Soap – an everyday item that’s on an upward trend. Supermarket sales of soap have increased by 7 per capita in the 12 weeks leading up to mid-February, according to Kantar Worldpanel[1]. It’s the fastest increase retailers have seen since last November. Of course, these are unprecedented times with the Covid-19 outbreak dominating our everyday lives. Yet even before the outbreak, sales of soap were increasing.

In the 1990s through to early 2000s, bar soap was largely out of favour, replaced by the more popular liquid soap and handwash. But in the year up to July 2019, consumers spent £68.6m on bars of soap, an increase of 4% from the previous year[2]. The rising concern of single-use plastics has urged shoppers to move to a more sustainable solution. Up to 49% of bar soap users surveyed by Kantar Research said they’d prefer to avoid products that are harmful to the environment, increasing by 6% from last year’s survey[3].

At Kerfoot, sustainability is something we care about deeply. Many Kerfoot Oils are used in soap, moisturisers and skincare products as a core ingredient, so we’re committed to ensuring our oils are both sourced and produced in ways that lessen the impact on our environment. But that’s not all. Many of our bespoke, innovative fusions and customised blends also offer additional benefits when applied to soaps, creams and more. To learn why, we’re going back to the basics.

Lather up with the essentials

According to various sources, it was the ancient Babylonians that first discovered soap, dating back to 2,800 B.C. Recipes for soap were found on containers, which included a mixture of fats combined with wood ash and water. Originally, these recipes were used primarily for washing clothing and for medicinal treatments, rather than for personal hygiene, which came much later. In present times, the recipe for soap hasn’t altered much and uses a mixture of fat, oil, water, and either an alkali or salt to attain its basic structure, also known as ‘saponification’.

Jojoba Oil

The type of oil used in the saponification process can vary, depending on the type of soap, lather effect and scent preferred. A superb addition to any soap is our carrier oil, Jojoba, which is also known as Hohowi, the O’odham Native American tribe’s word for seed.

Extracted from the seeds of the jojoba bush in the North America desert, Jojoba Oil is a versatile and highly protective oil that both nourishes and moisturises, delivering a strong and stable lather. It’s able to protect and repair the skin barrier due to its Vitamin B properties and allows the skin to breathe more easily by containing Gadoleic Acid. Recent studies have even suggested Jojoba Oil could have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, making it a great value add for soaps.

Argan Oil

Another carrier oil rich in skincare benefits is Argan Oil. Known for its medicinal properties, Argan Oil was historically used to treat several conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. Native to Morroco, the oil is extracted by cold-pressing the kernels of the argan fruit.

A powerful antioxidant, Argan Oil is a great addition for soaps due to its essential fatty acids and moisture-locking properties, which are great for hydrating the face, skin, hair and nails. When applied to soaps, the oil delivers a strong and rich lather which leaves the skin feeling soft and silky.

Avocado Oil

Known for its smooth and creamy texture, Avocado Oil makes for an excellent soap. Originating from sub-tropical climates, avocado was initially believed to be an aphrodisiac and said to have natural skin healing properties.

When placed into soap, avocado builds up a medium creamy lather and deeply conditions the skin. It contains plenty of vitamins – A, B and D – and also E oleic and palmitoleic acids to soothe dry or inflamed skin.

Of course, Jojoba, Argan and Avocado are only a selection of oils in our range. There are many more oils that deliver countless benefits for soap, moisturisers and other skincare products. If you’re looking to add value to your skincare portfolio or just need a helping hand in these uncertain times, Kerfoot is an accredited supplier you can trust.

[1] Kantar Worldpanel, March 2020

[2] Kantar UK, 2019

[3] Kantar UK, 2019