Five myths about handmade soap

Image: honeyandwellness.com

Q1: Is soap made of coconut oil the most moisturizing?

A:Coconut oil is the major ingredient for any types of soap making. However, it is not used to contribute to moisturizing property. During the process of soap making, coconut oil is used to create foaming function, meaning more coconut oil added to soap making results in making a bar of soap with more foaming property. So is its cleaning property. But it makes the soap more drying, which is not good for the skin.

Q2: Why handmade soap is less moisturizing than liquid soap?

A: People might experience dry skin condition when they first switch from liquid soap to handmade soap. It is due to the simple and natural formula of soap making, without any artificial additives added. So it takes time for your skin to accommodate to using handmade soap. In fact, one of the properties of handmade soap is to leave your skin with glycerin after washing. Glycerin is a pure and natural agent that brings a hydrating property to your skin. It keeps your skin hydrated throughout the day and in the long run, it softens skin.

Q3: What is the major difference between handmade soap and those manufactured soap bought in health stores?

A: Handmade soaps are made with a process called cold process soap making. During the process, glycerin is produced naturally and it brings a hydrating property to your skin. For those manufactured soaps bought in health stores or supermarkets, they are made under large-scale manufacturing. Either glycerin produced during the process would be extracted to make other skin care products, or the soaps are made with a synthetic combination of a bunch of chemicals, which are harmful to your skin in a long run.

Q4: How can one tell a soap is of good quality?

A: Looking at the ingredients as it always an indicator to show the quality of soap. A high-quality soap is made without any chemical additives while the major ingredients include natural plant oil made with natural handmade processes, such as avocado oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, coconut oil and almond oil, which are used together to create mild with smooth lather. The rich content of natural nutrients is easily absorbed by the skin and make healthier skin following long-term usage.

Q5: Handmade soap is always described as mild to skin. Does it mean it is neutral PH value?

A: When handmade soaps are initially made, it possesses a PH value at around 11 to 13. It takes at least one month of ageing to let the PH value decrease to PH 8 to 9 which is regarded as weakly alkaline which is good to be used on the skin. This weak alkaline property is most ideal for skin because this is the best PH value to clean skin and boost metabolism, while skin is able to neutralize this weak alkaline after washing. It is not possible to have a handmade soap with neutral PH value unless it is neutralized with chemicals.

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如何讀懂麥蘆卡蜂蜜上的指數?

麥蘆卡蜂蜜來自一種名為Leptospermum的茶樹,生長於紐西蘭及澳洲的東南部。由於麥盧卡蜂蜜被發現具高度抗菌特性,所以被採收後會送往獨立的實驗室作檢驗,以證實它的麥蘆卡強度及天然純度,方便消費者購買時作出適當選擇。

所以緊記看看每瓶麥蘆卡蜂蜜上有沒有任何一個以下四款標籤,因為它們都是國際認可的麥蘆卡強度標準:

01 MGO

MGO 是一個很受廣泛使用的標準,以量度天然物質甲基乙二酸(Methylglyoxal )的多少,來反映該麥蘆卡蜂蜜的抗菌力度。

02 UMF

UMF 意思是Unique Manuka Factor ,是紐西蘭一項註冊商標及專利用字,是以量度蜂蜜多種非過氧化物的活性(non-peroxide activity) 來決定該麥蘆卡蜂蜜的強度,例如獨麥素 (Leptosperin),二羥基丙酮(DHA) 和 甲基乙二醛(Methylglyoxal)​

03 ULF

ULF即Unique Leptospermum Factor, 是另一個澳洲的檢測標準,做法跟UMF 大致相似。

04 NPA

NPA 是量度蜂蜜的某一種非過氧化物活性(Non-Peroxide Activity),而這種活性是在澳洲的麥蘆卡蜂蜜裡發現。


破解手工皂五大迷思

Q1: 以椰子油製作的手工皂是最滋潤的嗎?

A: 椰子油是製作手工皂必需的材料,但它並不是為了提供滋潤作用。在手工皂製作過程中,椰子油會轉化成為起泡的功能,即是手工皂成份中越多椰子油,泡沬會越多,清潔力也越高和相對令皮膚較為乾燥。

Q2: 為何使用手工皂好像比沐浴露乾燥呢?

A: 很多人在初期轉用手工皂也有這種感覺,因為手工皂的成份簡單天然,沒有添加的人造護膚成份,皮膚需要時間適應。而手工皂在用後會於肌膚上留有甘油(glycerin),這是純天然的保濕元素,可以整天為皮膚提供保濕效果,長期使用可使肌膚變得幼嫩。

Q3: 一般市面上的肥皂跟手工皂最大的分別是甚麼呢?

A: 手工皂是以冷製方式製作,過程中會產生甘油(glycerin),能為肌膚帶來保濕作用。一般市面上的肥皂是經由大型工業生產,在生產中甘油會被抽走(用來製作護膚品)或以非天然的原料合成方式生產,因此用後皮膚會較繃緊乾燥,長期使用對皮膚亦無益。

Q4: 怎樣分辨優質的手工皂呢?

A: 還是要看成份。優質的手工皂絕無化學添加成份,主要以天然植物油經手工製作而成,例如牛油果油、乳木果脂、可可脂、橄欖油、椰子油和甜杏仁油等等,溫和及泡沫細膩,含豐富的天然養分,皮膚易於吸收,長期使用讓肌膚變得更健康。

Q5: 說手工皂溫和,是中性酸鹼度的意思嗎?

A: 天然手工皂剛製作完成屬強鹼性PH11~13,必須經熟成最少一個月以上當酸鹼度轉為PH8~9才可使用,因此手工皂是屬於弱鹼性。而這種弱鹼性是最理想,因為具有效的清潔力及加速身陳代謝的同時,也讓肌膚在潔膚後有能力自動中和這種弱鹼性。天然手工皂是不可能屬中性,除非是添加化學物來中和它。

選購麥蘆卡蜂蜜的三大竅門

近十年愈來愈多人愛食用麥蘆卡蜂蜜,但確實了解麥蘆卡蜂蜜的人還是不多。

雖然一般蜂蜜都具有抗菌功效,但是麥蘆卡蜂蜜抗菌功效較一般蜂蜜多達四倍,而且裡頭的抗菌因子十分活躍,甚至可被稱做天然抗生素。因此麥蘆卡蜂蜜的用途很廣泛,包括幫助紓緩牙肉腫痛、喉嚨發炎、消化系統不良、皮膚灼傷、傷口、暗瘡問題、皮膚潰瘍、傷風感冒、長期胃部問題、口腔潰瘍等問題。所以麥蘆卡蜂蜜的價格比一般蜂蜜高,那絕對是有原因的。

麥蘆卡蜂蜜縱使在全球有售,事實上麥蘆卡蜂蜜採自一種名為Manuka Bush (又名Leptospermum tree ) 的植物,而這植物不是世界各地也能生長,只在澳洲東南岸及紐西蘭生長得最茂盛,所以每年產量也有限定。

那麼究竟如何選購優質的麥蘆卡蜂蜜呢?

# 1 了解自己的需要

麥蘆卡蜂蜜的用途廣泛,相信無論想要保健或想針對某些健康問題,都可選購麥蘆卡蜂蜜,或者預先準備在家中,以備不時之需。如果只需要保健或用來增強免疫力,指數較低的麥蘆卡蜂蜜已經可以做到 (UMF 10+以下),而且價錢亦較實惠; 若想要針對傷口或長期胃部問題,便要用到指數較高的麥蘆卡蜂蜜(UMF 10+或以上)。更仔細的指數分類可參考這網頁

#2 讀懂指數

麥蘆卡蜂蜜瓶上標示的指數,五花八門,的確會令人感到困擾。其實分類是十分簡單。MGO、UMF、ULF和NPA 四個都是全球被認可的麥蘆卡蜂蜜抗菌因子活躍度測試指標。雖然四個指標的指數不是劃一,但他們都可以互相比較各自的抗菌強度。例如當你手上拿起一瓶麥蘆卡蜂蜜MGO 400+ 和一瓶麥蘆卡蜂蜜UMF10+, 你知道究竟哪個的強度高一些呢?答案是麥蘆卡蜂蜜MGO 400+ ,因為將它轉換成UMF指數的話,大約是UMF13+,所以強度較高,詳情可參考這個換算表

#3 品牌背後

選好了自己所需要的麥蘆卡蜂蜜抗菌強度,最後是要看一看所選的品牌質素如何。你可以先查看品牌的歷史是否長久,盡量避免一些新推出的麥蘆卡蜂蜜品牌; 採收的蜂蜜或整個養蜂作業有沒有有機認證,或相關的品質保證; 然後可以的話再查看一下該品牌的養蜂作業規模,太小的規模有可能是新手,太大的話亦有可能是一家公司從大量不同的蜂農那裡收集麥蘆卡蜂蜜回來,因此質素有參差。中等規模的就比較理想,例如Biosota® Organics 是由1950年代開始在澳洲養蜂,1999年品牌正式成立,現在仍然是以家族式經營,而其養蜂作業也得到國家的有機認證,因此出品的麥蘆卡蜂蜜也贏得消費者的信心。