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A deep musk with light floral notes and a touch of sandalwood and patchouli. *Contains activated charcoal.
Dead Sea Mud Scrub
Musky earthy fragrance with amber and green basenotes. Contains activated charcoal, sea salt, and various clays as exfoliants.
Lily, lilac, rose, hyacinth and about a dozen other florals are packed into this one!
A deep musk with light floral notes and a touch of sandalwood and patchouli. *Contains activated charcoal.
One of our top selling fragrances! Roasted almonds with wild cherries. Contains ground oatmeal as an exfoliant.
Butt Naked Scrub
Fruity explosion! Apple, pear, orange, and other fruits mixed with a light coconut fragrance. Contains sea salt as an exfoliant.
Natural undiluted sandalwood. Nothing but the purest fragrance. Very earthy and woodsy.
Lavender fragrance blended with sweet peppermint oil. Great for aromatherapy.
Sweet and fruity. Pomegranate, cherry, and about a dozen other fruits. Very Strong!
After testing dozens of lavender fragrances this is the best we have came across! Straight lavender floral goodness.
Very strong and clean scent. Sage and other mild greens. Contains sea salt, peppermint leaves, and ground oatmeal as exfoliants.
Moonlight & Roses Scrub
Fresh hydrangea flowers mixed with rose fragrance. One of our favorites! Contains sea salt, ground oatmeal and rose petals.
Mens type fragrance. Smells like a sporty cologne. Something you'd expect from an Axe Shower Gel.
Black Raspberry Vanilla
One of our favorites, black raspberries blended with vanilla beans. Once you smell it you'll be in love.
Asian Tea Blossom
Sweet tea and herbs with light notes of berries and other fruits. Very unique fragrance.
Mostly sweet orange and plumeria with patchouli, amber, vanilla, and about a dozen other fragrances. *Contains activated charcoal as an exfoliant.
Our favorite pure mango fragrance with hints of papaya to give it a kick. Contains ground orange peel as an exfoliant.
Pine and orange fragrances with actual pine tar. Contains silica sand, activated charcoal, &ground oatmeal as exfoliants.
Our take on the traditional African shea soap. Oakmoss and Aloe top notes with light floral undertones. Contains activated charcoal. Top Seller!
Oatmeal Milk & Honey
After years of testing different scents we believe we have the best Oatmeal Milk & Honey on the planet. Contains ground oatmeal as an exfoliant.
One of our personal favorites. A sharp woodsy floral. Almost perfume like but we would consider ours a nice unisex fragrance. Contains sea salt and ground oatmeal as exfoliants.
Handmade cold-processed soap is an ideal project you can carry out at home. It is usually colored with botanical elements and scented with essential oils to make it look like it just came from an artist's gallery. The good thing about these soaps is that they are gentle on sensitive skin because they lack additives that are harmful to the human body. Although there are many methods of making soaps, the cold-process is an art of making healthy soaps that were passed down over generations to the creative designs we see today.
People are turning into more natural alternatives as they become more aware of the long-term effects of the antibacterial soaps. Have you ever asked yourself when the first cold processed soap was made? And who were the people behind this skillful art? In this article, we give a comprehensive guide of how the handmade cold processed soaps came into existence. We will also discuss the process of making the handmade cold processed soaps and later look into the benefits of olive oil for skin, and saponification.
A Brief History of Cold Processed Soap Making
The first solid evidence of soap-like substance dates back to around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon. The Word ‘soap' was derived from the Latin word ‘Sapo', which acquired its name from Mount Sapo in Rome. Animal and plant fat was combined with wood ashes to produce a substance that could be used as a detergent. This means that Babylonians were the first people to master the art of making soaps using natural ingredients. These soaps were used in cleaning cotton and wool that was used in the textile industry for more than 5000 years.
According to The Ebers papyrus, that traces its origin in 1550 BC in Egypt, the ancient Egyptians produced a soap-like substance by mixing vegetable and animal oils with alkaline salts. The Early Romans had a different take as they made the soap from urine. Phoenicians, on the other hand, would use wood ashes and goat's tallow to create soap as described by Pliny the Elder in 600BC. Looking at this trend, all of them made soap by mixing salts, fats, and oils.
The only difference between the soaps that were made in the ancient times is that they were used for cleaning cooking utensils rather than bathing and personal hygiene. Some also used the soaps for medicinal purposes the fact that they were purely made from natural components.
Small groups of soap makers used an exclusive technique in the early beginnings of soap making. This led to a high demand for soap causing a monopoly in many areas because the production of soaps was so expensive. Soap recipes became widely known over time but many still found it costly to come up with a product of their own. The main ingredients of soap back then were vegetable oils, animal oils, and plant byproducts.
LeBlanc, a Frenchman, discovered a chemical process in 1791 that led to the reduction of soap prices. Another Frenchman identified a correlation between fats, acid, and glycerin 20 years later which marked the beginning of the modern way of soap making.
Further Advancements in the Soap Industry
The science of chemistry led to further advancements in the soap industry because many people had understood the ingredients and formula used in making natural soaps. The laundry soap became a separate commodity from the bathing soap. Milder soaps were converted into personal use and they could be packaged before being sold.
A new era came in the 1970s which saw the invention of liquid hand soaps. Although they performed the same function as the bar soaps, they could be used in cleaning different items and surfaces. Today, we have a variety of soaps with different scents and color that were made for different purposes. The ‘cold-processed method' is the most common process of soap making used today.
It differs from the commercial product as it is technically glycerin soap. An excess amount of fat is used to absorb the alkali when using the handmade soap technique to ensure that glycerin is not removed from its composition. This produces a super-fatted soap that is considered more skin-friendly compared to the commercial soap.
Basic Terms in Cold Processed soap making
This is the process where the lye solutions and oils are combined together to avoid separating from each other.
Trace is the point where the lye water and oils have emulsified before they start thickening. Over time, the soap continues to thicken once it reaches a thin trace.
Saponification is the chemical reaction that normally occurs when the lye molecules and oils generate new soap molecules.
In cold process soaps, the ‘gel phasing' or ‘gelling' relates to a part of the soap making process where the soap becomes gelatinous and warm until 180 degrees. The gel phase usually leads to brighter colors that have a more translucent appearance.
Soda Ash is created through the reaction of naturally occurring carbon dioxide in the air and unsaponified lye. This makes the top of the soap have an ‘ashy' appearance.
The production of cold processed soaps usually involves oil molecules being transformed into soap molecules by the lye. The super-fat refers to any extra oil in the soap that has not been attacked by the lye.
The fatty acids are basically carboxylic acids that consist of a carboxyl group at one end and a long chain of hydrocarbon on the other end. They are an essential component of animals, plants and other microorganisms.
Saturated fatty acids are the carbon single bonds contained in the fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids comprise more than one double bond between the carbon atoms.
The Chemistry behind Making Cold Processed Soap
Soap has many uses ranging from laundry to personal use and has the ability to be produced in different varieties if its detailed process is done correctly. The advancement in the soap industry has led to the emergence of several processes that can be used to come up with the best cold processed soaps. As we mentioned earlier, the cold making process is the art of mixing fixed oils with an alkali resulting to saponification.
Some common examples of the fixed oils include Olive oil, Palm oil, and Coconut oil. Sodium hydroxide or Lye are the popular forms of alkali used in the process. Saponification occurs when lye facilitates a change in the composition of the oils, creating a bar of soap. Making a soap using the cold process yields products that are long lasting which implies that they can be used for an extended duration when compared to the ordinary soaps.
The Basic Cold Process Recipe
We have given a basic cold process recipe comprising of olive oil (44%), palm oil (32%), and coconut oil (24%). These are some of the most popular oils used in cold processed soap and olive oil forms a bigger percentage in the formula because of its rich benefits in the body. Both palm oil and coconut oil adds more firmness to the soap while the olive oil creates a creamy and mild lather. The Coconut oil gives a larger lather to the soap and is very cleansing in nature.
The reason why olive oil was increased in the mixture is to make the bars gentler during use. Other ingredients include 11.2 oz. distilled water, and 4.8 oz. lye.
You need to determine the number of fats or oils you are going to use before beginning the process. This determines the soap you will produce as the end product. For instance, do you want to make several pounds of soap that will be used to create a few bars of soap or are you just looking to make a single bar of soap?
The ultimate key to the type of soap you want to make relates to the type of fats or oils you include your recipe. The fatty acid molecules represent chains and a cold processed soap is determined by the structure and length of the chain. Long and saturated fatty acid chains often maintain their solid state at higher temperatures because they have a stronger bond when combined together.
The shorter chains are usually unsaturated which implies that they have double carbon bonds that cause their structure to bend. They can be easily separated at lower temperatures because they lack very strong bonds. Olive Oil is a monounsaturated chain which means that it will make the soap become softer compared to other oils.
It is essential to calculate the amount of lye required to react with fats completely. The saponification value of fats per gram that you use will ensure the success of the procedure. The saponification value is the number of milligrams of lye that can react with a single gram of your fats or oil.
Lye was originally used to make melt and pour soap bases. Most of the natural handmade soaps are usually super-fatted. This implies that the extra fat has been worked into the recipe to prevent any traces of lye from remaining. In turn, this ensures that the bar of soap is moisturizing and the best rule is to super-fat by at least 5%. People who are thinking about making soap would find lye to be one of the greatest deterrents in their process of soap making.
Lye is also referred to as potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide and is used to create soap when the mixed with the oils in a proper ratio. During the saponification process, Lye breaks the triglyceride apart from the glycerol ions. The soap molecules are formed through the combination of sodium ions. The saponification process produces compounds referred to as surfactants.
Non-polar hydrocarbon chains are contained in soaps and other emulsifying substances that repel water and they also have an end which is regarded as polar. This causes the polar end of the molecule to dissolve leaving behind the non-polar end. Micelles are the key to making soap work as they are created in the process of dissolving in water. Grime and grease are trapped by micelles before their particles are broken and dissolve as they are all non-polar.
What You Should Do Before Soap Making
Prepare your mold
Following the quantities that have been given in the above recipe, we can use a box to represent a mold by lining with a freezer paper. The reason why most people prefer the freezer paper is that it is durable, heavy duty and contains one shiny side. The one side that is shiny needs to be placed facing up. Make adjustments in the interior dimensions to 11" x 8 ½" x 5 ½".
Set up your area
The next thing you need to do is to prepare your soaping area before you begin the process. It would be tedious running around the room for a whisk or a spatula in the middle of the soaping process. The tools used in this recipe are very minimal because it doesn't have any complicated designs. However, you will require a fully lined mold, a spatula, a stick blender, pre-mixed oils, and lye water.
Suit up with safety gear
It is important to suit up in order to guarantee safe handling practices. This involves putting on gloves, long sleeves and goggles. Make sure that no pets, kids, tripping hazards or other distractions are around the house. Keep your soaping area well ventilated to ensure free circulation of air within the room.
A Step By Step Procedure of Making Handmade Cold Processed Soaps
Here is a comprehensive guide to how you can make a cold processed soap using olive oil. We have also described more about the chemistry involved in this kind of artistry.
Add the lye to the water slowly and carefully and then stir it gently until the lye dissolves fully and the liquid becomes clear. Place it aside to allow some time for cooling.
Combine the olive oil, coconut oil, and palm oil – Before portioning, ensure that your entire palm oil container is fully melted before mixing. Allow the oils and lye water to cool at 130 °F or less at 120 °F.
You can also add sodium lactate to the lye water after cooling if you want to achieve a harder bar of soap that can be released quickly from the mold. For this recipe, you can choose to add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate.
Dip your stick blender into the mixture and gently tap the blender on the bowl bottom several times so as to releases any trapped bubbles caused by the stick blender head.
Pour the cooled lye water gently down the stick blender's shaft into the oils once the bubbles stop ascending to the surface of the oil mixture.
Switch on the stick blender and then pulse several times for results. The oils and lye will start coming together to creating a creamy yellow color. Test for trace after 30 seconds elapses. The recipe will stay at a thin trace longer than other recipes with fast-moving oils e.g. butter because our recipe comprises a larger portion of olive oil. Continue stirring and pulsing with the stick blender because this recipe doesn't need fragrance or color.
The soap can start lightening in color the more you continue pulsing and stirring with the stick blender. It also becomes thicker, forming a medium trace. The soap is usually thick enough to provide support to the drops and trailing on the surface. This is a great consistency because it is slightly thinner than pudding.
Pour all your soap into the mold once it has reached the medium trace. You can also scrape the sides of your bowl to ensure that every last bit of the soap goes into the mold.
Tap the box on the counter firmly once the soap has been poured into the mold. It ensures that bubbles within the soap rise to the surface. This is the right time to confirm whether you still have your goggles because some bits of soap may jump into your eyes. Use 99% isopropyl to spray the top of the soap to prevent the formation of soda ash.
The soap can be allowed to sit for 3 to 4 days in the mold before uncovered and cut into bars. This is not the end because the soap should be allowed to cure for about 4 to 6 weeks. At this point, water evaporates from the soap increasing its firmness making it last longer when in use.
We have just highlighted a basic procedure of making a simple cold processed soap. However, you can also add some optional ingredients to customize your soap recipe. If you want to give your soap a lovely scent then adding essential oils after trace can be one of the best natural options to consider.
Other people use Clays to make the soap silkier making it good for shaving purposes. Sea salt soap is detoxifying and exfoliating (Never use dead-sea salt in your recipe). Give a nice texture to your natural soap by adding oatmeal, ground coffee and other botanicals such as dried lavender flowers. For those who prefer a natural colorant, try adding cocoa powder, mica powder, spirulina or turmeric.
You can go ahead experimenting with alternate liquids such as herbal tea, or goat milk as you continue to learn more about the cold method of processing soap.
The Benefits of Olive Oil for Skin and Saponification
Olive Oils are considered to be the widely consumed products in the Mediterranean countries. A lot of research has been done on the use of olive oils in handmade cold processed soaps and the results indicate a lot of health benefits associated with this natural product. Some of the major advantages of olive oil used in cold processed soaps include;
Olive oil contains moisturizing properties that are said to be great for the skin and hair. When used in handmade soap, it ensures that all the natural oils found on your skin are not stripped away from the body and doesn't also clog your pores. In turn, your skin can sweat and shed cells without suffering any irritation. Another benefit is that olive oil is hypoallergenic meaning that it doesn't cause dryness or skin problems after use. This helps your skin retain moisture for a long period of time.
The Oleocanthal is a phenolic compound found in olive oil that contributes largely to your general health because of its inflammatory properties. It has properties similar to ibuprofen and it is a compound that cannot be found in any other vegetable oils. Chronic inflammation is likely to have negative side effects on health and are connected to degenerative diseases such as arthritis, cancer, and cardiovascular complications. Olive oil has a unique phenolic compound that is anti-inflammatory and can reduce the natural inflammatory response effects of the body. This helps minimize the risk related to health problems.
Several research indicates that individuals who consumed the Mediterranean diet were less likely to suffer from coronary problems because of high consumption of olive oil. People living in the Mediterranean countries have lower chances of experiencing obesity because consumption of olive oil promotes higher mortality rates and good health.
Rich in antioxidants
The powerful antioxidants contained in the natural soaps provide elasticity and nourishment to the skin. All these components are essential as they protect our cells from being damaged by free radicals. Antioxidants donate an electron that neutralizes free radicals thus protecting your tissues and cells from diseases. Olive oil cold processed soaps also have vitamin E which protects you from UV light and having wrinkles or fine lines.
The Major Differences between Olive Oil Soaps (Natural) and Commercial Soaps (Industrial)
Natural soap has several benefits when compared to the commercial soaps. Olive oil soap is regarded as an ancient form of cleansing, protecting and nourishing the skin from external toxins. The early Romans, Egyptians, and Grecians have used the olive oil soap for personal use and even with laundry. There is a significant difference between these two types of soaps. Below are some of the major advantages of the olive oil soap over the commercial or industrial manufactured soaps.
Level of hydration
The olive oil cold processed soap has the ability to cleanse the skin without extracting natural oils from it. Glycerin is the byproduct produced during the process of saponification. It is quite difficult for the commercial soaps to maintain the natural pH level of your skin because they have greater amounts of alkali. Most of the commercial soap companies sell the glycerin separately to maximize their product sales that come in form of body lotions.
Olive oil soaps are made from natural fats instead of animal fats such as lanolin or tallow. They are also 100% biodegradable because they are made from purely natural materials that are not harmful to the environment. The commercial soaps are made of chemicals such as phthalates, and parabens. All these are unnatural ingredients that cause a negative reaction when it comes in contact with the skin.
Parabens are chemical preservatives that replace the function of estrogen in your body. This leads to unbalanced levels of the hormone in the body because the parabens will have disrupted the endocrine system. Phthalates are dangerous solvents that negatively affect reproductive system of both men and women.
Olive oil soap is usually recommended for individuals with a sensitive skin. It has the ability to soothe rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. It is also gentle when used on newborn babies. Commercial soaps are artificially colored and scented with irritating ingredients that bring about allergies. Although the artificial fragrances used in commercial soaps smell nice, they often cause hormonal problems and allergies.
Olive oil cold processed soaps are hand-made with extreme love and care. Most of the natural soaps are usually manufactured by individuals who are passionate about their profession and value the health of other people. The commercial soaps are mass produced by multinational companies. The mass production results in larger amounts of degradation and environmental waste. The fact that they are made by machines rather than the human hand, they are definitely manufactured with the ultimate aim of maximizing sales.
The Significance of Saponification
It is not necessarily a must that you have to understand the chemistry behind soap making in order to make your own soap at home. Anyone can be the best soap maker as long as you grasp the concept of saponification. In simpler terms, saponification is the name given to the reaction that occurs between a base and an acid to form a salt. Using the cold process soap making method to make soap involves mixing fats or oils (acids) with the lye solution (base) to come up with a home-made cold processed soap (salt). Why is this process useful in soap making?
The reaction process of saponification is said to be exothermic in nature because there is some form of heat that is liberated during the process. The soap molecules that are formed remain in the form of a suspension. Adding common salt to the suspension makes the soap to be precipitated as a solid from the suspension. This process is referred to as ‘salting out of soap'.
The type of soap produced can be classified in two depending on the nature of alkali that was used in soap production. Hard soap is formed by the sodium salt of a long chain fatty acid. , on the other hand, produces more lather and is formed by the potassium salt of a long chain fatty acid. The number of ingredients used in the process of saponification will determine whether you have a hard soap or soft soap.
Soap Distinctions and Their Importance
The type of fats or oils used in the cold process method of making handmade soap will determine whether it will produce a soft or hard bar of soap. A bar of soap dissolves prematurely if it is too soft making it a mushy mess. That is the reason why most experts recommend that your soap should attain a certain level of hardness before soft oils are combined with hard oils.
It is important to understand that every soap has the ability to clean relatively well. However, some oils are likely to produce soaps that are harsher compared to others. Try combining oils that become mild when saponified with those that are harsher to create a smooth balance between the conditioning bar and cleansing.
The type of acid chosen determines whether you will produce a lather that is stable. Unlike others, stable lather is difficult to clean off but contains very little substance. Generally, you can produce both stability and fluffiness to the lather of your soap by combining the right ingredients.
The type of acid you choose will also determine whether you will produce a lather that is fluffy as the end product. A fluffy lather washes away easily but is a bit bubbly and thicker.
The ingredients used in making cold processed soap will determine how beneficial the soap will be to your skin. This often depends on the availability of nourishing vitamins, its moisturizing abilities, and mildness.
The Difference between Ancient Soaps and the Modern Cold Processed Soaps
Soap making used to be a utilitarian household chore prior to the modern soap making that we see today. They would make gel-like or soft soap that could be stored in a container or barrel and scooped out for use. Determining the strength of the homemade soap and lye was somehow difficult but times have changed. Nowadays, we can accurately determine the amount of lye needed for saponification of an oil or a mixture of oils. The cold processed soaps are super-fated which implies that there is some extra oil that remains unsaponified to give the soap the best conditioning properties. A well-made cold processed soap will do wonders for the skin because of the several benefits offered by the ingredients used in the process.