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What is Soap?

One of the first questions people ask us is “Why should I buy handmade soap from you when I can pick up a much cheaper bar in the supermarket?”  Well yes, commercial bars of soap are much cheaper but do you know what goes into them? Or more importantly, what is taken out of them?

Think about it. The skin is the largest organ in the human body and most people spend huge amounts of money lavishing creams, lotions and moisturizers on it, and yet ignore the major component of our primary skin care function – washing! Instead of checking the ingredients in our commercial soap bar, we just reach for the most competitively priced that “smells nice”.

Have you ever noticed when you wash your hands or face with commercial soap you skin can feel dry or tight? This is because the commercial manufacturers harvest the glycerin which occurs naturally as part of the soap making process. This glycerin is a natural humectant (in other words it pulls moisture to it) and is sold by the manufacturers to other companies for use in beauty products, food products and more.

Essentially for them the glycerin is the key product and the soap is almost a bonus item by-product. The removal of the glycerin means that the commercial soap is lacking an important aspect leaving it drying on skin and creating the opportunity for a certain “big brand” manufacturer to promote the addition of 1/4 moisturizer in their bars.

In actual fact, handmade soap retains its natural glycerin content meaning that it is much more gentle on your skin  and you should notice a real difference after use. Plus, it doesn’t need the addition of any other moisturizing ingredients.

How Do I Care For Handmade Soap?

Because of the high glycerin content in both our cold process and melt & pour soaps, you need to keep your soap dry when its not in use!

Try to choose something practical like a nice wooden soap dish with a slatted base which will allow your soap to dry out between uses. If it is allowed to sit in a soap dish that doesn’t have drainage, the water left in the dish will just dissolve the glycerin in the soap turning it to mush – still perfectly OK to use but not very pretty to look at in your bathroom!

In a moist/humid atmosphere melt and pour soap, due to its very high glycerin content, can sometimes develop a beading of moisture, a “dew” on the surface of the bar. Again, this is just moisture and perfectly safe, its just not very pretty to look at.

So, What’s In Our Soap?

Our basic soap recipe contains  olive oil, coconut oil, water, shea butter, sodium hydroxide, castor oil, and cocoa butter.  We use this recipe across all our soaps and just add different butters, fragrances, colors and botanicals to achieve the finished bar.

Until recently we used palm oil as a hardening agent in our recipes, but in an effort to keep our products eco-friendly and sustainable and, due to concerns about the increasing decimation of forests in the Asia Pacific regions leading to loss of habitats for many already endangered animals, we are switching to this all-palm-free recipe and all our new soaps are now being made “palm-free”.

We use the cold process method of making soap which takes a little longer as it needs to “cure” for around 4-6 weeks. We also use a melt and pour base for our novelty soaps; this has a high glycerin content but has already been through the saponification process and is ready to use straightaway – no need for a cure time. Plus it is easier to work with and takes colors better which means we can create some fun novelties with it.

For our artisan soaps we use natural essential oils, or phthalate-free fragrance oils  and colors. Wherever possible we use naturally occurring colors such as micas and oxides or even natural colorants such as beetroot powder. All our soaps would be suitable for vegetarians and most would even be suitable for vegans except for our Goat’s Milk or Honey varieties.

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