (same with shampoo bars). These dishes can drain soap, to make it last longer. Helen Round Soap Saver Bag is handmade in a Cornish studio. In a beautiful linen material, which is good to absorb moisture.
Zero Waste Hand Soaps
Hand soaps are usually in bottles, so try to go for ones that are made from glass (don’t handle with wet hands) or aluminium, over plastic. Usually the pump will be plastic, so just pop this in your household recycling waste (most councils accept tops these days).
A zero waste hand soap also has biodegradable ingredients, that safely break down, once washed down the drain. Avoid hand soaps that contain toxic chemicals and fragrance oils (these cause algae bloom in the oceans, which chokes oxygen out of the water, harming marine wildlife).
Everyone is using more liquid soap these days since the pandemic, so choose a good one. NHS says to carefully clean the inside of your hands (thumbs too). Wash hands after visiting the bathroom, changing nappies, handling/eating food, blowing your nose, sneezing, coughing, before/after treating a cut or wound and after touching animals (or their food, houses etc).
Buff Natural Hand Wash is a refill hand wash made with essential oils and 23% organic ingredients. The low lather leaves hands soft and cleansed, and the glass amber bottles have stainless steel pumps and aluminium refill caps. Scents include Citrus, Refreshing, Warming and Grounding (avoid Naked, it contains rosewood oil, from an endangered tree).
Corinne Taylor (East Sussex) is a qualified aromatherapist who offers a nice range of organic liquid soaps, sold in glass bottles. Made with coconut and sunflower oils and palm-oil-free vegetable glycerine, these soaps are nourishing to the skin, as they cleanse. The range includes:
- Balance – rose geranium, clary sage, cypress, orange
- Calm – patchouli, frankincense, lavender
- Purify – lemongrass, tea tree, cedarwood, juniper berry
Bio-D offers biodegradable hand soaps in recycled plastic bottles, and also in bulk sizes which are ideal for professional use (many farm shops and health shops offer refill services). There is a fragrance-free version, or choose from scented versions (geranium, aloe vera lime or rosemary thyme).
Zero Waste Hand Sanitisers
Zero waste hand sanitisers are a great way to prevent waste, and even with vaccines, it’s likely that they will be used for some time to come (and forever, in the medical industry). A quality hand sanitiser usually contains alcohol and plant-based biodegradable ingredients.
Most of these are in glass bottles, you can recycle any plastic hygiene tops with most plastic bottle household recycling schemes these days (they just float to the top in the water bath, check with your council).
- Herbowski Hand Sanitizer is made with cane alcohol, aloe vera and medicinal herbs. Formulated by a pharmacist/herbalist.
- Purdy & Figg Hygenic Hand Sanitizer is clinically proven to kill 99.99% of bacteria, with over 70% alcohol, sweet orange & pink grapefruit. 300 uses.
- Haoma Hand Sanitiser is an anti-bacterial spray, with tea tree & orange oils. Made with minimum 60% alcohol & Fair Trade organic sugarcane ethanol.