Documents: Special Interest:

The Advantages and Beauty of Handmade Organic Soap
by Susan Galick
March 31, 2002

Did You Know….

the commercial soaps that line most of the grocery store shelves are actually synthetic detergents?

In contrast, Handmade Soaps is soap in its true, pure form. Handcrafted Soap - also know as Handmade Soap - is made using the Cold Process method just like Grandma used to make. When properly made, these soaps contain both soap and moisture-rich glycerin.

What is Soap?

Soap is made simply, although the chemical reaction is complex. Chemically, an acid (the fats and oil) and a base (a solution of sodium hydroxide and water, also called lye) react to produce 75% soap and 25% glycerin. This process is called saponification, and as the fats and oils and the lye solution come into contact with one another and react, they are saponifying, or making soap. The mixture gradually changes from a separated mixture of heavier, watery lye and lighter fats and oils to a thicker, uniform mixture. The soap is ready to be poured when it has thickened to the point when a bit of soap drizzled from the spatula onto the surface of the soap leaves a trail (a pattern) for a moment before disappearing under the surface. This is called the "trace".

Handmade soaps are made by this simple process called "cold-process". When the melted fats and oils are combined with the lye solution no external heat is needed to keep the soap making reaction going.

Handmade soap retains the precious glycerin known to soften the skin. Up to 25% of the soap is naturally formed glycerin. This glycerin is one of the best-known humectants (attracts moisture to the skin). During the process of manufacturing commercial soap, glycerin is often extracted and sold as a valuable by-product. This is why commercial soaps tend to be drying to the skin, the bars are hard, have a less creamy lather than handmade soap, and don't last as long. Handmade soaps on the other hand retain their rich, creamy, moisturing lather, are gentler and milder, plus last longer right down to the last fine sliver without cracking.

One common question about Handmade Soap is whether there is lye in the soap. The answer is "No". Although it is impossible to make soap without using it, all of the sodium hydroxide (lye) is combined with the fats and oils and nothing remains except cleansing soap and moisturizing glycerin. The end result is mild, pure handcrafted soap.

Our own handmade soaps at Country Rose Soap Co are created and inspired by our organic gardens. They are all natural, uniquely created with a distinctive country garden theme inspired by our love of gardening and the preservation of our environment.

Each batch of soap is still handmade in small quantities utilizing our own organically grown herbs and flowers as natural colourants and skin care benefits. 

Visit her site at
Country Rose Soap Co. Ltd.


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