Pallas Athene Soap™

Handmade Natural Soap

Organic Vegan Soap, Handmade in Spring Valley, California, USA

Pallas Athene Soap™ is the creator of award-winning Pure Soap™.

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The Pallas Athene Soap soapmaker is certified by the Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild.

Pallas Athene Soap is listed with the Natural Soap Directory.

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Soap Trivia
  1. How long has soap existed?
  2. In which country was soap considered a luxury product and purchased exclusively by the rich?
  3. What was the first company in the United States to successfully mass-produce soap for public use?
  4. Until recently, what household needs were met with bar soap?
  5. Do most Americans use soap?
  6. Does real soap float in water?
  7. Why do most large retail stores not sell real soap?
  8. Do commercially-produced clear soaps contain natural glycerin?
  9. Why do most bar cleansers leave a white film on skin?
  1. Q:  How long has soap existed?

    A:  People have been making and using soap for over 4,800 years.  Archaeological records show that the Babylonians were making soap around 2800 B.C.

  2. Q:  In which country was soap considered a luxury product and purchased exclusively by the rich?

    A:  In England, previous to 1853, soap was heavily taxed and could only be purchased by wealthy individuals.  In 1853, when the soap tax was repealed, soap became more widely used.

  3. Q:  What was the first company in the United States to successfully mass-produce soap for public use?

    A:  William Colgate and Company, established in New York City by William Colgate in 1806, was the first large-scale soap factory in the United States.  Colgate and Company sold large blocks of soap to drug stores.  The drug store clerks hand-sliced bars from the loaf for customers, as needed.  In 1830, Colgate and Company began selling individual bars of soap in uniform weights.  A version of the original Colgate and Company still exists today as the Colgate-Palmolive Company.  Now, the successful Colgate-Palmolive Company manufactures Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive dish detergents, Ajax cleanser, Softsoap liquid hand cleanser, and Hill's Science Diet pet products.  Unfortunately, it seems the pioneering company no longer manufactures natural soap and has not for quite some time.

  4. Q:  Until recently, what household needs were met with bar soap?

    A:  Previous to the last 50 years, bar soap was used for personal bathing, for washing hair, for laundering clothes, for cleaning the home, and for softening and cleaning leather.  An entire household would regularly accomplish all of these needs with the same bar of soap.

  5. Q:  Do most Americans use soap?

    A:  Surprisingly, no.  Today, most Americans do not have a bar of real soap in their home.  Most households have a "beauty bar," a "cleansing bar," a "family bar," or a "moisture bar;" none of which are real soap.  These common bathing bars are actually bars of detergent, not soap.  Sadly, most of America's youth have never experienced the wholesome luxury of bathing with a bar of real soap.

  6. Q:  Does real soap float in water?

    A:  Yes and no.  Real soap can be made to float in water by whipping air into the liquid soap batter before pouring it into the mold to harden.  By whipping air into the soap batter, the weight of the final bar of soap is reduced; meanwhile, the mass of the bar remains the same.  Therefore, soap with air whipped into it will float because the bar is less dense and slightly lighter in weight than a non-aerated bar of soap with the same dimensions.  Usually, the ultra-fine air bubbles are not detectable in the final bar of soap.  Some commercial bathing bars and detergent bars are aerated to make them float in water.  Companies that aerate their commercial detergent bars often use this technique in order to increase profits by selling an aerated product that appears to be a standard size bar of common dimensions, but in reality the bar weighs slightly less because the consumer is buying less of the product because some of the bar is only air.  So, whether or not a product floats is not an indication of whether or not the product is real soap.  Soap can be made to float; detergent bars can be made to float.  Pallas Athene Soap makes only real soap and does not aerate the soap batter; hence, Pallas Athene Soap's bars of natural soap do not float.

  7. Q:  Why do most large retail stores not sell real soap?

    A:  Most retail stores do not sell real soap because it is not available to them.  Today's commercial "soap" manufacturers begin the process of making soap with inexpensive fatty acids instead of using whole natural oils.  The fatty acids do not yield a high glycerin content.  Fatty acids are extracted from whole oil and the valuable glycerin remains to be sold separately to other entities.  Glycerin (glycerol) is a valuable commodity; it is altered and processed into industrial lubricants, industrial solvents, and nitroglycerin for dynamite, explosives, and to dilate blood vessels.  Handmade soaps made from whole oils yield real soap that is rich in luxurious natural glycerin.  Often additives, fillers, "lathering agents," preservatives, colorants, and chemicals are added by commercial "soap" manufacturers.  Many people find these additives drying and irritating, especially without the natural emollience of the missing glycerin to counteract the additives' harshness.  Furthermore, heavy scents and synthetic fragrances are added to commercial bars to mask the odors of these harsh additives.  The resulting bars of detergent are sold to retailers as "cleansing bars."  Therefore, few bar cleansers are real soap, which is rich in natural glycerin.  Hence, most commercial manufacturers do not make real soap and so it is not available to retailers.

    Real Soap has the Most Natural Glycerin!

  8. Q:  Do commercially-produced clear soaps contain natural glycerin?

    A:  No.  Frequently, people refer to clear cleansing bars as "glycerin soap."  Ironically, they are neither real soap, nor do they contain glycerin.  In order to produce a clear product, clear cleansing bars are commonly made with alcohol, detergents, artificial coloring agents, synthetic fragrances, and sugar.

  9. Q:  Why do most bar cleansers leave a white film on skin?

    A:  There are several answers to this trick question.  The key to the trick is that real soap does not leave a white film on skin.  As for the white film, many different bar cleansers and detergents are responsible for this film for a variety of reasons.

    First, and most simply, most bar cleansers and synthetic liquid cleansers are very harsh and drying to skin.  They clean so well that they can strip the skin of all surface oils and some epidermal oils, resulting in dry, "ashy" skin, which appears white from a thin layer of sloughed, dry epidermal cells clinging to the skin surface.  This thin layer of sloughed and dry epidermal cells, is often visible as a "white film."  (Real soap cleans effectively without stripping or drying because it is rich in natural glycerin, a natural lubricating humectant that moisturizes and nourishes skin.)

    Next, some detergents do leave an actual film on the skin.  Depending on the cleanser, the film may either be due to the acidity of the product or due to the high content of sodium laureth sulfate.  (Real soap does not naturally contain sodium laureth sulfate.)

    Lastly, water sources with extremely high mineral content, termed "hard water," may also leave a white powdery substance on skin, especially in combination with certain fatty acids.  In this case, either calcium or magnesium ions bond with fatty acids to form insoluble salts that remain on the skin surface.  During the saponification process of making real soap, the fatty acids found in the original ingredients are molecularly re-arranged into alkali salts and no longer exist as fatty acids.  Therefore, most real soap does not contain many fatty acids, if any.  (Pallas Athene Soap Premium Soaps do contain skin-nourishing essential fatty acids in the form of natural Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids from organic vegetable oils.)  Free fatty acids are sometimes added to bar detergents and liquid skin cleansers in an effort to produce a moisturizing effect or to counteract other harsh additives.  These free fatty acids added to skin detergents can be the "white film culprits" by bonding with the excessive calcium or magnesium ions of hard water.  However, detergents without added fatty acids--such as dish detergents and laundry detergents--rarely leave a white film on skin, but should not be used on the skin due to harshness.

View the List of Sources for this information.

Last updated March 25, 2016.
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