The soap that is made in our workshop at Spruced Up Labrador is handmade using methods called cold process or hot process soap making. Lye is combined with high quality plant based oils to create an exothermic (heat creating) reaction called saponification (yay chemistry!) that results in soap! A well made soap NEVER has any lye left in the final product. Lye is necessary to create the saponification reaction otherwise you’d be left with a pool of water and oils. When a soapmaker says they didn’t use lye to make the soap they A) didn’t make soap or B) used a premade base that was made for them in a factory. Kudos to those that make premade soap creations, I’ve seen some very artistic soaps made using this method. This type of soap is often called “glycerin” soap as well.
As a soapmaker, I personally like to control the ingredients that go into my soap because of my own sensitivities and standards (aka soap snob) with oils and environmentally friendly ingredients. Essential oils must be therapeutic grade and fragrances must be phthalate and paraben free or made from natural ingredients (I still refer to them as fragrance oils as they are lab created). Essential oils are extracted from plants and can be beneficial or harmful, it’s incredibly important to know beneficial percentages in using these volatile oils. Fragrances are used purely for scent to create a diverse range, as it’s impossible to get scents like coconut, raspberries or chocolate using essential oils. Soap making to me is soul satisfying, just as it is to the baker who sees their cake at a wedding, or the textile artist who sees their print on a handbag.
So lets get back to soap, what is it? Soap is a sodium or potassium salt of a long chain of fatty acids from the oils chosen to make it. Along with this reaction is the creation of glycerol, or skin loving glycerin! Ever notice that when you leave your handmade soap in a puddle of water you see goop left behind? That my friend, is glycerin. In the warm, humid environment of your shower or bath, it draws moisture into the skin which is a wonderful thing. To extend the life of your bar of Spruced Up soap, keep it out of water and for larger bars, cut them in half and store half in the cupboard naked or in a breathable container.
The need for convenience in products such as hand sanitizers and detergent based antibacterial hand soaps are drying and harsh on our skin which is our first line of defence against germs. What good is that hand sanitizer if you have cracks in your fingers as a result of excess use that viruses and bacteria can easily enter? My full time job is a Registered Nurse and my background in health care is infused into my products along with the wildcrafted botanicals and skin loving oils. As humans, we are cleaner than we have ever been, yet we are sicker than we have ever been due to “super bugs” and “over” cleanliness. Making soap is one way I can hopefully help people feel better about their skin and also fall in love with the charm and creativity of an “old fashioned” bar of soap.
Much soapy love,