Soap has been around since about 3000 BC. The first evidence comes from Italy at the foot of Mt Sapo (hence 'soap') where ritual animal sacrifices were made. Rain falling on the slopes of the mountain mixed animal fats from such sacrifices with ash from the altar fires and carried this mixture into the Tiber River where women gatheted daily to wash their clothes. This foamy substance made the clothes washed in the vicinity much cleaner than clothes washed elsewhere!! Hence the discovery of soap or saponification. Where would be without it?
Until the beginning of the last century most soaps were made at home from rendered animal fats which were readily available. With the outbreak of World War I, a shortage of animal fats now needed for the production of armaments meant an alternative source of fats was needed. Thus came the introduction of Petroleum Distillates in soap making resulting in synthetic cleansers called detergents containing foaming agents such as SLS, synthetic fragrances, parabens and propylene and butylene glycols.
Natural soaps are made using vegetable or plant oils such as almond, coconut, grapeseed, macadamia nut, palm (sustainable plantation) and ricebran to name but a few. Glycerine, a wonderful skin emollient, is naturally produced in the process and so these soaps not only cleanse gently but also soften and moisturise as they do so. They also deliver a storehouse of nutrients to the skin via the natural oils contained within. Nature nourishes of itself.
So next time choose a natural soap and put those detergent soaps back on the shelf.