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Savonnerie 101, the base


What is the difference between an artisanal soap and the little pharmacy Dove? then "melt & for" HEIN? What is she talking about when she says "made cold" and "made hot"? Saponified oil "Da-Kossé"?!?! Today I wanted to write a little article for you to demystify the art of soap.

Many bath and body "soaps" that are sold in stores are not actually soap, you will notice that they are often called "beauty bar" or "shower gel". These are detergents, not soap.

Cold / hot soap is made by combining oils, water and sodium hydroxide, you can also add a ton of additive to it which will have different properties, clay (my pref), honey, fruit / vegetable puree and more, obviously colors and smells too. The soap subsequently goes through the process of saponification, converting fats, oils, sodium hydroxide and water into soap and glycerin. 

Once the chemical process is complete, the soap is completely safe and gentle on the skin. Each oil and butter has a value that will determine how much water and sodium hydroxide you need, making it a real chemistry lesson!

Cold soap is made without any external heat, while hot soap is most often cooked in a slow cooker to speed up the soap making process. This one often has a slightly more rustic look.

Technically, cold soap can be used safely after a few days and immediately for hot soap. On the other hand, it is recommended to let the soap dry for 4 to 6 weeks in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. The excess water evaporates, creating harder, softer bars that last longer in the shower. Soap is like good wine! Definitely worth the wait.

Each oil and butter will have different properties in the result of the soap, it is a fascinating exercise to create the perfect bar, in a future article I will tell you in depth about the oils I use and these benefits.

The "melt & pour" meanwhile is a ready-to-use commercial base that has already undergone the saponification process, which you melt and add to a mold. The negative point of "melt & pour" is that you do not control the ingredients and you are limited to what you can add to them, you can easily add colors and fragrances, but it is not recommended for example to add clay, or honey. I like to use the "melt & pour" for decorations (embeds) that will go on top of my soap or inside. When we make the selection of our "melt & pour" we always go to the one with the fewest ingredients and without detergent.

Hope you liked my little article on soap art.