- Soap Hong Kong: What is soap?
- Soap Hong Kong: Wash up and cleanse with soap
- Top Soap brands in Hong Kong
Today, soaps are can be made of different kinds of ingredients, from fats and oils that react with lye (sodium hydroxide), or form plant based ingredients which are later scented with essential oils only and coloured with organic herbs and plant extracts only. Solid fats like coconut oil, palm oil, tallow (rendered beef fat), or lard (rendered pork fat), can also be used to form bars of soap that stay hard and resist dissolving in the water left in the soap dish.
On the other hand, handcrafted soaps are made from three ingredients: oil (animal or vegetable oil, not petroleum-based oil), water and lye. These three ingredients, mixed together in correct proportions, will combine and chemically change into soap, going through a process called "saponification". So do give soap labels a thorough read before purchasing as they may contain different kind of ingredients.
To understand what is needed to achieve effective cleaning, it is helpful to have a basic knowledge of soap and detergent chemistry.
In the cleaning process, surface tension must be reduced so water can spread and wet surfaces. Chemicals that are able to do this effectively are called surface active agents, or surfactants. Surfactants are classified by their ionic (electrical charge) properties in water: anionic (negative charge), nonionic (no charge), cationic (positive charge) and amphoteric (either positive or negative charge).
Since soap is an anionic surfactant, it is useful in removing acidic soils which are the dirt and dust off our skin. However, for facial soaps it is important to get soaps that are made of less chemicals that will irritate the softer and thinner skin surface of our face.
- Wet the skin surface with water.
- Lather up the soap with water, created as much fine bubbles as you can at your palms.
- Then, smoothen the soapy bubbles on the skin and cleanse to remove dirt.
- Wash off with lukewarm water and finish off with a final round of cool water to close pores of the skin.
- Enjoy the refreshing and clean after-shower fragrance after you towel dry.
A good bar soap is a well-balanced in its bar hardness (durability), lather quality (both fluffiness and stability) and moisturizing ability.
However, fatty acids that are moisturizing has less lather quality, while the ones that make great lather tends to dry out the skin. So, pick a soap that suits your skin type.
Among the most popular soap brands include AprilSkin - one of the most popular face soap from Korea, Dr. Bronner’s - made with organic oils, Natural Origin - handmade soaps and L'OCCITANE - well-known beauty brand from France.