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These are some of the many questions we’re been often asked over the years
at the Farmers’ Market and the shows we participate in. However, if
you’ve got a question that you think we should add to this Q&A list,
let us know. Thanks.
Q. What do you mean by handcrafted soap?
A. Another word might be
‘handmade’; small batches put together in the kitchen or shop by your
friendly neighborhood soapmaker. Some soapers may have larger operations
than others, but it’s still a far cry from your commercial
Q. Is there really any difference
between the standard store bought soap and a handcrafted bar?
handcrafted bar of soap should be mild, moisturizing, gentle on your
skin and very long lasting. It won’t dry your skin out. A lot of
commercially-made soap has no soap in it - it is made with inexpensive
detergents that bubble and lather, giving the impression of actual soap.
Many of our allergies come from our bath products. However people that
are concerned about allergies will usually have no problems with
handcrafted soaps. These soaps are a natural product. And finally, if
you have a question, just ask the soapmaker (try that at Wal-Mart).
Q. Why does a
handcrafted bar of soap last longer than usual commercial bars?
commercial bars are intentionally dehydrated in the manufacturing
process. Not so with handcrafted soaps. Set both in a wet environment
and the commercial bar absorbs water much more quickly, hastening it’s
Q. What is the base for your soaps?
A. The base of all our
soaps is olive oil, coconut oil, soy shortening, and palm kernel flakes.
Then, before blending all the oils together, we add a little bit of raw
silk to the lye water in order to give the soap a silky smooth feel.
Q. Do you use animal fats in your soap?
A. No, we do not use any
animal fats in our soaps. Your old time soaps were always made with
animal fats, mainly tallow (beef fat) or lard (pig fat). After all,
that’s what was available on the farm or ranch.
Q. Why doesn’t the use of lye make the
soap harsh to use?
A. Lye is used to make the
soap, but there is no lye in the soap. Lye is the catalyst that changes
all the fats and oils—whether animal or vegetable based--into soap. When
handcrafted soap is properly made and cured, the soap no longer contains
lye. The chemical reaction that it goes through--called saponification--has
converted the alkali (lye), water, and oils and fats into saponified
oils and fats and glycerin. The end result is a wonderful bar of
handcrafted soap that is three quarters soap and one quarter glycerin.
Glycerin is a natural by product of the lye soap making process.
Q. So therefore, glycerin is in all
A. No. With the exception of
the short-lived 100% glycerin soaps, all your commercial soap producers
extract the glycerin in the manufacture process and sell it as a
byproduct to the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, or other industries. Then
they’ll add an emollient or vitamin E or whatever and say theirs’ is
enriched. They would have been better off if they’d just left the
glycerin in the soap.
Q. What’s the difference between
essential oils (eo’s) and fragrance oils (fo’s)?
A. Essential oils are derived
from a plant. They are the highly concentrated natural essence of a
particular plant obtained through a distillation process. Fragrance oils
are man made scents. Whereas fragrance oils are developed strictly for
their scent, the more complex essential oils have further uses. Some are
used in aromatherapy, some have medicinal purposes and some you can even
cook with. For more info on essential oils, please check out Valerie
Worwoods book listed on our Essential Oils page.
Q. Do you ever teach anybody how to make
A. Yes, we’ve conducted many a
soapmaking class over the years. There’s even a few soapmakers in the
business that learned it from Charlotte. We’ve had classes here at the
house and at schools, libraries, church halls and at peoples homes
throughout central and eastern Oklahoma. If you’re interested, email or
give us a call and we’ll see what we can work out.
Choose From Our Soap Collections