The soap that I make on this site is made using a Cold Process.
Cold Process is a technique of soap-making where fixed oils are mixed with an alkali. The result is a chemical process called saponification. The alkali used is sodium hydroxide, or lye, which changes the composition of the oils when added. Once the lye and oils combine and emulsify, the saponification process begins. This process turns the lye and oil into soap.
Yes, I did say the soap is made with lye and no it’s not like Fight Club. I do, however, take careful precautions when working with lye. All of the soap I make is cured for about 4 weeks to ensure that it is ready for use. I also save at least one bar from each pour so I can test it on myself.
The benefits of handmade soap are endless but one big difference you'll notice is when naturally made, soap contains glycerin. Glycerin is a humectant that attracts moisture from the air to the skin and one of the best benefits to handmade soaps. Some commercial soaps remove the glycerin from the bars to make lotions and creams. This can add to already dry, eczema or acne prone skin. Learn more about glycerin here.
Common oils used are Olive, Coconut, Palm and Canola. These oils can be combined to make a balanced base for most soap but you can also make a bar that is purely one oil. The harder oils you add, coconut oil for instance, the harder the bar and vice versa. Each oil adds a different property to the bar.
I enjoy using different oils in order to assist with different skin treatments. Hemp oil is rich in vitamins A and E and is a helpful treatment for psoriasis and eczema. Mango Butter is helpful in keeping your skin soft and moisturized. Tamanu Oil benefits include reducing stretch marks, age spots, and as an ingredient in making good skin products for oily skin.
I do not use any artificial colorants or scents in my soaps. What I do use is essential oils, like Lavender, Orange and Tea Tree. A majority of these oils are also made using a Cold Pressed process so that they retain a lot of their healing properties. I enjoy doing my research too! I am always looking for new ideas and love learning about the different essential oils and ways they are good for you. If you would like to learn more about the ingredients I use and what they are good for, please check out my Blog.
If you are interested in making your own soap, there is a ton of great info on the internet. Please make sure you do your research and use safety precautions when using sodium hydroxide. I learned how to make cold process soap with expert soap maker, Soap Queen! She has lots of articles and videos to help you get started. As well as many other products you can make at home, including lip balm, bath bombs, lotion, sugar scrubs, etc.
If I've inspired you to make something, please share it! Or if you are interested in networking, let me know! I would be happy to promote any fellow maker.