I know that I have mentioned this before but my husband has an allergy to detergents so we have started using lye soap. It only has 3 ingredients, water, lard and lye, and it works great. After purchasing a bar to try, I started making it myself. It is really easy to make, but it is a little time consuming and you have to be really careful with the lye. But it makes a really great soap with a good feeling lather and is hypoallergenic. My teens even use it to help clear up their acne issues.
It costs me about $8 to make 40 bars of soap. I even found a recipe to make laundry soap from the home made bars. That costs me about 80 cents to make a little over 2 gallons and it works great too. (see previous post)
In case you were wondering if it is harsh, let me explain how it works. The lye and the lard create a chemical reaction that transforms them into glycerin, the same stuff used in those clear bars of expensive "beauty" soaps you buy at the drugstore. Depending on what you use as your fats in the mix, you can even make the high dollar specialty soaps that sell in boutiques for $5-$10 each. Because my husband is so sensitive, I stick with the basics and don't even add a fragrance. But you can if you wish.
Not only do we save a bundle of money by making the soaps ourselves, they contain no phosphates so they are environmentally friendly as well. And 1 bar will last almost a month in the shower so it is very cost effective.
I know that most people don't think much about the cost of soap since it is one of those basic things that are really not that expensive to buy, but after you make your own, you begin to wonder why you would want to spread all of those chemicals and phosphates and who-knows-what-else all over your body on a daily basis. Home made soap has been in use for thousands of years yet in the last 100 years, we have gotten away from using natural products. Now there is finally a movement to get away from all of the chemicals that are supposed to make our lives better.
The old ways are sometimes the best ways.