We seem to judge our cleaning products by the amount of lather they produce while being used. What we don’t realise is that soap, and other cleaning products don’t need to have a lot of lather to be effective. Soap works like this: Soap molecules have two very different ends, the end that likes to stick to water is called the water-loving or hydrophilic end and the end that repels water is called the water-hating or hydrophobic end. The soap molecule acts as a connecting bridge. Its hydrophilic end attaches to a water molecule and its hydrophobic end attaches to a dirt or oil molecule. When you rinse the soap off of your skin, the hydrophilic (water-loving end) end of the soap molecule gets washed away with the water and takes the hydrophobic end with the dirt and oil along with it. Pretty clever stuff. And as long as you get a lather, it will work every time. It doesn't matter how big the bubbles, it matters that you get bubbles in the first place.
Many commercial soaps have a foaming agent added to them. This is what produces that frothy lather we've been lead to believe we need. The commonly used foaming agents are cocamide DEA, MEA or TEA. These particular chemicals serve no purpose other than to make soap and shampoo thick and foamy. And that's it.
Most soap lather is artificial because of customer demand, not because it's needed. Commercial soap manufacturers think they can make their products look better by claiming that more lather equals cleaner skin. It’s much cheaper to put toxic chemicals into soaps to make them lather unnecessarily, than to use quality plant based oils and butters (and we don't mean palm oil either). The sad part is that we end up putting more toxins into our bodies for the sole misconception that we're cleaner for it.
Not only do commercial soaps contain harsh chemical additives that make them lather, they also contain perfumes and fragrances that are known to cause irritation and are proven endocrine disruptors. Our bodies don't need chemicals. These fragrances aren’t extracted from naturally aromatic sources, like the manufacturer wants you to believe.
They’re produced in a factory, using a host of cancer-causing chemicals, which allow them to stay fragrant much longer. The loose term, 'fragrance' or 'parfum' on a label can indicate the presence of over 2500 separate ingredients. Studies have shown that some of the chemicals used in soap fragrances can cause skin diseases, birth defects and even liver damage in animal testing. I had a customer at a market recently tell me that in his younger years he worked in a fragrance factory and now he shocks people by telling them how potently toxic that word fragrance is. One single fragrance can have hundreds of chemicals to make it up, all of which are absorbed into our skin. If it was safe, the fragrance factory workers wouldn't walk around in hazmat suits.
Another chemical that lathers is sodium lauryl sulfate, sometimes called sodium laureth sulfate - SLS for short. Stay away from this one. It's used in soaps and shampoos because it's a cheap detergent and makes good lather, large bubbles. Studies have indicated that SLS actually leaves a residue in the heart, liver, lungs and brain from skin contact. That means once it enters your body which it will, before you have time to rinse it off, some of it never leaves, causing a slow build-up of chemicals inside you. Other studies dismiss this...probably the commercial soap manufacturers who paid for that study to happen.
Regardless, it's a chemical and a controversial one at that and you won't find any chemicals in Bare Naked Soap :)