- What is cold-process soap?
- Cold process soap is made by mixing sodium hydroxide (lye), oils/fats, and water. The chemical reaction that occurs is known as "saponification." The soap mixture is poured into a mold, cut (if necessary), and left to cure for several weeks. Hot process soap is made in a similar fashion but is cooked before molding to accelerate the saponification process. We prefer the texture and look of soap made using the cold process method. The Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild website has more information about soap making.
- What is the difference between detergent and soap?
- The terms "detergent" and "soap" are often used interchangeably because both serve the same general purpose. However, soap and detergent are derived from completely different ingredients and chemical processes. "Detergent" is typically used to describe a synthetic cleaning material, or a "non-soap surfactant", often derived from sulfuric acid and a fatty alcohol. "Soap", technically speaking, is a salt of a fatty acid and is obtained by combining oils/fats with an alkaline solution (i.e., sodium hydroxide and water). Many prefer hand-made soap over detergents or industrially-made soap because it contains naturally-occurring glycerin, which is moisturizing to the skin.
- How should I store the soap?
- The soaps come wrapped in dry wax paper and can be stored as such. Store in a dry area, away from excessive moisture. Once open, keep the soap on a dish/deck that allows for plenty of air circulation. This will help your soap last longer.
For a look at our cold process soap, visit our Soapy Soaps Etsy shop.
- What is sodium hydroxide?
- Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is a caustic metallic base, often referred to as "lye" or "caustic soda." When combined with oils/fats and water in the proper proportions, soap is made. As lye is a very caustic material, we take great care when developing our soap formulas and measuring the ingredients. Our soap recipes are formulated precisely using weights and, for accuracy purposes, we measure the ingredients to the gram.
- What are chromium oxide and colored mica?
- Chromium oxide is a cosmetic-grade, synthetic colorant that is often used to color soap. Mica is a cosmetic-grade mineral that is dyed in various shades and widely used in the cosmetic industry and in soap making. Both are considered skin-safe, but those with sensitive skin may prefer our soaps that are uncolored or colored with natural ingredients.
- Are the essential and fragrance oils skin-safe?
- The essential oils and fragrance oils used for our soaps are deemed skin-safe by our suppliers. However, those with sensitive skin could find them irritating. Be sure to review the ingredient list for the soap before ordering or contact us if you have any questions about the essential and fragrance oils used in a particular soap. We take custom orders as well and would be happy to create a custom soap for you that suits your skin type.
- Which oils are used in the base soap?
- Our base soap formula consists of coconut oil and a combination of vegetable oils (e.g., olive, soybean, sunflower, corn), and it is supplemented with a moisturizing oil that remains on the skin after using. For those familiar with soap-making terminology, we superfat our soaps at a level of 5% or more.
- What types of conditioning/moisturizing oils are used?
- Some of our favorite enriching oils include: sweet almond oil, kukui nut oil, cocoa butter, avocado oil, coconut oil, mango butter, and shea butter. Sweet almond oil has unsaturated trigycerides that are readily absorbed by the skin, without leaving a greasy residue. Native to Polynesian, the kukui nut contains oil with Vitamins A, C, and E, essential fatty acids, and is often used to treat skin disorders and sunburns. Cocoa butter is rich in Vitamin E, which supplies the skin with collagen, and has a pleasant scent that promotes relaxation. Avocado oil is known to have antioxidants (Vitamins A and E) that soothe and soften skin. Coconut oil protects and moisturizes the skin without clogging pores. Mango butter has emollient qualities and is used to help heal wounds and accelerate skin regeneration. From the karite nut tree, shea butter has been long used in West Africa for the skin and hair. It contains significant amounts of Lineoleic Acid and Vitamin E.
- Do you use animal products in the soap?
- We do not use ingredients that are directly derived from animals, such as lard or tallow. However, many of our soaps contain ingredients from animals, such as goat's milk, cow's milk, and beeswax.
- Can I use the soap on my face?
- Yes! Our soaps are very mild and enriched with oils that promote healthy skin. However, some of our soaps may contain ingredients that could be irritating to sensitive skin (cinnamon or nut oils, for example). Be sure to review the ingredient list for the soap and please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns. You can find our available face soaps in the Specialty Collection section of our etsy shop.
- Which soap is best for infants or sensitive skin?
- Our soaps are all mild and gentle on the skin, and are fortified with oils to prevent drying out the skin. For infants and those with sensitive skin, choose soaps that contain little or no scents and colorants. As with all soap, keep soap and lather away from the eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that this information is helpful to you. Please contact us if you have additional questions or would like more information about our soap.
What is cold-process soap?
What is the difference between detergent and soap?
How should I store the soap?
What is sodium hydroxide?
What are chromium oxide and colored mica?
Are the essential and fragrance oils skin-safe?
Which oils are used in the base soap?
What types of conditioning/moisturizing oils are used?
Do you use animal products in the soap?
Can I use the soap on my face?
Which soap is best for infants or sensitive skin?