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Some facts about handmade soap

Handmade Soap

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

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How we make our Soap

Making soap is not for everyone, but most everyone can certainly do it. We start by buying premium Food-Grade oils such as Coconut and Olive oil and quality Sodium Hydroxide, Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils.. We also use quality, sustainable Palm oil., rich Mango Butters, Sweet Almond oil and Castor oil.

The most important step is safety. We put on our gloves and eye protection when we use Lye (Sodium Hydroxide). We carefully measure out how much lye we need into a glass container. Right down to the gram! We then measure out distilled water into a separate container, then slowly add the lye to the water. NEVER ADD WATER TO THE LYE! Once the water and lye have been combined, the fumes may be overpowering. You will also notice that the mixture is super hot. Do not touch the lye solution or let any children or pets near it as it can and will cause severe burns in this state.

We then measure out how much of each oils we use into a large pot, and melt them down over a low heat. This helps to incorporate the soft oils (olive, sweet almond, and castor) into the hard oils and butters (coconut,palm, and mango butter). Once cool enough to work with, we transfer the oils into our mixing container.

After both the lye solution and the oils come down in temperature (around 100 degrees F each), we slowly add the Lye solution to the oils. Using a stick blender, we combine the oils and lye solution until we reach emulsification. Continuing to blend will result in various stages of trace. Trace is when your soap mixture (batter) starts to thicken and resemble pudding.

Once our mixture is emulsified, we normally separate some of the batter and add in our other ingredients like coloring and essential oils or fragrance oils. At this time, we will continue blending to reach trace, depending on which mold we are using or which design we are trying to achieve.

Once all of the ingredients have been mixed and we have trace, we will simply pour into the mold(s). This can also be done a variety of ways. You can pour from each container, or pour one container into the other for an In the Pot Swirl. However you wish to do this step is OK and simply a personal preference.

After the batter has been poured into the mold(s), the next step can be the hardest for many. We wait. The batter must sit for about 24 -36 hours before it can be unmolded. This also allows for the saponification process to happen. Saponification is where the chemical reaction of the oils remove all traces of lye, making the bars of soap safe to use. YOU CANNOT HAVE SOAP WITHOUT LYE. Once unmolded, we place on our multi-bar cutter and slice into bars.

The soap can be used immediately, but be warned, it will not last as it is still too soft. The soap should go through a curing phase for about 4-6 weeks. This helps the bars dry out and become hard, resulting in a long lasting bar of soap.

After the bars have set for 4-6 weeks, we begin packaging. We either place the bar in a soap box, or band them if we have added things like “frosting” to the top. Obviously, these will not fit into a soap box.

At this point, our handcrafted soap is ready for market.

We hope you found this informative and fun to read.



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Top 3 HACKS to save your soap

We have all been there. Ready for a shower only to find a pile of mush in the soap dish. Keeping your soap ready for the next go-round is as easy as, well, washing your hands.

1: Keep the soap dry when not in use.

Water and soap do not mix. Well, they do, but when mixed they produce a rich lather to help get you clean. Soap sitting . in water will soften and turn to mush over time. Keep you soap dry by using a soap dish that will not retain water.

2: Use a loofah or a washcloth

Your hands are not designed to produce and retain lather.  It’s just the way it is.  So then, why do we keep trying to use them, over and over, to no avail?Using a washcloth or a loofah, you  get  it soapy once with a couple good rubs of the bar, and then you are ready to lather up.  The washcloth or loofah will retain the lather so you can get clean, plus the loofah or washcloth with offer some exfoliation.

3: Use a Soap Saver bag

These nifty bags hold your soap, offer exfoliation, and saves your soap from the mushy mess of sitting in a wet soap tray. Simply inset your favorite bar of soap, use, and hand on the shower head when done. Keeping this bag hung up will allow it to completely dry, saving your soap.


Following these simple tricks to save your soap will save you time and money.

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Bellas Bath Garden LLC

We have been busy at Bellas Bath Garden. We are now a legal entity, Bellas Bath Garden LLC, and we are insured for your protection.
While many homemade, handmade products are created and sold under a person’s name, we wanted to make sure you are protected and we want you to trust us for all future needs. If anyone has bought business insurance or has incorporated an LLC, you know these expenses were not cheap. We are investing in ourselves to invest in you.

Why did we incorporate?

We incorporated so we could become a legal organization, we pay taxes and contribute to the welfare of all involved. While we could have continued selling under our own name, we wanted to make sure that we were putting our customers first. Buying from a business vs buying from a person feels the same to the consumer, but allows us, as a registered entity, to play a vital role in our economy by paying taxes and reporting revenue.

Why did we add insurance?

This was a logical decision. Having insurance protects our customers as well as protects us. Having insurance also allows us to sell our products at many of the larger markets and venues around us. We want you to be confident when you purchase from us.


While these expenses may seem unnecessary to many vendors and home businesses, we cannot stress enough how this move was to protect our customers, contribute to our economy, and move forward to bigger things.

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December 2018 Donation

December was kind of slow, but we expect this as we find our niche.
We had a total of 111.50 in sales.

We have set up a DIY Fundraising Campaign at the National MS Society to help keep track of our transparency. You can click the link to make a donation as well.

Donation Information


Donation Date: 1/7/19

Donation Level: $12.00

Tracking Code: 1638-45485-1-20618484-21933760

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November 2018 Donation

Our inaugural month was really awesome. We did not expect to make any sales as we have just started.
We had $48.00 in sales for November 2018.

Here is the receipt from the National MS Society.

The National MS Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your generous financial donation.

Contact Information

Suzanne Gatlin

32615 N North Valley Parkway
Apartment 180
Phoenix, AZ 85085
United States

Email Address:
[email protected]

Donation Information
Donation Date:

Donation Level:

Tracking Code:

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Benefits of Black Activated Charcoal Soap

While Bella’a Bath Garden does not make any claims about the use of our products, there are some scientific studies available for a variety of ingredients we use. We use a variety of natural ingredients to bring you the best products for personal use.

Let’s talk about Black Activated Charcoal.

Did you know that ancient Egyptians used charcoal to clean wounds after a battle? Or that Hindu’s use charcoal as a water filtration? This is where we get the modern water filtration system from. It was also discovered in the 18th century to assist with the removal of toxins and to help cure people from various poisonous bites (such as spider and scorpion bites) and was also used in gas-masks during WW1 to protect soldiers from chemical warfare.

According to Medical News Today, Activated Charcoal is used in emergency rooms to treat drug overdose and poison control in patients. “Researchers have reported that activated charcoal can help draw microparticles, such as dirt, dust, chemicals, toxins, and bacteria, to the surface of the skin, to make removing them easier.”

Black Activated Charcoal has also been used as a natural deodorant as it can absorb smells and gases produced by the body so you can rest assured it will do good for you in the shower or bath.

Yes, charcoal has had many uses over the last couple thousand years, each of them as effective as the one before. This is because charcoal binds to toxins and can absorb thousands of times its own weight.

Black Activated Charcoal has many benefits many may not know about.

Such as:

  • Treating oily skin
  • Removing dead cells from you skin
  • Treatment for acne
  • Helps eliminate wrinkles
  • Removes toxins and impurities
  • Perfect for all skin types and colors
  • Tighten and firm skin quickly
  • Helps treat psoriasis and eczema
  • Reduces pore size
  • Treats dandruff (as a shampoo)