In our previous post, we gave you a broad flyover soap making, but today the focus will be on how and why we choose the ingredients that go into our recipes.  Handmade soaps made in small batches, have the unique position of providing a superior quality from that which has been commercially produced.  We can leave out all the synthetic ingredients that make industrial soaps cheaper, but not so gentle to the skin. What we can include in a well formulated recipe, is what makes a vegetable-based, cold processed soap so nourishing to the skin.
During the cold process method of soap making,  glycerin is produced and retained in high amounts.   Glycerin is a humecant with amazing moisturizing properties and  generally is removed in commercial soaps and marketed separately. Most homemade soap makers will sing this moisturizing mantra because glycerin is a natural by-products of the fats and oils, and we didn’t have to work any magic to get it there!
A good soap recipe starts with the end in mind.  One popular soap we sell is Dot’s Honey and Lemongrass.  It is made for acne prone or oily skin.  Our thinking was that it needed to be gentle enough for facial skin, yet with antibacterial qualities.  I started the formula with an olive and sweet almond oil base.  Both these oils are extra conditioning and won’t clog pores. Next, I added coconut oil  which gives great cleansing properties and also makes a hard, long lasting bar.  We included shea butter in this recipe because it is loaded with nutrients that help keep the skin elastic and heal damaged or scarred skin tissue.  Lastly, we added honey, beeswax, and lemongrass essential oil all of which are naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiseptic.  Shazam!  What a great formula!
There are so many options for the modern soap maker in terms of ingredients for use in natural soaps.  We are loving the benefits that botanical, honey and other pure, wholesome elements bring to the art and science of cold process soap making.  Next week we will tackle some questions from our customers and people curious about how and why our soaps are different.