How often do you think about your soap? Once daily while you’re in the shower? When you’re at the store picking out a new bar? Before I started actually making my own soap, I didn’t really consider what went into soap production, and I certainly didn’t think about it when looking at commercial “soaps”.
Soap making is a process, and it’s certainly not one offering immediate gratification. But the end product can be such an amazing surprise.
The first step in our process is to consider what would make a good soap. We’ll roll that around in our heads for a while. Do some research on it and just see if it’s a feasible idea. At that point, making sure we have the ingredients on hand is a great second step. You don’t want to get halfway into your batch only to realize that you don’t have enough of ingredient X. Ingredient X happens to be what makes our soaps so special.
From here we will formulate a recipe. We like bars that are on the harder side so that they’ll last longer, but also depending on what we’re going for, we’ll play up certain oils for more bubbly bars, or maybe use other oils or butters for a more conditioning experience.
Now, we’re ready to saponify! Precise measurements of all ingredients and skilled soaping techniques are key to making a good bar of soap. At this point, the batch is nothing but a goopy mess in a mold and, depending on the recipe, will not be able to be cut for at least 24 hours.
This is the point that I’m dying with anticipation, especially if we did some color work with the soap. No batch is ever swirled exactly the same, so it’s always a fun surprise cutting the bars. I love seeing how the swirls turn out.
The thing about soap is that it takes a long time to cure. Soaps with high olive oil content must cure for much longer than soaps with high coconut oil content, it could be as high as six months for all olive oil soaps. This means that we really have to plan ahead for events and can’t always take special orders if they’re a rush job. Patience is certainly an asset in this business.
In this interim we’ll usually brainstorm a name for the soap if it’s something we’ve never made before, and also do some testing to be sure that we love the soap. What you don’t know is that we go through a ton of goofy, weird, and sometimes inappropriate names for our soaps. What can I say, we have very active imaginations.
After a long awaited cure we’ll clean up the soap edges, put them in boxes, tie the ribbon, and put labels on them. Each bar of soap is done this way. We do all of our own packaging, including making the labels and painstakingly tying each ribbon. We do this because our soap is special to us. It’s often months in the making and packaging is important to us.
At long last the soap is ready for sale! We hope you enjoy using it as much as we enjoyed making it.
Suds and kisses,