Posted by Soap, fairies, and everything in between , 20 September 2012 9:08:00 pm
It struck me yesterday that whilst I may post pictures of my soaps on various social media websites, I haven’t ever explained how they’re made and what ingredients go into making them.
I forget that just because I understand the process, it doesn’t mean everyone else does!
I use the cold process method of soap making, which means I take my plant oils and butters(no animal products such as lanolin are used), combine them with my lye solution(I’ll come back to this shortly), and once combined, the saponification process(the chemical act of oil turning into soap) takes place, et voila, we have soap.
Our oils are chosen carefully, each included for what it can impart to the resultant soap. For instance, olive oil is incredibly kind to the skin, whilst coconut oil contributes to the hardness of the bar as well as helping produce lots of bubbly lather.
There are a number of additives, both natural and synthetic you can add(I choose to use all natural additives bar the odd bit of sparkle here and there), but for the purposes of this post I’ll stick with describing the basics.
If anyone is interested in wanting to know more about the additives I use, I’ll do a separate post at a later date.
Now, I mentioned lye.
Lye = alkali = caustic soda. Without caustic soda, we have no soap. That’s a simple fact. Once the saponification process is complete, there is no lye left in the soap. That’s another fact. All the lye is used up turning oil into soap.
Oils/butters + lye solution(lye+water) = soap + glycerine.
Glycerine is humectant, meaning it draws moisture to the skin. It is a natural by-product of the soap making process. We leave our glycerine where it is, commercial detergent bar makers remove the glycerine from their bars and sell it on.
To make our soap extra special, we superfat.
Superfatting is adding in more oil than is required to have a complete 1:1 reaction with the lye in a batch of cold process soap. The small amount of extra oil left over in the soap adds extra moisturizing qualities to the soap.
After our soap is made, it needs to cure for a minimum of 4 weeks. During this time, the saponification process does it's thing, the excess water evaporates and the bar becomes harder and denser, ready for being sold, and hopefully enjoyed.
All our soap bars are suitable for vegetarians, most will be suitable for vegans too.
And, aside from the aforementioned additional ingredients, that’s about it.
If there’s anything else you want to know, either leave a comment here on the blog, or contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.