Why Athena's Choice soaps are the better buy.
What makes Athena's Choice soaps better than the other all natural soaps
for sale on the market, you ask?
Purity and quality of the ingredients, for starters.
All the fats and oils used in making our soaps are of the highest quality. With the exception of the few recipes containing beeswax, they are all vegetable in origin (beeswax being considered an animal by-product in this case.) You will not find tallow, lard, suet, lanolin—animal fats of any kind—in our products. Not only do animal fats promote the early rancidity of a bar of soap, requiring that preservatives be added to the bar, but tallow has been proven to clog pores, and acne at 41 is nothing I need.
We use only RSPO certified sustainable palm oil in our products (see http://www.rspo.org/ for more details). What that means is that our palm oil comes from certified sustainable plantations that do not steal from Great Ape habitats. We pay a little more for it, and it's well worth it to us - not only are not contributing to the loss of habitat for these gentle creatures, we ARE contributing to the employment of impoverished peoples, who will continue to farm sustainably because we pay more for their oil if they do so. And by "we", I mean not just Athena's Choice, but every conscientious toiletry and food manufacturer who makes the effort to only use RSPO certified palm oil.
Our homemade soap recipes are selected for having high amounts of fats and oils that are beneficial to the skin, and our bars are "superfatted" or "supercreamed," as an old soap ad I found calls it - that is to say that between 5 and 15% of the bar is pure, unsaponified (not turned into soap) oils, for the gentlest clean, without being drying or irritating to the skin. Once you've bathed with one of our soap bars, you'll never go back to a store bought bar of soap again.
My skin is too sensitive for lye soap.
I'll almost guarantee that you already use lye soap. Ivory, supposedly the most gentle soap on the market, is lye soap. See more about "lye" soap below - all real soap is lye soap. The main difference between my homemade soap, and soap from the super market, is that commercial manufacturers create soap in huge pots, then use a chemist's methods to remove the glycerin (a natural by-product of the soap-making procedure) and other nice things before powedering and press-molding their soap into bars, so that they can resell it as an additive to the lotion you're going to need after you've used their soap. My soap still has the naturally occuring glycerin (the healthy, safe-level, non-solvent extracted glycerin) and other nourishing goodies still in the bars.
Many other brands use essential oils, but we use only the highest quality essential oils.
Most essential oils available in bulk to manufacturers are of a commercial grade, not suitable for use on the skin, or for aromatherapy. We have searched far and wide to find a supplier of only the highest quality skin-care and aromatherapy-qualified essential oils. We pay a little more for them, but would you rather use a lotion made with lavender oil intended to fragrance a floor cleaner, or one intended for use in natural healing of skin irritations?
On top of that, many hand made soaps available at specialty stores or online have no essential oils in them at all. Their lavender soaps, for example, are scented with a fragrance oil - a strongly scented synthetic blend, manufactured cheaply and with no aromatherapy or health benefits what so ever. I urge you to shop around, and look carefully at the ingredients listed on our competitors' labels - you'll see on most that it's not essential oils listed, but "fragrance".
Every recipe of Athena's Choice soap comes available in a completely unscented version, as well, for those sensitive even to the aromas of essential oils.
How does our soap compare to "beauty bars" available on the market?
It doesn't. And I say this because to compare our homemade soap to a commercially manufactured "beauty bar" would be like comparing apples to walnuts. That is, products labeled "beauty bar" or "moisturizing bar" or "facial bar" at the store do so because they cannot claim to be SOAP. They're a detergent, or a combination bar using soap and detergent. Here's what Webster's Dictionary has to say about detergent:
Pronunciation Key (d-tûrjnt)
A cleansing substance that acts similarly to soap but is made from chemical compounds rather than fats and lye.
adj : having cleansing power [syn: detersive] n 1: a surface-active chemical widely used in industry and laundering 2: a cleansing agent that differs from soap but can also emulsify oils and hold dirt in suspension
As you can see, detergent is not made from fats and lye, it is made from chemical compounds - mainly petroleum based. I wouldn't wash myself or my baby with laundry detergent, and I suspect you wouldn't either.
But isn't lye caustic?
This is a question everyone asks. Yes, lye is caustic. But there can be no soap without lye. Sodium Hydroxide (lye) is an alkaline, which reacts with fatty acids (believe it or not, fats and oils are acids) to create a salt—that is, soap. In a properly formulated batch of soap, there is no lye left, once the saponification process takes place. Our soaps are created with 10 to 15% less lye than is required to convert all the fats into soap, so not only are you assured that there is no caustic lye left in the bar, but that there is also a healthy, soothing amount of pure oils, like avocado or shea butter, left in the bar "as is", to remain behind on your skin after you've rinsed away the lather. This helps to prevent that dry, itchy feeling most of us feel after stepping out of a hot shower.
Do you take special requests?
We sure do! Please feel free to inquire about special fragrances or formulations for whatever your needs or desires may be. Our soaps are usually made in 5 to 12 pound batches, for quality control, but special orders of as little as 1 pound of soap (or one bottle of lotion) can be produced.
I hope I've answered all your questions, and shown why our soaps are better. I'm positive that once you've tried them, you'll be convinced, if I haven't convinced you already. If you've got any more questions, please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com