Old fashion REAL SOAP,  both liquid and bar, is still created in much the same way today as it was in the past. Fats and oils are saponified by the addition of a hydroxide salt. 

In the past hydroxide salts (lye) was created by filling a barrel with wood ashes. Holes were bored into the bottom of the barrel and water was poured over the top.  The liquid which dripped from the barrel was a lye solution. Fats and/or oils were heated in a pot to which the lye solution was then added.  The lye reacts with the fatty acids in the fats and/or oils in a chemical reaction called "saponification".

Reducing our consumption of syndets benefits our environment by reducing the downstream impacts of chemical manufacturing and personal use. Most synthetic chemicals Syndet soaps and cleanser are not biodegradable

The process of saponification completely alters the structure of the fatty acids, after some time after the lye has reacted with all of the fatty acids, the final result is REAL SOAP.  When careful attention is paid to measuring the exact amount of lye required to saponify all of the fatty acids, all of the lye will be converted and none will remain in the final product.  

After the introduction of "syndet bars", which are made from synthetic detergents (but mistakenly referred to as soap) people took to calling REAL soap "Lye Soap" to distinguish them from "syndet bars".  Sometimes this leads to confusion among consumers.  Just remember that a REAL soap is made with lye, in much the same way as it made centuries ago.  

The main difference in soap making today is the base oils used to make soap.  Animal fats were most commonly used until the widespread availability of vegetable oils. Today these oils are more commonly used;  there are literally dozens to choose from. From the humble sunflower seed, to the exotic Marula nut, each oil brings different qualities to the finished soap.

Today pure lye crystals are created in laboratories and sold to soap makers.  Precise calculators have replaced haphazard techniques to determine the right amount to use and provide soap makers with the ability to accurately determine the exact amount of lye to use so that NO LYE remains after all of the fatty acids have been saponified.  There is no need to worry that any lye harsh remains in the final product! 

 

 

WHY ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils bring aromatherapy properties to soap along with natural scents. Despite the availability of new "all naturally derived fragrance oils" I personally do not want to use them due in large part to my desire to minimize my over exposure. I also have a real aversion to fragrances period. Having been exposed to overly perfumed products in my home growing up I developed allergies and sensitivities to all kinds of personal and home care products. Removing all fragranced products from my home over 15 years ago, including candles, allowed my body to heal, and I am now able to handle essential oils without any problems at all. 

Bar Soap or Liquid Soap? How are they different

Hard Bars.  Bar soap is not hard to make and you can include all kinds of other ingredients for exfoliation, color and scent. I use only essential oils for fragrance to avoid contact with synthetic fragrances.  Bar soaps can be "superfatted" meaning some of the oils are not saponified, providing additional moisturizing. All of my bar soaps are superfatted.

I focus my attention on making a variety of gentle, moisturizing soaps. I don't make fancy swirly colored soaps, nor do I make soaps which look like cupcakes!

I also include many wildcrafted ingredients like Mountain Sage, Rose petals, Spruce and Pine needles.  These ingredients are added to the saponified oils then poured into molds and allowed to set up, the loaf is then cut into portions and allowed 3-4 weeks to cure. 

Liquid Castile Soap. The process of making liquid soap is almost exactly the same as making bar soap, the only real difference is the type of hydroxy salt used. Other than that, it is the same, elbow grease: fats and oils, lye, and time! That's it. Once the oils are fully saponified you are left with a sticky paste which is then diluted with distilled water to the concentration desire. Essentials oils can then be added to this diluted soap and it can be used immediately.  The liquid version of castile soap is however, quite tricky to get right! You have to be very careful measuring, and get the timing and heat just right. Everything must come together quite perfectly to have a nice clear liquid soap.


REDUCING OUR CONSUMPTION OF SOAP

We over use soaps and cleansers in our culture - A vast majority of people use Syndets. Replacing them natural oil soaps reduces the downstream impacts of manufacturing and personal use. 

We over wash ourselves! Whatever you wash with, minimizing how much and how often we bathe has significant benefits for your skin and the environment. Our skin has a microbiome that we should carefully preserve. This biome informs our immune system, helping us fight off illnesses. Stripping away constantly leaves the skin in chronic a state of "dis-ease", which will lead to a host of problems over time, from increase acne outbreaks, dry skin issues, and premature aging of the skin ... simply minimizing the amount of soap used and reducing the frequency of washing ourselves. Consider limiting your cleaning to just those parts of the body that really need it, private parts and underarms, and simply skip over those that don't. 

We use soaps and cleansers to wash our faces - Any kind of soap or foaming cleanser, real or otherwise, is very good at it's job! Not only does it effectively remove the day's grime, it also strips us of our precious natural oils AND our microbiome. This is where the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) comes to the rescue of our delicate facial skin! Oil Cleansing replaces the dirt, pollution, sunscreen and makeup with clean, nourishing plant oils and seed butters! If you are familiar with OIL PULLING for a healthy mouth, then you already know how it works - in chemistry like dissolves like, so we can use plant oils instead of soaps and foaming cleansers to achieve long term benefits to our skin, and our immune system, all the while further reducing environmental impacts.