Spreading Clean Beauty

Lavender soap benefits: an antidote for stress and holistic beauty

Lavender soap benefits stand at the center of current holistic beauty movements that advocate for the harmonious fusion of skincare, nature and wellness. The soothing sensory experience offered by this well-known Mediterranean aromatic herb provides an invitation to transcend conventional beauty rituals, offering a moment of respite from the hustle of daily life. 

As contemporary society seems to propel stress rates and a constant flux of technological stimuli, more and more consumers seek to imbue beauty rituals with sensorial experiences in search of a moment where mindfulness and intention reign, as part of the movement known as holistic beauty.

In fact, data published by Mintel suggest some the keys behind growing trend: for instance, in Thailand 85% of adults strongly agree that emotional stress seriously harms their physical appearance; meanwhile, in the UK, 30% of 16-24-year-olds who have made changes to their beauty routines since COVID-19 have done so to improve their mental well-being.

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Honoring the interconnectedness of mind, body and nature, herbs such as lavender are regarded as true botanical treasures that help consumers embark on a journey towards self-care. A look at the 6 key lavender soap benefits reveals some of this herb’s well-known properties for mind and body.

Lavender soap benefits: from Mediterranean tradition to the holistic beauty movement

A short introduction and context around this herb can provide some keys about lavender soap benefits and their potential for the holistic beauty movement today and in the future. 

Lavandula angustifolia, commonly known as lavender, is an aromatic, perennial subshrub originating from the Mediterranean area. Its main components include rosmarinic acid (2-3%), bitter principles (picrosalvin or carnosol), tannins (5-10%) and flavonoids (luteolin), and its essential oil is derived from the lavender flowers.

The genus name comes from the Latin word lavare, meaning “to wash” or “to purify”. The name’s etymology already introduces the vast traditional knowledge surrounding this herb. In fact, in ancient Greece, Persia and Rome, lavender was used as a bath additive, lotion and antiseptic. Its importance for ancient Egyptians is revealed in their use of lavender oil to grease the linen strips employed to mummify the dead.

The extensive Mediterranean tradition around lavender is currently being revisited by contemporary cosmetic science, as part of the holistic beauty movement. Emerging as a response to today’s fast-paced world, this trend addresses the much-needed daily opportunities for relaxation as well as heightening the interconnection of beauty, well-being and self-care.

At its core, the holistic beauty movement recognizes that true beauty stems from harmony between mind, body, and spirit. This philosophy is increasingly becoming part of the mainstream within the beauty industry and has implications beyond skincare rituals,   transferring to segments such as holistic hair care and holistic oral care.

The main philosophy behind it is that, by incorporating moments of tranquility and mindfulness into daily routines, people can find solace in the simplicity of self-care rituals. This is elevated by the prioritization of natural ingredients, a trend that thus intersects with the current preferences for botanical extracts and plant-based oils.

In such a context, the relaxing, purifying, healing and peaceful values traditionally associated with lavender blooms take a new meaning for contemporary society.

6 key lavender soap benefits

1. Anti-inflammatory

One of the key lavender soap benefits is its capacity to calm skin, thanks to some of its compounds including linalool, which act on various pathways involved in the inflammatory response. 

As such, lavender oil has been attributed the property of relieving the symptoms of some skin pathologies such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema. Additionally, it has been suggested that topic applications of lavender oil might inhibit some steps of the allergic reaction. 

A research study reported the benefits of a group of essential oils, including lavender’s, to treat children’s eczema. Two groups of volunteers participated in this study. The tested essential oils were applied as a massage to one group, and added to the bath of water to the other group, a treatment that lasted for 8 weeks. Although the sample was rather small (16 children), remarkable improvement of the irritated areas was observed for both groups (Cavanagh H.M.A. & Wilkinson J.M, 2002).

This and other studies suggest lavender extract and its soap form are highly recommendable to formulate cosmetic products for the treatment of sensitive and/or irritated skin.

2. Relaxing and anxiolytic

Lavender’s aromatic character contains relaxing and anxiolytic properties. As such, it has shown  antispasmodic activity on animal smooth muscle of the intestine (ileum) and the uterus walls, an action which is believed to contribute to induce a relaxed state inhumans. 

Additionally, linalool (one of the compounds present in lavender) has been extensively studied for its calming effects on the central nervous system. Acting as a sedative that helps to reduce nervousness and anxiety, it interacts with neurotransmitter receptors in the brain (such as GABA receptors) which are involved in regulating anxiety levels. This is accompanied by the effects of inhaling the lavender aroma, which is able to trigger various neurological responses that contribute to its anxiolytic effects. 

These conclusions suggest that being a potent natural remedy for relaxation is among the key lavender soap benefits.

3. Antioxidant

The antioxidant activity of lavender means lavender soap benefits include the protection of the skin from free radicals, which may increase with stress and pollution.

This activity is due to lavender’s phenolic compounds content, which have been suggested to act as in vitro free radical scavengers (Bruneton J., 2001), among other advantages. 

As such, lavender extract has been praised for its capacity to protect skin and hair from oxidative processes, an advantage that also adds to the list of lavender soap benefits.

4. Astringent

The tannins present in lavender (5-10%) mean local applications of lavender turn the outermost layers of skin and mucosa impermeable, thus protecting the deeper layers. These components also present a vasoconstrictor effect on small superficial blood vessels, which in turn can help reduce the loss of liquids and prevent external injuries, facilitating tissue regeneration in cases of superficial wounds or skin burn (Bruneton J., 2001).

When considering lavender soap benefits, this activity can be applied for cosmetic applications such as sebum secretion regulators and wound healing activity.

5. Aligned with nature

Lavender soap serves as an opportunity to align beauty routines with nature, at a time when  individuals increasingly seek to reconnect with the natural world. 

A natural ingredient with an enticing and relaxing botanical fragrance, the use of lavender soap can evoke the serene beauty of lavender fields in bloom, fostering a sense of groundedness and balance.

6. Antimicrobial and antiseptic

The antimicrobial activity of lavender is due to the essential oil content of lavender and its phenol component, which shares some characteristics of alcohol and which result in antimicrobial activity. In fact, different research studies have confirmed the antimicrobial properties of essential oils, especially on antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, or Enterococcus faecium

Additionally, essential oils also show antiseptic effects against different pathogenic bacteria, even antibiotic-resistant strains. 

As a result, lavender extract is highly recommendable to formulate cosmetic products with purifying and antiseptic activity.

A look at these lavender soap benefits shouldn’t cast a shadow at the versatility of the Lavender natural extract

Used in a variety of formulations (from soaps to creams, lotions, shampoos, colognes…), lavender presents the potential to become a crucial ally for holistic beauty treatments that bring together tradition and science for the benefit of the mind and the body.

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