Soap creates an environment in which water and oil can mix. It is an emulsifier and a surfactant. Through emulsifying oil and water together - the soap once applied to the skin - when rinsed - leaves clean skin. In soap-making, a combination of base oils, such as coconut, olive or avocado oil, is mixed with a lye (Sodium Hydroxide) solution. The chemical reaction - saponification occurs. After saponification, we are left with completely new substance, SOAP! Soap is make up of the salts of fatty acids, natural glycerin, and because we superset our soap, a bit of the unsaponified oils remain - leaving our soap emollient and conditioning. There is no lye left in the finished product. All SOAP is made with Lye.
We prefer to use only natural occurring scents - i.e. essential oils and botanicals/herbs. But we want to provide a bit of education about fragrance oils - through research and training. Fragrance oils are made from synthetic components or a mix of synthetic components and natural essential oils. Fragrance oils can mimic many of the natural occurring scents found - but also leather, cherry, chocolate, etc.
Many of our Cold Processed Soaps are made in 2.5-5 pound handcrafted batches. With the growth and demand of our handcrafted soaps - we have invested in larger molds and equipment so now we can make in 35-40 pound batches. We make our soaps with natural ingredients in several varieties each designed to indulge your body. We make some unscented with no scents - just the natural smells of nature. We use natural colorants to further create a natural bar. Sodium hydroxide (Lye) and oils are used to create amazing naturally nourishing soap.
Why do Natural Soap Bars need to Cure?
We use fresh plant oils and butters gently warmed and then slowly mixed with an alkaline solution. The percentages of oils used are extremely important to produce a mild and gentle soap. Once the oils and alkali (base) have been mixed, we do not add additional heat to hurry the chemical reaction along--we allow the natural process to take its course. This is why it is called "cold processed" soap.
The liquid soap batter that is poured into the molds has only partially saponified. The molds are covered and after a 24-48 hour warm insulation period most of the saponification process is complete. The soap is removed from the mold, cut into bars, placed on the drying racks to cure, and then stamped with our logo.
Over the next several weeks - we allow the water to evaporated from the bars - therefore curing. It needs to slowly "cure" over time. We allow our soaps to naturally air cure for eight to nine weeks and our shampoo bars for nine to ten weeks. During the first two weeks of curing, the saponification process is completed. As the soap continues to cure, most of the water used in the recipe evaporates. The curing process insures a milder, harder, longer lasting bar, with a very rich lather. The longer from the batch date - the harder the bar!
What would happen if I used a bar that was still "curing"?
No need to worry--nothing will harm you, as the saponification process has already occurred The Cure Time - allows the water or liquid in the bar to evaporate. I have used our bars after only two weeks of curing. If the soap is really good after two weeks--it will be fabulous after eight or ten weeks.
But, our soaps and shampoos are best after fully curing. The lather is richer, the bars last longer, and they become milder with age! So for the best results, please wait until the READY DATES listed on our soaps to use them. There is a Batch Number, Made on Date, A Cure Date - on the labels.
Appalachian Outdoor Products
Whipped Body Butters
Hard Lotion Bars
Roller Ball Essential Oil
Herbal Preparations: Tinctures, Oxymels, Syrups
I teach classes:
Basic Soap making