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Insight into the History of Soaps, Saponification and Cold Processed Soaps
They clean us, nurture our skin and make us smell nice and lovely. If it wasn’t for these amazing creations, we would be living our lives looking and feeling dirty and smelling horrible. Yep, I’m talking about soaps here.
Soap is indeed a wonderful and beneficial invention- one that has now become a constant in our routine lives and something that we cannot do without. Although soap is an integral part of our lives, we still don’t know much about it. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of this important household item because it directly affects our skin. Moreover, with so many different kinds of soaps available at our disposal, it’s crucial to find out which ones are actually beneficial for us. Let’s find out exactly how soaps came into our lives, what the saponification process is and which soap should you use.
History of Soaps
Contrary to popular belief, soap isn’t a modern creation and not a good that is just a few decades old. In fact, the first solid evidence of an item similar to soap dates back to 2800 BC. The Babylonians, ancient Romans, ancient Greeks and Egyptians are known as the first creators of soap. All these civilizations made soap by creating an amalgamation of salts, oils and fats.
However, the very first soap that was created was made by the Babylonians. They discovered that mixing together wood ash, water and animal fats created a unique substance that could be used for cleaning purposes. It was this product that was later improved to create the soaps we use today.
In the beginning, soap wasn’t created to be used for personal hygiene. Instead, it was something that helped in keeping the house clean, doing laundry and washing the dishes. It was also used for health care and medicinal purposes, but its use as a product to keep your body clean wasn’t discovered yet.
With time, people discovered that soap could be used to clean your body too. It was then that soaps started to gain more popularity. Soap making gained entry in Europe sometime in the seventh century. In the beginning, soaps were manufactured in industries and the concept of hand-made soap was quite alien to people. At that time, soap was mainly manufactured in Italy and Spain using the ashes of the Beech tree and fat extracted from goat.
During that very same period, soap makers in France started making soaps with olive oil. With time, more fragrances and ingredients such as coconut oil, sunflower oil, Shea and fragrances were also introduced into soap and a huge variety of soaps were being produced. The English learned the art of soap making craft by the twelfth century and created more varieties of soap.
Till 1775, how soap was made was a secret- the masses and the common man didn’t really know what saponification was and how soap was made. This secretive soap manufacturing process was made public in 1775 and it was in 1884 that soaps were sold in proper packaging. Before that time, soap was treated as a luxury but once they were sold in branded packaging, they turned into a necessity.
Soaps made before the 1940s weren’t soft and smooth like the ones we have today. They were quite harsh as the artisans back then didn’t use organic products to make softer and nicer soaps. Many of the soaps at that time even caused skin irritation. When these concerns were highlighted, the soap manufacturers started to invest more in the product and produced milder soap bars that were gentle to the skin. Plus, different types of soaps were created for different skin types.
Amongst the many different soaps created, the cold processed soap is often termed as the safest and best type of soap. I’ll discuss it and its benefits later on so you know exactly why you should buy cold processed soaps for you and your family. Before moving on to that, I’ll discuss the saponification process so you know exactly how soaps are created.
What is the Saponification Process?
Soap is generally categorized into two types: handmade soap and industrial soap. The process through which soap is made, be it a handmade soap or an industrially manufactured one is known as ‘saponification.’
The basic saponification process has three major steps:
First, the lye is prepared which is a liquid solution made of potash.
Next fats are extracted from the fat source, usually animals but vegetable fats are also used. The fats are then rendered so they become clean and pure.
Once the lye solution is prepared and the fats are rendered, they are mixed together. The mixture then goes through different processes such as boiling to create soap.
Both the handmade soap and the industrially manufactured one follow this process. However, the handcrafted soap is far better than the industrially produced one because the former is gentler and safer for your skin.
Types of Handcrafted Soaps
Handmade soaps are usually made by soap artisans from scratch. This is done either through a cold process which makes the cold processed soaps or through the hot process that results in the hot processed soaps or via already crafted soap bases.
Handmade Soap using a Ready-made Soap Base: With a ready-made soap base, the initial steps to produce soap are eliminated because the soap base is soap itself. The artisan’s concentration is then focused entirely on the health, aesthetic and artistic aspects of soap. This process is also known as the melt and pour process because the soap is first heated so it enters the liquid state and is then poured into its molds after the scents, colors and other items are added to it. Once the soap is added to the mold, it is allowed to cool down and solidify. Once the soap is hardened, it is taken out of the mold, is packaged and then sold.
What is Hot Processed Soap?: Hot processed soap is created with the help of an outside heat source that is used to heat and manufacture the soap. In this process, the oils and lye solution are mixed thoroughly first. Next an outside heat source is used to heat the solution so the temperature goes up. The extra heat from the outside source decreases the overall time required to make sure that the chemical process aka saponification gets completed on time. When the soap is ready, it is in the liquid state because of all the extra heating. It is then added to different molds and is left to cool down and harden.
What is Cold Processed Soap?: A cold processed soap is created using the routine saponification process with the difference that no heat at all is applied to the soap. The lye solution once it is prepared is left to cool down to the room temperature before any oils are added to it. The oils required to be added in the soap such as olive oil, sunflower oil or coconut oil is heated individually. This helps melt solid butters and fats easily. Once the fats are melted, the oils are left to cool down so they reach a temperature between 80 to 110 degree Fahrenheit, according to the recipe being used. When the oils and lye solution reach a suitable temperature, they are mixed together. The mixture then started to thicken and becomes warmer than before. This is how the oils and lye solution chemically react together to create soap. When the mixture reaches the trace point which is the state at which the mixture leaves a trace on the floor when dribbled using a spoon, other ingredients like color, fragrances and herbs are added to it. The soap is then prepared to be added to its molds. After adding the mixture to the molds, it is left to cool down and solidify. Often, the soap is insulated when it is poured in the mold so the cooling process slows down a little. This helps increase the saponification process and produces a smooth, bubble-free soap. Once the soap is perfectly hardened and cooled, it is unmolded. Even though the soap is solid at this point, it is soft enough so it can be cut easily into different shapes. You can use the soap at this point but since it is quite soft, it easily slips from hand. The soap then enters the final curing stage when it is left in a room for about three to eight weeks so all the extra water can evaporate. No heating source is used to quickly evaporate the excess water. The duration of this final curing stage depends on the quantity of water added to the temperature as well as the relative humidity, air circulation and temperature of the room. The longer the soap is kept so that more water can be evaporated, the harder will be the soap.
Of all these three soaps, the cold processed soaps are the best ones. Let us now find out why the cold processed soaps are the best soaps to be used.
What are the Benefits of Using Cold Processed Soaps?
Here are some of the main reasons why handmade, cold processed, organic soaps are the best.
Which is the Best Method to Preserve Organic Ingredients?
To keep your skin soft, supple and smooth, it is best to use natural ingredients. While our hectic schedules and fast paced lives prevent us from doing that often, a soap containing organic ingredients is a great way to nurture your skin using natural ingredients. This is where the cold processed soaps come in handy. The cold process of making soap is a great way to preserve the benefits of natural and organic ingredients such as plant-derived oils and butters. Most organic, handmade soaps manufactured via the cold process contain Shea butter, sunflower oil, coconit and olive oil which keep your skin hydrated and supple.
Nurtures Your Skin
Human skin is absorbent and porous meaning it all the things that come in contact with it. This means if you keep using products rich in harsh chemicals then you’ll force all those chemicals to enter your body and be eventually stored in it. As a result, you become infected with skin infections and conditions. This is exactly what happens when you use commercially manufactured soap.
Commercial soap makers extract glycerin out of the soap which is a by-product produced during the natural saponification process. Glycerin is extremely beneficially for your skin as it keeps it hydrated and smooth. However, when it is extracted out of the soap and is replaced with other harsh chemicals, the soap is useless for your skin. Your skin feels dry, scaly and even itches when you use commercially manufactured soap regularly.
To keep your skin healthy and beautiful, switch to cold-processed soaps. Since they are made with organic and natural ingredients, your skin won’t be exposed to any harmful chemicals. Moreover, as the organic and natural ingredients are well preserved in these soaps courtesy of the cold process, you easily enjoy all the health benefits of the ingredients added to the soaps.
Additionally, as no additional heat is used to create the soap like in the hot processed soap, the cold processed soap is extra soft and has a lovely creamy feel. It deeply moisturizes your skin keeping it super-supple.
Has a Luxurious Lather
Another benefit of the organic, cold processed soap is that it has an amazing lather. Soaps made using the hot process are quite hard and aren’t very soft to touch. The cold processed soap, on the other hand, has an amazing feel and you can even make varieties of it that can float beautifully on water. The incredible lather produced by these soaps is great for enjoying a nice bath.
Beautiful Looking Varieties
It is easier to add swirls, colors, layers and beautiful patterns to cold processed soaps as compared to those made using the hot process and melt and pour process. This is mainly because the cold process makes softer soaps that are easier to swirl and add extra ingredients to. You cannot easily meddle with a hot processed soap because it is quite thick and cannot be swirled easily. So if soap making interests you and you’d like to make beautiful soaps, consider the cold process for doing so.
Due to all these benefits, a cold processed and handmade soap crafted using organic and natural ingredients is considered as the best soap for your skin. Make sure to look at the contents of a soap before buying it and ask the manufacturer of the process it is made from to ensure you get a cold processed one.
Why buy soap from Lotion Fast?
We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all products! We also use only the finest ingredients available!
Do you offer private labeling?
YES, We offer private labeling for all bulk orders. We can put your logo, business name etc on the cost labels which will wrap around the soap bar. This gives the soap a professional handmade appearance!
How big is the bar of soap?
Each bar is approximately 5oz & retails for $5-6.00
- We ethnically and sustainably source all of our ingredients!
- Absolutely NO ANIMAL TESTING OR ANIMAL PRODUCTS!
- We use the COLD PROCESS to make our soap which is the oldest known to man.
- We have been making soap for over a decade! and are pleased to say we have perfected it!
- $ Back Guarantee! If this is not the best soap you have ever bought or used! NO QUESTIONS!
Ingredients: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Soybean Oil, Hemp Oil ,Organic Shea Butter , Purified Water, Lye & Fragrance
We have over 100 different types of soaps and fragrances if you have a particular one you are looking please ask.
ABSOLUTELY None of these are found in our Handmade Soap!
NO Animal Products!
NO Petroleum Products!
NO Lauryl Sulfate!