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The Dirt on Hand Made Soap

What makes one soap superior and another subpar?Have you ever wondered how soap is made? Or what it is made out of? Or how it works? If you're like most people, you probably use soap every day (we hope), but have never really thought much about it. In the olden days, soap was made with lye and animal fats and was very time consuming or very expensive to purchase. In many countries in the world today, people living in poverty have to choose between buying soap or eating meat, and many choose SOAP!

In our modern age, this is almost impossible to imagine, because soap has become incredibly inexpensive, partly due to mass production, and replacing quality ingredients with petrochemicals, cheap fillers, fake fragrances and ingredients designed to dry your skin out so that you will need to buy lots of lotion. Cheap soaps have led to consumers experiencing more skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and early signs of aging. As people become more conscious about the products they apply to their skin, people are exploring hand made soaps as an alternative. But not all hand made soaps are created equal.

The easiest way to make hand made soap is to use a soap base kit, that you can purchase at a craft store or online. This is the cheapest way to make soap, and the easiest, but the ingredients are not necessarily much different from those in mass produced soaps. I have purchased soap from local vendors on my travels that looked and smelled beautiful, claiming to be "infused with patchouli", that melted in my shower and was a slimy mess with a very thin lather. These soaps technically are "hand-made", but let's use the analogy of a bakery using a cake mix and still charging the same as the bakery down the street using real fresh ingredients and recipes.

There are two major processes for making soaps from scratch using lye and botanical oils: Hot process and Cold process. They are both time consuming, and require skill, care and attention and will generate beautiful soaps. Saponification is the chemical reaction between any fat and sodium hydroxide. (triglyceride + sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide --> glycerol + 3 soap molecules) This is the process by which soap is created, and it can be facilitated by heat (hot process soap making), or by aging the soap and allowing the process to happen naturally as moisture evaporates (Cold process).

Hot process needs extra heat to complete the reaction (saponification) and can be used pretty much right after removing your soap from the mould. This process is great for quick results.

Cold processed soaps needs to remain in the mould for 24hrs for saponification using the self-generated low heat to complete the reaction and requires a long cure process, usually 4 weeks, for the sopas to get mature and reach the right PH for skin. No additional heat is used in cold process to actually facilitate the saponification process so everything happens slow and mild to keep the maximum nutrition and benefits, for even the heat sensitive ingredients.

Now we know how soap is made, but how does soap work? Those soap molecules, created in the chemical reaction of saponification, have two very different ends. One end of the soap molecule is hydrophilic (loves water) and the other end is hydrophobic (hates water). All of the hydrophobic ends will attach to the grease and dirt on your skin, and the hydrophilic end suspends it in water allowing it to be rinsed away.

Essential oils and other natural ingredients keep their active functions best with the mild reaction of the cold process. Fresh ingredients like milk or fruit purees can be used only in cold process due to the mild saponification process. You only need a little patience and time to enjoy the beauty of cold processed soaps -- feel the gentle foam sliding on your body, sense the natural smell circling in the shower and find the smoothness of your hydrated clean skin.

Our Soaps Guarantee

  • 100% hand-made from scratch with botanical oils, natural clays and plant extracts

  • Cold process used to keep the original nutritious benefits from plants

Dr. Lele Cold Process French Pink Clay Soap
Dr. Lele Rice Face Soap & Ginger Hair Soap

Hand-made soaps clean and take care of your fragile skin at the same time. You will find your skin clear, supple and smooth with a natural glow. Guess what, you’ll love it!

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