Posted on 22nd September 2019 at 21:53
Coco Clean- Everything you need to know about coconut oil soap!
In this article we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about coconut oil soap, including the benefits and the drawbacks.
The coconut oil used in soaps comes from the pulp of the coconut seed. The pulp is the white fleshy bit inside that we eat.
Coconut oil also comes in many forms such as cold pressed, virgin and extra virgin but for the purpose of soap making the coconut oil can either be solid or fractionated.
Solid coconut oil is oil that has not been fractionated, but will actually be in liquid form when over 24°C or 35°C, depending on the type of coconut oil you have, as it has a very low melting point. Most oils bought in the supermarket will be the 24°C kind.
Fractionated oil is in a permanent liquid state due to the process of fractionation, which is why it is much more expensive than traditional coconut oil and offers fewer benefits in skin care. Fractionated coconut oil is colourless and odourless
Coconut oil is an increasing popular ingredient in cooking and skin care. We’ll explore some of the benefits to coconut oil in soap later on in this article.
What is coconut oil soap?
Coconut oil soap is a soap that contains coconut oil in its formulation. It may contain other ingredients as well such as other oils, fats and butters.
To check if your soap contains coconut oil, simply look at the ingredients, if the ingredient sodium cocoate is listed then the soap contains coconut oil.
Coconut oil in soap is a cleanser. This means it is an ingredient that mainly offers the ability to cleanse the skin of the bacteria and dirt on it. Coconut oil in soap also has other abilities than cleanser. Coconut is one of the few oils that create large bubbles.
For instance a coconut oil soap bar will make lots of large bubbles, where as a bar of castile soap made with only olive oil will barely make any bubble and instead have more of a creamy lather than bubbles.
Coconut also has one more quality in soap that is hugely desirable. It is a hard oil, similar to other hard oils such as cocoa butter and shea butter.
Hard oils in soap such as coconut make the soap bar harder and the finished bar will last longer, a lot longer than super soft soaps such as pure glycerin soaps or castile soap.
Soap made from pure coconut oil is available to buy but will be very cleansing, even to the point of drying the skin and possibly even causing eczema.
This is because oils like coconut and palm oil are generally added to soap formulation for the cleansing part of the soap.
Using a pure coconut oil soap bar is slightly better than using a common soap bar from the supermarket shelves which is packed with drying palm oil and chemical surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulphate.
But to get the most out of your soap, coconut oil should only be a small portion of the soap, no more than 30% otherwise it can be drying. It should also be paired with other ingredients that offer other benefits to the skin.
Other oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil and cocoa butter are great to use in conjunction because they are emollients and moisturise the skin. Using a soap bar with coconut oil in as well as these ingredients can offset the cleansing with moisturising and leave your skin feeling soft, smooth and supple.
Why use coconut oil in soap?
The main reason for using coconut oil in soap is that it has some amazing qualities for a soap bar including being a great cleanser, making a long lasting hard bar of soap and creating large bubbles.
Coconut oil is also a great substitute for an environmentally disastrous ingredient commonly used in most soap as a cleanser. That ingredient is palm oil.
Palm oil is heavily used in most mainstream soaps as it is one of the cheapest oils on the planet, due to its high yield and low labour costs.
It also has one of the worst records on the planet for deforestation and environmental damage. Using coconut oil which is more expensive and yields less is still the best alternative for palm oil.
Coconut oil is one of the best cleansing ingredients to use in soap and also great for a bubbly soap bar.
Coconut oil is one of the best oils for creating large bubbles naturally. Bubbles don’t technically do anything in soap, but they are aesthetically pleasing and give the user a more pleasurable experience.
The last reason to use coconut oil in a soap bar is that it will make it last a longer time. Using a good balance of hard and soft fats will create a more balanced bar that lasts longer.
Is coconut oil in soap good for skin?
The answer is it depends. What it depends on is how much coconut oil is used in the soap. Use too much and the soap will be super cleansing and could potentially dry the skin.
Use too little coconut oil in a soap and it won’t clean the skin, leaving bacteria and dead skin cells on your skin potentially causing acne.
Coconut soap is good for skin when the right amount of coconut oil is used in the soap. If the soap contains 20-30% coconut oil, it will contain enough to clean your skin without drying it.
If it contains more it can dry skin. It will also dry skin if the oil is paired with other cleansing ingredients such as palm oil. Cleansing oil in soap should only make up 20-30% of the total soap.
So yes coconut oil in soap is good for the skin when used in the right proportions and not paired with other cleansing oils.
When we formulated our soaps, we stuck to these guidelines and paired the coconut oil with moisturising emollient ingredients such as olive oil, hempseed oil and cocoa butter.
This was to add to the moisturising properties of the soap and compliment the glycerin already produced within the soap naturally from the soap making process.
Coconut soap benefits for skin
Coconut oil soap benefits include; anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and highly cleansing.
They also can include moisturising, but only if it’s made in a certain way. We’ll tell you the benefits of coconut oil in soap here;
Anti-inflammatory- According to this study, coconut oil provides an anti-inflammatory for skin. This is a great quality for red inflamed skin that can occur with dry skin conditions such as eczema and oily skin conditions such as acne.
Antioxidant- In a study on the antioxidant effects of coconut oil, the results showed that coconut oil had clear results indicating that it has a positive effect on antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are great for skin as they reduce the activity of free radicals which speed up the aging process.
Cleansing- Coconut oil in soap is highly cleansing, which is why it should only be used sparingly. Cleansing is an important quality in soap as it allows the soap to break down and wash away undesirable bacteria, dirt and dead skin cells. Using a pure coconut oil soap bar can result in dried out skin as the soap will be overly cleansing.
Moisturising (unsaponified)- Coconut oil is one of nature’s moisturisers and used raw can provide great benefits to the skin. Natural soap is not usually fully saponified, so some of the base oils used remain as oils rather than turning into soap. If your using natural soap with coconut oil in, some of it will remain as oil and will give moisturising benefits to the skin.
Coconut oil based soaps are great for skin, as long as they are not purely coconut oil and contain other skin nourishing ingredients. Coconut oil provides one of the most essential parts of soap, the cleansing abilities to wash away dirt and bacteria from the skin.
It’s a great substitute for the over used palm oil that is in most soap you can pick up from your supermarket or pharmacy. Coconut oil is a more ethical ingredient to use than palm oil as most coconuts are farmed on land close to the coast in the countries that produce them.
This is directly in contradiction to palm oil where huge masses of precious jungle habitat are chopped down to make way for palm oil plantations.
Palm oil is directly responsible for the extinction threat to orang-utans, Sumatran tigers, Sumatran rhinos and a whole host of other animals.
By choosing a soap made with coconut oil instead you are part of the solution to habitat and biodiversity loss by reducing the amount of palm oil you consume.
Coconut oil soap offers lots of benefits to the skin, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can reduce redness and prevent free radicals from prematurely aging your skin.
So to conclude coconut oil is a great ingredient in soap and has a lot more positives than negatives which is why we use it in our soap. To purchase some of our soap with coconut oil, specifically formulated for dry skin please head over to our online shop.
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