Common Questions about Handmade Soap
1. How is handmade soap made?
Oil + Sodium Hydroxide + Water = Soap + Glycerin. It's that simple! Glycerin is an essential moisturizing ingredient in skincare and cosmetics. During the soap-making process, handmade soap naturally retains about 25% glycerin, providing moisturizing and mild properties.
2. Why is handmade soap better than commercial soap?
Most commercially produced soaps remove the glycerin produced during saponification for use in cosmetics, resulting in soaps lacking glycerin, leading to dryness after use. Moreover, some commercial soaps can't truly be considered 'soap' as they are chemically synthesized cleansers, stripping natural oils from the skin and potentially causing harm to both skin and the environment.
3. Does using sodium hydroxide in handmade soap harm the skin?
The production of handmade soap requires an alkaline substance. While ancient people used the alkaline substance in wood ashes, modern soap makers use sodium hydroxide derived from sea salt components. Sodium hydroxide is a strong base that can harm the skin, but after saponification with oils and water, it transforms into soap and glycerin. To ensure complete saponification, handmade soap needs to cure for one to two months. Fully saponified soap won't harm the skin.
4. Why does my soap have water droplets?
Cold process soap naturally contains 20-25% glycerin during production, along with valuable moisturizing components in plant oils. Soap tends to absorb moisture from the surrounding air, forming water droplets on the soap's surface. This doesn't affect the usage of cold process soap; simply wipe it off.
5. Normal skin reactions
Some individuals might experience dryness, roughness, or small breakouts after using cold process soap, similar to reactions from cosmetics. This is termed as the 'purging phase.' The appearance of this phase is due to long-term use of products containing high amounts of chemically synthesized surfactants found in shower gels and the like. Residues left on the skin after inadequate rinsing can damage the skin's natural protective layer. When the skin begins using handmade soap, which lacks these damaging agents, it struggles initially to regain its balance of oils and pH levels, leading to feelings of dryness and tightness. The 'purging phase' typically disappears within a month (skin's physiological cycle is 28 days).
6. Soap color and fragrance
Colors added to soap are usually synthetic. While synthetic colors may be vibrant and long-lasting, prolonged use can harm the skin. To prioritize skin health, my soaps maintain authenticity by using natural colorants like flower and herb teas, algae, mineral mud, Chinese herbs, green tea powder, carrot juice, cocoa powder, etc., enhancing the soap's fragrance and nutritional benefits. To complement aromatherapy, some soaps use pure plant essential oils for fragrance. However, since these aren't industrial synthetic fragrances, the longevity and intensity of the scent may vary. Essential oils, as commonly known, tend to evaporate over time.