Lard is the rendered fat from pigs, and it has been used in soaps since the colonial days. Where the pioneers used to have to render their own fat, we have the luxury of purchasing the rendered lard in buckets (very abundant and produced right here in America). It is a clean, bright white oil that is similar in texture to shortening.
You may hear some argument that you don’t want to have an animal killed just to have soap. I grew up on a farm where we raised pigs. I can tell you first hand that I don’t know of a single animal that was butchered for its fat. In fact, it is preferred to have a lean animal in order to have less fat, because it is butchered for meat. The fat was cut out and thrown away. So if you eat bacon, ham, pork chops or any other meat from a pig, then using soap made from lard just makes sense.
I will note here that we are aware that vegans will naturally want to avoid using animal fat in their soaps, we do make many vegan-friendly soaps that have absolutely no lard or tallow in the ingredients.
Cold process lard soap is wonderfully creamy and very good for your skin. It doesn’t clog your pours and leaves your skin beautifully soft. One of my favorite soaps that we make is our unscented, uncolored lard based soap. I haven’t experienced any unusual odor and find that the soap takes color extremely well, most likely because it is white rather than cream colored, like most pure vegetable based soaps.
So the next time you are purchasing a bar of handmade soap, consider trying one with lard in it. Since the fat is an abundant and natural by-product of most of our omnivorous eating habits, using additional parts that would be thrown away just makes sense. Perhaps it’s from my Native American heritage, but I like the idea that all parts of the animal is used. Less waste is truly “green” living.