7 gorgeous handmade soaps that are good for the environment, and better for your skin
It’s time to raise the bar
Two-in-one shampoo and body bars, specialised medicated slabs and soaps so pretty you feel bad even using them… handmade soap crafted from natural ingredients is having its moment in the sun. From eco-warriors taking care to reduce plastic packaging to self-care fiends who prefer luxuriating in the soapy goodness of organic, pure ingredients, scrubbing away your sins of the day has never been more indulgent.
One of the primary reasons why I love handmade soap is the large percentage of glycerin in its makeup, which is most often removed in the processing of its commercial counterparts. Glycerin is a humectant, drawing hydration to the skin and its moisturising capabilities have been tried and tested for maintaining a healthy skin barrier.
Handmade soap also tends to be gentler on the skin with fewer detergent ingredients that can leave you dryer than a day-old chapati. It’s also customisable, so to speak, meaning you’ll find the perfect blend of oils, powders and ungents to meet your every need.
Switching over from plastic bottles of shampoo and shower gel may seem like a small step in sustainable living, but your shopping gets some good karma along the way instead of adding to the landfill piles.
For those with a dry scalp and skin, look for bars that are heavy on the oils of coconut, sweet almond and jojoba, and butters like shea, cocoa and mango. Avocado oil is another ingredient that can nourish your scalp and hair while rosemary and caffeine and invigorate the follicles to stimulate hair growth.
If you’re struggling with body acne and mild fungal infections, you can add soaps made using tea tree oil, shown to have antifungal properties, and powders such as neem and turmeric.
But be cautious when using handmade soap, because they might lead to a slightly waxy buildup over time. Experts recommend shampoo bar users do a weekly hair rinse using apple cider vinegar to break down any such coating and allow the follicles to breathe.
We’ve picked out some of our favourite handmade soaps in the Indian market that will leave you with healthy, glowing skin and a lesser carbon footprint. Some are such jaw-dropping creations that you almost want to take a bite of out them (don’t).
Handmade soap for every skin and hair need
Soaps by Kadambari
Their mogra shea butter soap is what we imagine paradise to smell like. Shea butter’s long list of benefits includes its high concentration of fatty acids, vitamins and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s an emollient, meaning it can create a kind of seal over your skin to keep all the hydration in.
Buy it online here, price on request.
Nytarra has three different shampoo bars for different purposes. They use organic ingredients to make their bars, including coconut oil extracts, cocoa butter and vitamin b5.
We’re particularly fond of their anti-hair fall bar which incorporates neem powder, pine tar and rosemary, lavender and ginkgo biloba extracts.
Buy online for ₹295.
We’re just going to say it. PaNee’s soaps look delicious. Our pick is their neem and turmeric soap. All nanis and dadis will swear by their haldi and neem concoctions — antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal.
We wouldn’t go straight to our face with this soap if you have reactive or sensitised skin, though it can help with acne breakouts. Always do a patch test to see if it’s suited for your face, otherwise.
Buy online for ₹350.
Their green tea soap will calm the senses after a long day of balancing housework and office deadlines. They’re vegan and cold processed, made using brewed green tea, coconut oil and a green tea paste.
Green tea is also known for its amazing antioxidant properties, making this soap a great detox for your body. It’s known to fight free radical damage caused by sun exposure.
Buy online for ₹350.
Chennai Soap Company
Most of their luxurious soaps are made using extra virgin olive oil which deeply conditions your skin. Their website has a customisation option you can try, but we would highly recommend the calendula and oats soap. Both ingredients are known for their skin-soothing properties and with shea butter, it’ll pacify any dry, itchy sensation.
Buy online for ₹525.
Earthy Sapo’s Reetha shampoo bar is made with all the natural goodies that dadi insisted you slap onto your hair. Other than the ritual ingredient, it packs hair cleansing and strengthening powers via bhringraj, methi and brahmi as well as a good load of glycerin.
Buy online for ₹200.
Mud and Moon
You’re going to feel really bad about using these winners in the handmade soap beauty pageant. The eucalyptus spice bar smells divine and is made using the cold press technique. It’s also got mild exfoliating properties with chocolate clay and french green clay.
They steer clear of artificial colours and dyes, using indigo, flowers and natural clays to obtain the colourful swirls and scents that make their bars so irresistible.
Buy online here, price on request.