Our first handmade soap, the Tipsy Toucan just landed in our store! Therefore I thought that it might be a good idea to tell you one or two things about soapmaking. In further posts I will discuss other questions about techniques, fun-facts, infos about our products, or I will simply answer any questions you have. But now let’s stick to soapmaking.
Our First Soap – Tipsy Toucan – Irish Stout Beer Soap
Is it possible to make soap without lye?
How do we make our soaps at Soft Paws Cosmetics?
How to take care of your new handmade soap?
These are the questions I would like to answer in my first post.
This is a frequently asked question when it comes to soapmaking and I will not lie to you: No, I cannot. Eventually, no one can because lye is one of the crucial ingredients in soaps. If you hear lye or sodium-hydroxide you might ask yourself: “Why would I put something dangerous like this on my skin?” The answer is rather simple. Although it is necessary to add lye to the chosen oils to make soap, there is no actual lye left in the final soap you will use.
To make hard handmade soap bars, you basically need 3 things: Sodium-Hydroxide, some kind of liquid (it can be water, milk, beer, almost anything you can imagine) and oil.
My favourite method of soap making is the Cold Process Method. In a nutshell, this means that I mix my Sodium-Hydroxide with some kind of liquid (for the sake of simplicity let’s say water), and after this boiling-hot solution of death and despair cooled to room temperature, I can add it to my oils. After quite a few pulses of a stick blender the oil turns cloudy and takes up a creamy-silky looking consistency.
This is when our mess ceases to be simply oil and lye and our soap comes into existence. In other words, this is the point, where saponification -the most important chemical reaction in soapmaking- starts. After this point, we can choose to simply pour it into a mold or make things a bit more interesting by adding colour, fragrance and-God forbid -swirls&curls.
Either way, we will be able to unmold and cut our soap after 1-2 days. Even though they look like ready-to-use, and we could be greatly tempted to try them straightaway, but this is not a good idea. Cold process soaps need to be cured for minimum 4-6 weeks before first use. In this period we store them in a cool, dry storeroom. The excess water from the bars evaporates and the lye-oil combo slowly turns into saponified oils and a whole lot of glycerin.
And finally, after roughly one month, the soaps are ready to head to their new loving home.
Tipsy Toucan – Irish Stout Beer Soap cutting
And this leads us to our final question: How to take care of your new soap? Why does it need extra care anyway?
Well, the fact that our soaps are naturally rich in glycerin is a double-edged sword. It is awesome because glycerin is a perfect moisturizer and softener for any skin type. On the other hand, being glycerin-enriched makes our soaps less durable when left in water. It happens because glycerin easily absorbs water, which causes the soap to melt.
So, what to do to be able to enjoy Soft Paws handmade soaps longer? You can easily prevent premature melting by keeping your new soap dry between uses. For this, I recommend you to use a well-draining soap-dish made of wood or metal.
I hope my brief summary could help you to get a better understanding of the process of crafting handmade soaps.
I hope you will enjoy our handmade soap range, which we will soon extend with more soaps of different scents and patterns.
If you have any further questions, just feel free to drop us a message, we are here to help!
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