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Whats the Deal with Soap? – Making your products last longer

If you are like me, you have looked for products only to find they seem expensive compared to the amount you are getting.  I was in that boat for a while and it turned me away from buying higher end products that I thought were out of my price range. I have decided to write this article to help alleviate the notion that you aren’t getting your money’s worth and possibly steer you towards products you may be avoiding because they appear out of your price range.

The way soap works

Soap is comprised of molecules with 2 properties.  Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic properties make up the soap molecules you are using to wash your hands, clean your face or shave your face, amongst other things. Hydrophobic means that the substance repels water.  The hydrophobic end of the molecule does not like water so much.  It is made up of the oil in the soap at much smaller quantity than the rest.  Its purpose is to attach itself to the dirt or particles and carry it away in the water. The hydrophilic end of the molecule works oppositely.  Anything that is hydrophilic loves water, and it is what the soap molecule is made up of the most.  This is why when you use a liquid hand soap, run your hands under water, it foams up to form a larger quantity and foams up.  The oil particle in the molecule is attaching itself to the dirt and the rest is providing a carrier for the particles.

What is in soap

You will find that soap is basically 2 things an oil and a fatty acid.  It’s interesting to think soap is made of oil considering that oil and water do not mix.  If you think back to what I mentioned above about the properties of the soap molecule, you can see that the oil in soap is used in generally smaller quantities in combination with the fatty acid.  You will find that a lot of the homemade or natural soaps you buy are made from tallow, some kind of oil, and possibly glycerol for moisturization. Commercial products use a lot of synthetics and other chemicals in their formulas, but in essence, they are creating the same effect and adding other properties like moisturization, scents, emollients, exfoliants, etc.

Making your soap last longer

Now that you have a basic understanding of how soap is constructed and how it works, think about the amounts you are currently using in your routine.  When you pour out body wash on your scrubber do you generally dump that stuff on like you have a 50-gallon vat of it in your closet?  I used to do this frequently.  I figured that I wanted as much of the scent and foam as possible to feel like it was doing its job.  In the end, overuse is just waste.  Chances are the product, in large quantity, isn’t completely foaming and some of it is probably just taking a trip down the drain.  That’s product you paid for being wasted.

So maybe you are like I was and being extremely liberal with how much you are using because Nivea at Kroger is only a few dollars so what’s the big deal.  When you start to venture out into better products you will find they seem really expensive and the tube your body wash is in is a third of the size of a bottle of Axe.  To give you a point of reference, I grabbed a free Brickell sample kit from their website.  You can find them here: Brickell Men’s Free Sample Kit.

This was one of my first “purchases” (I only paid shipping) in terms of higher end grooming products.  When I opened the box, I assumed it would not last long because the samples were so small.  That was 6 months ago and I am still using products from this box along with some replacements I opted to purchase because they work so well.


The first rule I always go buy when I’m using some soap whether it’s body washes or putting shave soap in my wooden bowl for lather, is that you can always add more but you cannot subtract.  Start out small, lather it up and see what you get.  If it’s just not enough, add a tiny bit more and work it into the lather.  I think you will find that you have been using soap in excess and have found a new method for making your products last a lot longer.  Now an $18 bottle of face wash that will last you 6 months is a little more appealing.


Look, if you have the money, drop it on some really good stuff but having the means isn’t justification for waste.  If you don’t, start small, pick up samples from places like Birchbox Men or Maggards.  With Birchbox you get different stuff each month and its affordable enough to start to build a collection.  Maggards on the other hand, you can pick and choose from a ton of really awesome shaving supplies on the cheap.


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