Let’s talk about commercial soaps…..

Soap comes from a chemical reaction (called saponification) between various oils and fats and caustic soda (lye or NaOH). Commercial soap is usually produced from tallow and other fats plus a variety of synthetic compounds which are added to produce the desired lather, texture and hardness of the finished bar.

The mixture is boiled with the caustic solution until the process of saponification takes place; soap is the end product. The soap is then grated very finely and sent through a machine which compacts the soap shreds very tightly to produce a hard, polished bar. However, more additives are needed to give the soap the required texture, and to prevent the soap from sticking to the machine.

When fats, oils and lye are mixed, the other product produced besides soap is glycerin. During the manufacture of commercial soaps, the glycerin produced is either washed away, or it is separated out and sold on to other industries. This is an enormous loss – glycerin is a natural moisturiser for the skin, and the removal of glycerin during the commercial production of soap is one of the reasons why commercial soaps can often be so drying in use.

So what about our soaps?

In the cold-process soap-making method, the mix of vegetable oils and fats, sodium hydroxide, water, natural nutrients and essential oils is stirred together. The only heat needed is to melt the oils at the start of the process and the precious glycerin is stirred back into the soap as the saponification reaction takes place. This means that our handmade soaps retain all the glycerin, making superior and gentle bars of soap.

Our soap is made, left to saponify (the chemical process that turns oils, butters and lye into soap), removed from the moulds and hand cut before being left on racks to cure for 4-6 weeks. The long cure time is key to a long-lasting, creamy and hard bar of soap. It cannot be rushed and is the reason why sometimes we are out of stock of a certain scent.

It would be easier and faster to hot process the soap, or use a melt and pour base, but we feel that cold process is by far the best way to make soap. It’s more time consuming and labour intensive to cold process the soap, but boy is it worth it!

All of our soap is handmade, cold processed and totally natural. All of our recipes are vegetarian (only one isn’t vegan – launching soon – oats and honey).

Our soaps are all scented either with just the core ingredients, added botanicals, spices or pure essential oils. No synthetic fragrance oils here.

It is the coconut oil in our soaps that produces the luxurious lather. Using our soap will give you lovely, soft, fluffy bubbles – you’ll find the bubbles are softer and smoother than those of a mass-produced soap.

We like a simple bar of soap so don’t use colours at all, even natural colours. Simple, clean and gorgeous, that’s our soaps!

Solid Shampoo Bars

We thought long and hard about shampoo bars. We could have tweaked our soap recipe to be more suitable for hair, but some hair doesn’t adapt well to natural soap based shampoo and gets heavy and lank. Most hair also needs a transition period before seeing any benefit from soap-based shampoo bars. Often, because of the PH, a soap based shampoo bar means that a regular apple cider vinegar rinse is required to remove build up and cleanse the hair. For these reasons we instead decided to make a non-soap shampoo bar.

We use a very gentle, sulphate-free coconut based surfactant (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate) as the main ingredient. SCI is made by mixing a natural sulfonic acid called isethionic acid with the fatty acids that naturally occur in coconut oil. SCI gives our shampoo bars an amazing lather and cleans your hair in a gentle way, without stripping everything away as sulphates do. SCI is not SLS and we will always be SLS free.

True to our ethos we add no colour and only essential oils to scent our shampoo bars.