All soap, even handmade soap, is made with lye. No lye, no soap!
Soap is made by combining fats and oils with lye. Lye is also known as sodium hydroxide. If you’ve ever used lye to unclog a drain, that’s exactly what is used to make soap.
Our ancestors used wood ash to make potassium hydroxide lye for soap making by percolating rainwater through a barrel of ash from a wood fire. This was a very inexact science, and so the soap was often very harsh.
These days we can buy very pure sodium hydroxide lye and weigh it out to make sure we use exactly the right amount in our soap. Sometimes, we will actually use a little less lye than is really needed, to make sure that the soap has extra fat (this is called superfatting). This means that handmade natural soaps are actually very gentle.
Handmade natural soap is completely different than commercial soap.
Commercial soap is made with cheap ingredients, and the glycerin that is formed when lye has reacted with fats is usually washed out of commercial soap to be sold separately. Glycerin is one of the constituents of handmade soap that make it so nourishing and gentle on your skin. It is important to skin care because it is a humectant. Humectants draw moisture from the air, which in turn moisturize your skin.
Commercial soap often contains synthetic detergents, called syndet bars. They are made from synthesized chemicals and are usually much harsher than soap. Detergents contain petroleum distillates rather than oil.
On the other hand, true soap is made from natural oils (such as olive, coconut and palm) and is a gentle cleansing product more appropriate for use on skin than the detergents and preservatives that can irritate your skin.
The very best reason to use handmade soap is the ingredients. Handmade soap is usually made of base oils like Olive, Palm & Coconut and/or butters like Shea that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that are essential to healthy skin. Many of our customers have told us that our handmade soap has not only improved their skin, but changed their lives by relieving them of itchiness, dryness and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. We will not make any medical claims that everyone will receive these same or similar results, but you can consider it a bonus if you do. Real Soap is soap made from ingredients that are natural and bring nourishment to your skin. Don’t you like it better when you can read, pronounce and understand the ingredients label?
Handmade soap will need to cure after it is made
After we make a batch of soap, it needs to cure for 4-6 weeks, depending on the weather (temperature and humidity). A loaf of soap is usually cut about 24 hours after it is made and then placed on racks to harden. It is still a little bit soft and sticky at that time. After a couple of days it hardens enough that it can be stored in labeled cardboard boxes. Over this time it continues to lose moisture and harden. The longer soap is allowed to cure, the longer it will last when you start to use it. When you receive a bar of handmade soap, you can prolong its life by making sure to either keep it in a draining soap dish or a soap saver pouch that you can put the bar into and hang it up in the shower out of the flow of water.
Avoid beauty bars and cleansing bars. Choose real soap. Choose to treat your body like the temple it is