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What Is Soap, Really?

Soap has been used for many centuries and has a long history. The process of making soap through saponification involves a chemical reaction between fats or oils and a strong alkaline substance, such as sodium hydroxide (lye) or potassium hydroxide. This reaction produces soap and glycerin.

The process of saponification can be traced back to ancient civilizations, with evidence of soap-making found in ancient Babylonian clay containers dated around 2800 BC. Throughout history, different cultures have used various ingredients for soap production, including animal fats, plant oils, and ashes. Today, the process of making soap has evolved, and there are various methods and ingredients used, including synthetic alternatives to natural fats and oils.

The lye used in ancient times was obtained from the ashes of burned plants or wood, which contained potassium hydroxide rather than sodium hydroxide. This type of lye, known as potash, was mixed with animal fats or plant oils to create soap through the saponification process.

The legend of Mount Sapo is often associated with the etymology of the word "soap." According to the legend, the clay mixture formed from the ashes and animal fat was found to have excellent cleansing properties when used for washing clothes in the river. While the historical accuracy of this specific story is debated, it has become part of the lore surrounding the origins of soap.

In modern soap-making, sodium hydroxide (lye) is commonly used instead of potash. Sodium hydroxide is a strong alkaline compound that reacts with the fats or oils to produce soap molecules and glycerin through saponification. Lye is caustic and requires careful handling during the soap-making process. However, when soap is properly formulated and allowed to cure (usually for 4-6 weeks), there is no residual lye remaining in the final product. Through the saponification process, the lye is fully reacted and converted into soap molecules, leaving behind a gentle and cleansing bar of soap.

It's worth noting that while traditional soap is made through saponification, there are also synthetic detergents available on the market that mimic the cleaning properties of soap but are produced using different chemical processes. These detergents are often used in modern-day cleansing and personal care products, and are harsher on the skin. Make sure to always look at the ingredients list when shopping for a gentle soap.

Soap is an amazing cleanser because it helps water to spread evenly across a surface and bind to dirt, oils, and other impurities. When you apply soap to your skin or any other surface, the soap molecules arrange themselves in a way that one end of the molecule is attracted to water (hydrophilic) while the other end is attracted to oil and grease (hydrophobic).

When you rub soap on your hands or body, the hydrophobic ends of the soap molecules attach to the oil, dirt, and other contaminants on your skin. Meanwhile, the hydrophilic ends stay connected to the water. This allows the water to carry away the dirt and oil, leaving your skin clean.

For our soap, we use plant-based oils and fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, sunflower oil, and castor oil, which can provide various benefits. Each oil or fat contributes different properties to the soap, such as hardness, lather, moisturizing qualities, and cleansing abilities. Soapmakers often create unique blends of oils to achieve desired characteristics in their soap bars.

While animal-based soaps exist, plant-based soaps are equally effective at cleansing. The choice between animal-based and plant-based soap depends on personal preference, ethical considerations, availability, and the desired characteristics of the soap.

Our soap is not only environmentally friendly but also carefully crafted with attention to detail. They are made with 100% organic, vegan ingredients and scented with pure essential oils, formulated for hands and body. The sensitivity of facial skin often requires specially formulated products, (which we're working on).

The variety of our scents came from a lot of experimenting when achieving them naturally. We use natural colorants like green French clay, pink rose clay, and alkanet root. Furthermore, we chose to incorporate organic, upcycled orange peel powder into our grapefruit bar that was ideal for reducing waste.

With the growing demand for organic, vegan, and sustainable options in personal care, we thoughtfully chose our ingredients, scents, and colors for those seeking high-quality, environmentally conscious soap options.

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