REAL SOAP

Posted by Tricia on 2 October 2011 | 6 Comments

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I've been experimenting with making soaps for about 6 months now and I'm hooked. Once you use a quality hand-made soap, one that is rich with vegetable oils and divinely scented with pure essential oils you'll never go back. I've narrowed down the first soaps I'll soon have up on the web-site shop.  All my soaps are made using differing combinations of olive oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, jojoba oil and rice bran oil. My Pink soap in addition contains soft pink clay as well as patchouilli and clary sage essential oils for fragrance. The Yellow soap is scented with lemongrass, lemon and rosemary essential oils and natural beeswax. A Lavender soap is of course scented with essential lavender oil and scattered through with lavender seed heads as well as blended with honey. The Green soap is scented with essential oils of tea tree and rosemary, strengthened with a fresh manuka and kawakawa tea and kelp granules. I've also created a Shampoo bar, classically scented with rosemary, cedarwood and lemon essential oils. Adding extra hair and scalp conditioning elements with a strong infusion of fresh rosemary and nettle gathered from my garden. The possibilities seem endless, and I'm only beginning. The process itself is very creative but also requires strict discipline and care. For more details read the full post.

                       Batches of my hand-made soap curing

SOAP: A substance formed by the combination of certain oils and fats with alkaline bases, and used for washing or cleaning purposes. This is the definition of soap given by the Oxford English Dictionary. This means that soap is created by a very specific chemical reaction. One between an alkali and various fatty acids. This reaction is called saponification. It's pretty technical when you try to describe it as a chemical reaction, you have fatty acids, triglycerides, alkali's and glycerol molecules. Simply put you have a strong alkali (sodium hydroxide/caustic soda) which you bring together with fatty acids (animal fats or vegetable oils/butters). This combining of molecules creates soap (chemically classified as a salt) with freed up and available glycerol molecules (glycerin). The soap is then left to cure. This can take between weeks and months. Curing is often dependent on the oils that are used. For example pure olive oil soaps should be cured for at least 8 weeks. 

THE not so subtle DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GENUINE HANDMADE SOAPS, REGULAR COMMERCIAL AND COMMERCIALLY-MADE 'NATURAL' SOAPS.

For most people with sensitive skin or skin conditions such as dermatis, eczema or psoriasis 'soap' is a no no. Soap has such a bad name these days. Women are advised never to use it to clean their face as it is particulary drying and depleteing. We can purchase 'simple' soaps for sensitives and babies. You can get cheapish 'natural' soaps from health stores. But unless you are choosing something hand-made you are not really buying soap at all. You are purchasing a soap-like product, that seems to clean the skin while leaving a residue of unwanted gifts. Profit margins  and mass-production are the main considerations within commercial manufacture. With this in mind ingredients are chosen for low cost rather than quality, purity, health-enhancing, eco-friendliness and sustainablity not to mention basic cleaning and conditioning capabilities. Most of the ingredients used in commercial operations are waste-products of the food industry, especially meat production. These low-grade products are manipulated and combined with a plethora of synthetic additives (usually petro-chemically derived)  to somehow create a product that resembles soap. Any glycerin is removed from the natural fats and oils and may be added later as a marketing point. The oils are "purified" in other words deprived of any of their natural goodies. So we have used the cheapest ingredients, deprived them of any health-supporting attributes they contained and now we add a whole lot of synthetic stuff to make it look like the real thing. Perfumes, colouring agents, lubricants, sudsing agents etc. and then we 'clean' orselves with this stuff once or twice a day, not to mention all the handwashing. 

In real soap making, the quantity and combination of oils and butters are carefully chosen and balanced to create a desired effect; hardness, cleansing, conditioning, lather and creaminess. Nothing extra is needed to create any of these atttributes. In a good hand-made soap, the glycerin is intact and available. The oils or fats may include olive oil, coconut oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil, almond oil, apricot kernel oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, castor oil or (organic) animal fats among others. In the choosing of quality ingredients soap-makers can not only make choices that enhance our health but also those that care for the environment.{ Many soap-makers are using palm oil and palm kernel oil for their soaps. Yes it makes fabulous soap, it's cheap and readily available, but I cannot bring myself to use it. The more demand there is for palm oil the more deforestation of our planet's precious tropical and subtropical rain-forests will occur.}

Fresh rosemary, kanuka and nettle for the shampoo bar.

The extras added during the soap making process are preferably pure essential oils (not parfum or fragrance) for scent. Clays and natural oxides for colour and/or softening or exfoliating effects. Natural beeswax for color and hardness. Herb teas, honey, milk, spices, flowers all can be added for their own special qualities. After manufacture the soap is left to cure. This can take months and a good hand-made soap will only improve over time. There is no use by date. Most hand-made soap makers will decrease the amount of alkali used so that there will always be an excess of unsaponified fatty acids left in the finished soap. Hence the skin softening effect of hand-made soaps. Real natural hand-made soaps don't cause any reactions in people with sensitive skin. Real soap isn't the problem, the problem is the commercially produced products that pass for soap. They are in effect just a fusion of mainly synthetic and altered substances that are known to dry and irritate skin. Our skin is our first barrier against the world, let's look after it, with a bit of natural hand-made care.

 

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Comments

  • To follow the above direction we can make Real Soap at home. It's easy to make at home which i felt after read the procedure of making it. I don't have practical experience which definitely slightly different. I must say to my wife to try it then see the output.

    Posted by uk essay help, 08/11/2016 9:38am (12 months ago)

  • nice sharing...

    Posted by Provillus for Women for Hair Fall, 30/06/2015 9:15pm (2 years ago)

  • I was gifted your shampoo and the pink soap for my birthday in September so have been using them since that time. The soap is a sumptuous luxury and the shampoo is really wonderful. I have only ever used natural shampoos, (Aubrey Kheills for ages now), and even compared to them my hair feels and looks so much better. It's really soft and full and oh yeah!...Clean!
    I've just ordered up a bunch of it for my lucky sisters for Xmas. Thank You Trisha!!
    Keep working your alchemy.

    Posted by J.S. in Northland, 03/12/2012 3:00am (5 years ago)

  • Thank you lovely people. Can't wait to get them on the site! Getting a little logo sticker printed :)

    Posted by tricia, 07/10/2011 2:43am (6 years ago)

  • This is so exciting!! I've been looking for handmade "REAL" soaps - I'm overjoyed to see that you're going to start making/selling these too. I've just discovered you, thanks to a friend, and I'm really impressed with the ethos behind your products, not to mention the products themselves. I cant WAIT to try the soaps!

    Posted by Jeannie Baskeyfield, 04/10/2011 6:17pm (6 years ago)

  • I completely agree! I make my own soap as well, and I love being able to control what goes into it. I've been on an all-natural soap & shampoo "diet" for months now, and I've definitely noticed my skin is happier.

    Posted by Marie Rayma, 04/10/2011 4:57pm (6 years ago)

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