When you buy your handmade/ handcrafted/artisian soap do you actually know what you are getting? There are SO many now selling "homemade" soap, whether you buy online, in the store, or at a festival; How do you know what you are getting?
As a crafter of real handmade soap, I thought I would help any one interested know the difference or at least be aware. My soap is handcrafted from scratch, meaning I have the different oils I use and mix them together, no premade base. Heck, I even milk my own goats so when I use the term handmade, it truly is. My recipe will be different than those of others making soap. Soaper's guard that recipe like Fort Knox guards the gold. I can tell you what is in it but the amounts are my secret.
I make what is called "Cold Process" (or CP) soap. This means I heat the oils to melt them, then let them cool to a certain temperature, then add the goat milk and lye. I mix this up and then add my fragrance or essential oil and any micas(for color) or botanicals. That is poured into loaf molds where it sets up. During the set up process, the oils, lye, and goat milk goes through a process called saponification. Saponification is a chemical process, basically everything mixes and comes out something different. So when saponification is complete, there is not a single component, but something new. All the lye and oils have turned into soap. Cold process soap takes around 4-6 weeks to "cure". Curing allows the excess moisture to evaporate making the bar hard. The reason I use this method is all the good stuff (alpha-hydroxys, vitamins, minerals, etc.) in the goat milk doesn't get lost by heating it.
Another process to making soap is the "Hot Process" (or HP) soap. All the ingredients are heated up or cooked so that the saponification process happens quickly. HP soap is useable in days not weeks. I don't use this method for soap, but do use it for my liquids (i.e. shampoo). This is still REAL soap making.
The final process is "Melt and Pour" soap or MP. I am not a fan of this method of "soap making". Basically, someone buys a premade block of soap base (like candle wax), cuts off what they want to use, melts it in a pot, adds fragrance and or colorants, pours it into a mold and waits for it to harden. They then pop it out of the mold and PRESTO you have soap. My issue is the additives and artificial ingredients added to premade bases. Isn't that what you are trying to get away from?
As I stated before, I use raw goat milk from my own herd of dairy goats. I am a purest, I suppose. I like knowing that my animals are well taken care of and healthy happy animals. Some people use milk from other farms, the grocery store, or even powdered goat milk. While there is nothing wrong with using milk from another farm, I like to know that my animals are antibiotic free and have no signs of mastitis (an infection in the mammary system). I drink my raw milk, so I keep things like that out of my milk.
Also, there is no such thing as LYE FREE soap. After the saponification process, the lye is combined with the oils and changed into glycerin soap. But there has to be lye to have soap.
Although, homemade soap is not FDA regulated, I make sure to include the ingredients on the label. Pick up any bar and you can see there are only 7 ingredients plus the scent and any micas or botanicals. I don't believe in adding other ingredients that do not add health benefits to my soap. Some Soaper's add sodium lactate to their bars to make them harder, I have never felt the need to do that.
A sales tactic by a very famous company, touts their soap as "triple milled" which does in fact make the bar harder by pressing out all the moisture from the bar. This can only be done in an industrial factory by a very large machine squeezing the bars of soap under enormous pressure. No thanks. My bars are produced on my farm, no industrial factory in my future.
1 goat is not enough milk to produce lots of soap. Unless, you are adding water to the milk. My bars are 38% goat milk. I don't add ANY water to my recipe, so you get all the goodness! I have a herd of around 50 goats and while I don't milk all 50 at one time, I have plenty of milk to soap, sell, and drink. I sell my excess milk to a pet food store and to breeders of dogs. I even donate to rescues, animal control, and wildlife rehabilitators. Goat milk is a universal milk substitute for all species. It helps with recovery from surgery, malnourishment, whelping, etc. It is especially good for aging pets aiding in digestion and nourishment.
As I said before, KNOW your soap. If you are spending the money for a "handmade" bar of soap KNOW what you are getting besides a lovely fragrance. If you have made it this far and want to know more, I am always here to answer (or try to answer) your questions.