All of our soaps are made using the cold-process method, in which the pure organic vegetable oils are saponified (transformed into soap) at low temperatures. Saponification is the process of combining the vegetable oils with a strong base (similar to very strong baking soda) in the correct proportions to form cleansing soap and moisturizing glycerin.
In the cold-process method the vegetable oil blend (in our case it is organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, and organic palm oil) is warmed to just above room temperature, then mixed with the base and water to start the saponification. The mixture is stirred constantly and slowly thickens as the oil and base combine to form soap. This gentle method preserves many of the beneficial properties of the organic plant oils and also creates and retains, as a byproduct of the soap reaction, vegetable glycerin, a rich moisturizer used in many lotions. While the soap base is still liquid we blend in essential oils and other botanical ingredients, then pour the mixture into wooden molds where it is covered with blankets and slowly cures.
At just the right moment of firmness, our soap-maker uncovers the molds, flips the loaves out onto smooth tables, and pushes the soap through a series of guitar-string cutters to slice it into various sized bars, from our smallest Hotel Bar to our largest Loaf. The bars are then put onto racks where they cure and harden, a process that takes from four to six weeks depending on the particular blend and size. This allows moisture leftover from the soap-making process to evaporate, creating a firm bar that will stand up to many uses while still lathering easily and rinsing clean.
During the curing process, again at just the right firmness, we can remove the bars from the trays to hand-stamp and bevel them if the customer desires. This is done, bar by bar, with a hammer and brass stamp and various wire trimmers. Then its back to the racks until they are ready to ship.
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