Difference between handmade soap and commercial soap

Difference between handmade soap and commercial soap

Is a soap just a soap?

Or should we raise the bar?

Handmade, natural soaps versus commercial regular soaps

Isn’t a soap really, just a soap? Any commercial soap bar you buy from the market should do, right? Why should you use a natural soap? At the end of the day, isn’t it a cleanse-off product?

Well, these are all great questions.. Which is why we’ve dissected commercial soaps and handmade (or) natural soaps on different vectors.

But, first, what’s the difference?

What’s the difference between natural handmade and commercial soaps?

Commercial soaps are made from soap noodles. Fragrances and caring agents are added to them to give moisturising and that perfumey smell we all love.

Natural handmade soaps are made by a process called saponification. This converts virgin oils into cleansers. Fragrance is added via natural essential oils. Intelligent skincare adds essential oils to solve for skin concerns as well, by adding the right oils for the right concerns.

Can oils clean? Seriously?

Remember the age-old procedure of removing makeup with coconut oil? It was by far the BEST cleanser to remove chemicals from our face. Well, oils cleanse much better than detergents, especially for skin. But more about that a little later.

Now that we’ve clarified this, let’s see how commercial and handmade soaps stack up on various important factors, which we need to consider. 

The Cleansing process

Commercial soaps have surfactants, or surface active agents, as an essential ingredient. Surfactants have two ends — one that turns towards the water, and the other towards the oil and grease. The latter trap oil and dirt, loosens them from your skin surface, and then are washed away by the ends that are turned towards the water. Cool, you may say. But here’s what’s not cool about surfactants. They can strip your skin of its natural moisture and make your skin age faster. Some groups of surfactants can act as carriers for potential carcinogens too.

On the other hand, as we said earlier, natural soaps cleanse through saponification. With oils as their cleansing base, they clean your skin equally effectively, but much more gently. And they don’t strip off the essential oils. Which means that your skin retains its natural moisture 

On stripping off oil and dirt

This is a very important point to note, and repeat too.  As we said before, commercial soaps tend to strip off all oils, including essential ones from your skin. Result? Your skin becomes extremely dry, and ages faster. 

On the other hand, the cleansing base of natural soaps are oils. They clean your skin gently and thoroughly, plus allows it to retain its natural moisture. 

On amount of lotion to be used AFTER cleansing

Commercial soaps strip your skin off its moisture, hence you need to use lots of lotion to moisturise your body. And you need to reapply this lotion again and again

Let’s see what natural oils do as cleansers. Remember, we said they clean your skin really well — yet,  leaves behind its natural moisture and essential oils. That means when you use natural soaps, you don’t need a slather of lotion to replenish the oils, which you would have lost if you had used commercial soaps. 

On fragrances

Commercial soaps have perfumes added to them which ideally, over a long exposure, can cause skin irritation - because they are chemicals

Natural soaps add essential oils to them - these oils can also have medicinal properties which have both fragrances and do loads of good to your skin, especially if they are thoughtfully formulated to treat specific skin concerns.

On clogging pores

Back to the surfactants in commercial soaps, they are essentially detergents. To put it in skincare terms, they contain sodium laureth sulphate (SLS) — chemicals that can neatly sit in, fill and clog your skin pores. And the result is anything but neat.

Natural soaps, on the other hand, are made from saponified natural oils like virgin olive and coconut oils. Called non-comedogenic, natural soaps cannot, and do not, fill your pores or clog them. They are ‘essentially’ oils (pun intended)

On rehydrating properties

You can be sure of this — commercial soaps have zero rehydrating properties. Chemicals, remember? In skincare terms, we say they don’t have humectant properties. Apply, reapply, and reapply - this is what you will need to do with lotions every 2-3 hours, after using commercial soap.

Not so with natural soaps. Not only are they made from oils, they help the body produce natural oils of its own too. Now they are natural humectants, and you may have to apply lotions once in 8 hours, or maybe more!  

And here’s a fact - handmade natural soaps DON’T melt fast, if made well

Contrary to popular belief, handmade soaps, if made well, do not melt quickly. It depends on the quality of the oils and the saponification process. It’s important to keep natural soaps on a wooden tray which has grooves on them, to avoid it melting on the bathroom shelf. 

How to be ‘skintelligent’ about handmade soaps 

Handmade soaps can naturally and effectively treat skin concerns, when formulated right! The Skintelligent® handmade soaps are proven to fight 4 skin concerns - acne, dryness, dullness and ageing. Each of the soaps have 4 sets of super botanicals. 2 of them treat the acne, and 2 of them prevent recurrence.

Acne Clearing Handmade Soap

This handmade soap is enriched with active botanical extracts of calendula, chamomile and neem oil.

How it treats

  • Calendula oil, which has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties, soothes eczema
  • Jojoba oil promotes collagen synthesis and controls sebum production

How it prevents recurrence

  • Chamomile acts as a powerful antioxidant, which eliminates free radicals
  • Neem oil, which naturally stimulates collagen production, treats acne and heals wounds

Suitable for all skin types. Gender agnostic, it can be used by men and women. Shape and texture irregularities are normal, as this is a handmade soap.

Age Defence Anti-Ageing Handmade Soap

Enriched with alpha arbutin, grapeseed, green tea and saffron. Treats fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.

How it treats

  • Alpha-Arbutin  is an antioxidant that reduces signs of ageing

  • Grapeseed oil helps skin elasticity and flexibility. 

How it prevents recurrence

  • Green tea prevents inflammation and premature ageing

  • Saffron evens and brightens skin tone

Suitable for all skin types. Gender agnostic, it can be used by men and women. Shape and texture irregularities are normal as this is a handmade soap


  • Green tea
  • Saffron

Age Defence Anti-Ageing  Face Wash

This gentle face wash is enriched with alpha-arbutin, grapeseed, green tea and saffron. It treats fine lines, wrinkles & age spots. 

How it treats

  • Alpha-arbutin brightens skin tone and heals skin damage
  • Grapeseed oil helps skin elasticity and flexibility

How it prevents recurrence

  • Green tea reduces free radicals and detoxes skin
  • Saffron evens and brightens the skin tone without causing breakouts

Deep Hydration Handmade Soap

This hydrating handmade soap is enriched with botanical super-actives  like arginine PCA, alpha-arbutin, lactic acid, sodium hyaluronate and tocopherol.

How it treats

  • Lactic acid is a natural AHA which improves skin elasticity and lightens dark spots
  • Sodium hyaluronate has the magical duality to moisturise skin and reduce inflammation

How it prevents recurrence

  • Arginine PCA captures skin moisture and keeps it hydrated all day long

  • Alpha-arbutin brightens skin tone and heals skin damage

  • Tocopherol is a fantastic antioxidant to detox skin

Skin Brightening Handmade Soap

This handmade soap is enriched with botanical super-actives like rosehip oil, kakadu plum, witch hazel and turmeric

How it treats

  • Kakadu plum is rich in Vitamin C and brightens the skin 
  • Curcumin from turmeric acts as a powerful antioxidant to eliminate free radicals

How it prevents recurrence

  • Rosehip oil exfoliates and brightens skin

  • Witch hazel helps in relieving inflammation and pore-tightening

Back to blog