Hand crafted, cold processed soaps naturally moisturis and nourish the skin as they retain the glycerine produced naturally from the saponification process. Commercial manufacturers often replace the oils with petroleum distillates and remove the glycerine to use as a by product. It is replaced by detergents that have a high foaming action. Most commercial soaps and body washes on the market are more compositionally closer to washing up liquid, leaving the skin dry and irritated.
Cold processed soaps are made by mixing sodium hydroxide with fats such as oil and butters which causes a chemical reaction called saponification. The emulsifying reaction continues until all the fatty acids have reacted with the available alkali and then saponification is complete. It usually takes 24 to 48 hours to complete. Extra amounts of oils and fats are calculated into the recipe creating a gentle and moisturising soap, this is called super fatting.
The soap needs to cure over a period of time, usually 4 to 6 weeks; water evaporates out of the soap, during this time it will harden and then last much longer when being used and produce more lather. Soap with a high olive oil content will take longer to cure.
Palm free soaps start off softer but will harden over cure time.
To help your soap last longer, allow it to dry between uses. Use a well-draining soap dish, so that your soap doesn’t sit in water. Use 2 bars, so you can allow one to dry thoroughly whilst you use the second. Use a soap net, so the water drains off the soap whilst its hanging in the shower between uses.
Take care of your soap and your soap will take care of your skin.