the Handmade soap making process, oils and fats are combined with an
alkali to produce soap and glycerin. Modern soap is still made by this
basic process, but Handmade True Soap offers many unique benefits for
your skin. Handmade True Soap is made using a batch process by
individual soap makers, most of whom choose the highest quality pure
skin-loving oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, sweet
almond oil, hemp oil. They also use rich butters like cocoa butter,
shea butter and mango butter. Some Handmade soap makers also use
tallow, which is derived from beef fat and makes a smooth, hard bar
Handmade True Soap is made by combining oils or fats with an alkali and
water. The products of this reaction are soap and glycerin. Soap
cleanses the skin while glycerin moisturizes it.
Is there lye in Handmade Soap?
Although lye (an alkali ) is used to make true soap, the chemical
reaction between all of the ingredients used in the soap making process
cause the lye to be literally “reacted away,” leaving behind a mild,
effective bar of pure Handmade soap.
How should I take care of my Handmade Soap?
soap is a special product. Because it contains glycerin, it can retain
more moisture than other soaps. To extend the life of your Handmade
soap, place it in a well-draining soap dish. Keep unused bars in a
cool, dry place, and use them within a few months of purchase.
How can I be sure of the ingredients in my Handmade Soap?
each individual soap maker uses different manufacturing processes and
ingredients, you can be absolutely certain of the ingredients in your
Handmade soap and the process employed to make it by asking the
individual manufacturer. Most Handmade soap makers list ingredients on
their soap labels and, in many instances, you can visit their Web sites
or review their product brochures for more details. of soap. Essential
oils and fragrance oils contribute scent; cosmetic-grade pigments
impart color; and botanicals, spices, and other natural ingredients add
texture. It is not unusual to find Handmade soap made with such things
as oatmeal, sliced almonds, shaved coconut meat, corn meal and other
goodies that provide light and gentle exfoliation for your skin. Many
Handmade soaps are “superfatted” or super-enriched with additional oils
that are literally suspended in the soap and applied directly to the
skin while bathing, providing even more emollience.
Why is Glycerin Important?
is naturally produced during the Handmade soap making process. In fact,
pound for pound, glycerin costs more than soap, which is why some soap
companies remove the glycerin from the soap and sell it to
manufacturers of things like tooth paste and lotion. Soap Guild members
do not remove the glycerin from their Handmade soap, so when you
purchase soap made by our members, it contains all of the naturally
occurring glycerin. With Handmade True Soap you get a fabulous cleanser
and a moisturizer in one!!
Here are a few definitions to help you in determining which soap maker best meets your needs:
- Hot Process (HP) Soap:
While there are various methods for accomplishing a hot processed soap
(stove top, oven, crock pot), all HP soap is made with additional heat
sources. Many soap makers use this method because it shortens the cure
time from several weeks to few days or a week.
- Cold Process (CP) Soap:
Traditionally, soap was cooked over a fire, much like the “hot process”
method. CP, however, relies on the exothermic reaction of the lye to
provide the heat necessary to make soap. Like most soaps, CP soap needs
3-6 weeks to “cure” in order to produce a hard, mild bar.
- Melt & Pour (M&P or “glycerin”):
This ready-made “soap” comes to the soapcrafter in bulk form and is
then remelted. Scent, colorants and other extras are added and then
poured into molds. Often this type of soap is chosen to achieve a more
“artistic” look to the soap. There are non-detergent based M&P
bases (similar to CP or HP) and detergent bases. If your soapmaker’s
base lists SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate) as an
ingredient, the M&P is detergent based.
- Milled Soap:
Whether soap is single or triple milled, the milling process is the
same. Glycerin is removed from the base soap, leaving a dense log of
soap which is then ground into a fine powder. The powder is put into a
hopper, along with scents and colorants, and is rolled between steel
rollers (or mils). Triple-milled soap is put through the rollers three
times. After milling, the soap is pressure-extruded into molds. This
results in a very dense, hard bar of soap which will likely crack when
it comes into contact with water. The advantage to this soap is it
tends to last longer because of its lack of glycerin. The disadvantage
is that the glycerin, the best part of the soap, is removed. Currently,
none of HSMG’s members produce a milled soap.
- Rebatched Soap:
Erroneously called “hand milled,” rebatched soap is handmade soap which
has been grated, chopped, melted (usually with additional liquid) and
remolded. Since this type of soap is more labor intensive and does not
make a higher quality soap than the other types of soap, most Handmade
soap makers will rebatch only occasionally.
- Soap Noodles: (see Rebatched Soap)
- Liquid Soap:
Liquid soaps are pump able or pour able soaps. Liquid soaps are made
with potassium hydroxide instead of the sodium hydroxide bar soaps
require. Liquid soap can be made with or without synthetic ingredients
and, like bar soaps, utilize as many or as few different oils as the
individual soap maker likes and can be transparent or opaque, thick or
- Cream Soap: Thanks to the
efforts of and teaching by author, Catherine Failor, you may find other
Soap Guild members who produce cream soap. Cream soap is exactly that,
cream; part solid and part liquid soap. It can be made from natural
ingredients only or also incorporate synthetic ingredients. It may be
scented and/or colored or not. Its uses are the same as other soaps.
Along with the various methods of making soap, here are a few other
considerations when choosing a soapmaker.
- Scented Soaps:
If you have a sensitivity or allergy to synthetic fragrances, you may
want to find a soapmaker using natural essential oils for scent. If
allergies are not a problem and/or you’re looking for some of the more
popular fragrances found in bath and body shops, then you’ll want to
find a soapmaker who uses synthetic aromachemicals. Some soapmakers do
both and will be happy to tell you which of their soaps are made with
natural oils and which with aromachemicals.
- Colored Soaps:
If you want more naturally colored soaps, there are soapmakers who use
only herbs and spices for added color and texture. For those who prefer
bold, vibrant colors, some soapmakers use pigments or FD&C dyes as
their colorants. Again, many soapmakers will do both and are happy to
answer questions about their products.
- Vegetable or Animal Soaps:Vegetable
or Animal Soaps: Traditionally, soap was made using animal tallow (fat)
because it made a very hard, long lasting bar of soap. However, for
those concerned about the use of animal fat, there are soapmakers who
use only vegetable fats in their soaps. If it’s not clear what type the
soapmaker is producing and it’s important to you, they’re usually happy
to give you a list of ingredients.
- Specialty Soaps:
Handmade soapmakers are creative people and most take great pains to
formulate soaps that meet the varied needs of their customers. Some
specialty soap you may encounter include Goat Milk Soap (soap which
uses goat milk as part or all of the liquid in the lye solution);
superfatted soap (soap with extra oils and butters designed to be extra
gentle to skin); soap made with clays, exfoliants, exquisite and
extravagant butters and oils...well, the possibilities are practically
This information is brought to you by the
Members in Good Standing of the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild, Inc. The
Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild, Inc. is an independent non-profit trade
organization and is not affiliated with any soap company, vendor,
supplier, individual, or group. Our Mission is as an international
non-profit professional trade association to promote the handcrafted
soap industry; to act as a center of communication among soap makers,
and to circulate information beneficial to soap makers.
About the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Members’ Soap
The Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild, Inc. P.O. Box 71 Sidney, Ohio 45365
Copyright © 2002, The Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild, Inc.™ ALL RIGHTS