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How To Choose The Right Hand Soap

Washing our hands is something that we do extremely regularly, usually multiple times a day. But despite the frequency with which we use hand soaps, many people put little to no thought into selecting a hand soap that’s good for them. Hand soaps that are full of chemicals and unnatural ingredients can cause your hands to become dry, cracked, itchy, irritated, and painful. No one wants a hand soap that does that! You need a hand soap that’s effective in removing dirt and bacteria whilst still being gentle and pleasant to use. But how do you go about choosing such a hand soap with so many options out there? 


To start, it’s helpful to understand the basics of hand soaps so you’re better informed on what to look out for. Get in the habit of reading the ingredient list on the back of the product. There are many unfavorable ingredients in lots of hand soaps, so knowing about soaps and what exactly you’re looking for can be helpful. 


These days, soap can have a lot of ingredients in it, many of them confusing and hard to pronounce. But when soap was first created, it was much, much simpler. As early as ancient times, animals’ fat was mixed with wood ash solutions to make soap. How does this wood ash solution work? The method simply involves mixing ash with water after burning wood and then letting it sit for a week or so. This would have been followed by filtering off the ash and leaving a wood ash solution, which is an alkaline solution. Afterward, the fat and alkaline solution are mixed together and stirred for several hours. Soap is formed when all the wood ash solution has been reacted with the fat. Saponification is the chemical reaction involved in this process. So, fat and wood ash solution (alkaline solution) are the two main ingredients in old-school soap.


How is Soap Made Today?

In order to make liquid soap, potassium hydroxide is used. Soap is made by replacing the Sodium Hydroxide in fat with Potassium Hydroxide or Sodium Hydroxide in fat depending on the type of soap. Saponification would eliminate chemical residue left behind after this chemical has completely reacted with the oil. As a result, chemicals aren't a problem. In conclusion, it seems that for the production of soap, we need vegetable fat and either Potassium Hydroxide or Sodium Hydroxide.



Ingredients to Look For In a Good Hand Soap

A true natural basic soap usually uses natural ingredients rather than chemicals and irritating ingredients. So, the basic ingredients you can expect to see on a hand soap will include oils, such as coconut oil, and Potassium Hydroxide. Potassium Hydroxide is sometimes omitted from the label. Instead, you might see terms such as saponified coconut oil, which is just fine. It is simply the reaction between oil and sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide to produce soap. There can be other additives in a natural soap such as herbs like chamomile, cucumber fruit extract, or aloe Vera gel. Hand Over Heart’s natural Lavender and Pear hand soap includes such ingredients to clean, nourish, and hydrate the hands. It’s a hand soap that delivers s superior clean whilst also remaining safe and non-irritating.


What To Avoid

In general, it’s best to avoid hand soaps that don’t feature natural ingredients, as they can very easily irritate your hands. Try to avoid soaps that contain chemicals such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, PEG, Triclocarban, Triclosan, and Propylene Glycol.


Tips for Choosing a Hand Soap

So, now you know a little bit more about soap, but maybe you’re still confused about exactly what to look for. After all, there is a myriad of options on the market that it’s an understandably confusing choice. Here are some tips for easily selecting a good hand soap:

  • Remember that any hand soap, even if it isn’t labeled antibacterial specifically, will wash away dirt, bacteria, and grime from your hands as long as it contains the right ingredients. 
  • Make sure your hand soap contains moisturizing ingredients, such as coconut oil, especially during harsh winter months or if you wash your hands very regularly. Regular handwashing keeps you clean, but it also strips moisture from your skin. If you don’t choose the right hand soap, your hands will be left feeling dry and the skin could crack and become irritated. 
  • Liquid hand soaps get hands cleaner than foam hand soaps. Why? Because you have to work harder to lather them up which means more scrubbing your hands as you wash.
  • Check for ethoxylated ingredients and avoid them. To make other ingredients less harsh, ethylene oxide, a chemical associated with multiple types of cancer, is added through a process called ethoxylation. In many hand soaps, surfactant ingredients are ethoxylated. Sodium Laureth sulfate is an example of an ethoxylated surfactant. 
  • It is best to avoid formulations that contain isothiazolinone preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone or methylchloroisothiazolinone. What are the signs of their presence? Search for the suffix "thiazolinone."
  • Avoid products that list ingredients that end with -paraben (e.g., ethylparaben).
  • Opt for products that disclose 100% of ingredients.
  • To help prevent plastic pollution and be more eco-friendly, choose liquid hand soap that is bottled in glass or biodegradable packaging, or is refillable


Many people think that in order to truly remove bacteria and leave their hands feeling clean, a hand soap needs to be stripping and full of chemical ingredients. This simply isn’t true. Fortunately, there are hand soaps that are gentle, natural, and do the job they’re supposed to do. Hand Over Heart’s hand soaps use a gentle formula that’s suitable for even the most sensitive of skiing. They nourish and provide a deep clean. What’s more, they’re cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten-free, so you can feel good about what you’re purchasing. 





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