What's in your soap?
It may be a question that you have never really thought of. Soap is soap is soap, right? It gets your clean and smelling fresh. How different could soap really be? What you may not realize is that soap is as individual as the recipes they are made of. If fact, some of the "soaps" you are using may not actually be soap at all.
Soap, by definition is comprised of fatty acids and alkali salts, aka lye. Through the process of saponification, the combination of fats and caustic salts creates the substance we know as soap. The ingredients selected in making the soap are critical for the performance of the finished product. Each fatty acid brings a different characteristic to the soap. A soap made from olive oil will have a very different look, feel, lather, and texture than a coconut bar. They will also have different cure times, or length of time needed for the crystalline structures in the soap to be ready for use. While one recipe may be ready in 4 weeks, another may need 8 weeks. In fact castile soap, a soap made from 100% olive oil, needs a full year before it is ready for use.
The individual fats selected when choosing ingredients for a soap is critical for the end result. These components are even more important that all the additives, scents, and colorants that go into the soap. That is why we have spent countless hours choosing and testing different oils and butters to make our perfect bar. We use a total of 6 plant based oils and butters, in varying percentages, to create our perfect bars. We believe that in order to create a top notch, luxe bar of soap, you need to use a top notch, luxe recipe. That recipe starts with the fats.
Olive oil creates a lower, slipperier lather with little to no bubbles. It is a soft oil, but over the curing process produces a harder bar. Olive oil is higher in unsaturated fats, like oleic acid, which make it lower on the cleansing scale, lending toward a more mild bar.
Coconut oil adds and abundant lather with larger, fluffier bubbles. Because of this, it tends to be higher in cleansing. It also lends to a harder bar and a whiter color. When used in the right amounts, coconut oil can lend to a pretty amazing bar!
Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond creates a stable, medium lather. It is high in vitamin A and E, as well as oleic and linoleic acids. While the oleic acid creates a more mild softer lather, the linoleic acid helps lend to the silkier, luxurious feel.
When shea butter is added to a soap it helps create a mild cleanse with a stable, rich, lotion-like lather. This is because shea is high in stearic acid. It's components lead to a silkier, more luxurious feeling bar. Shea butter is high in vitamins A and E as well as many other minerals.
Like Shea, cocoa butter provides a mild, lotion like lather, and promotes a harder, longer lasting bar. Cocoa butter is high in vitamin E and other antioxidants. It also contains many unsaponifiables, meaning there is more of that cocoa buttery goodness left over once the soap is made.
Castor oil is a unique oil, as it is the only fat to contain ricinoleic acid. In fact, 90% of castor oil is comprised of this fatty acid. What it does for soap is even more intriguing. Castor oil helps suspend the bubbles created in a soap, specifically those from coconut, while promoting a stable, creamier lather. Castor oil itself is a natural humectant.
All of the oils we choose come from strictly plant based sources. We choose to use organic and fair trade as much as possible. These are noted on our ingredient declarations. We also wanted all of our products to be completely cruelty free, and vegan friendly. You will never see ingredients like sodium tallowate (saponified beef fat) on our ingredients list. You may have also noticed that our recipe does not include the use of palm oil, a highly common oil that many small and big soap companies use. That is because palm is so heavily connected to deforestation of the rainforest, we chose to formulate a recipe that completely omits it.
It is important to note that in order for a product to be considered soap, the bulk of the product must be comprised of this combination of alkali salts and fatty acids. Without this, the product is not soap. The FDA standards say that in order for a product to be marketed or labeled as soap, this must hold true. That is why, some of the "soaps" you see on the shelves at big box stores don't actually call themselves soap. They may say "Beauty Bar" or "Cleansing Bar". This is because, they are not a true soap, and are not allowed to call themselves such. These types of bars are actually considered detergents. They often include synthetic bubbling agents and sulfates which can be harsh on the skin. So do yourself a favor and pick up a real soap. You may be surprised at the difference it makes!