Are you one of those people who reacts to almost everything? Someone like that contacted us. She said, "I can't use soap with coconut oil. And I can't use soap with palm oil. It's really hard to find soap I can use without reacting to it.
We took this up as a challenge. Could we make a bar of soap that she can use?
The result is "Darlene's Soap". (Yes, her name is Darlene.)
The three fats/oils we use in this bar are olive oil, castor oil and lard. Why lard? A soap made with only olive oil and castor oil would be very soft, and would readily dissolve away. Lard adds hardness and stability with a stable, creamy lather.
Pioneer women had lovely, soft skin. They protected their skin from the sun, and they used "hot-process lye soap" (which is what we're making) along with the fat (lard) from pigs or tallow (from cows). They definitely did not have access to exotic ingredients such as coconut and palm oils like we do today.
How did this work out for them? Fantastic!
Linda Odom spends five days a week from April to November at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas. She makes and sells lye soap and talks to people about traditional soap making. She said, “It never ceases to amaze me that it is possible to take something as nasty as fat and as caustic as lye and end up with them making a nice mild soap.”
And a nice, mild soap is what we have. Gentle, yet lathering and cleansing, choose this soap if you have very sensitive skin, or if you just want to pamper your skin with gentleness and love.
Lard, Olive oil, Water, Lye, Castor Oil, Sweet Orange Essential Oil
No parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, artificial colours or synthetic fragrances
Lard has been traditionally used over the centuries for making soap - and it makes great soap! It helps the soap to lather well, and it makes the bar harder so that it doesn't dissolve as quickly so it lasts longer.
Olive oil has lots of Vitamins A, D, E and K. Each vitamin has a positive effect on your skin, but Vitamin E is especially great as it is an "antioxidant", which helps to prevent skin damage and may prevent premature aging and sun damage.
Castor oil is one oil I didn't know a lot about. Now I think I should use it by the gallon (or liter!) It has a high fatty acid content which deeply moisturizes, softens and soothes your skin. It stimulates production of that all important collagen and boosts elasticity in your skin. it helps you not to get wrinkles as soon, your skin will look younger, you'll have reduced acne and it's anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-fungal. I could go on and on but suffice it to say, it's a great oil to include in your soap!
Because the bars are handmade, you can expect to see slight differences in the size and weight. After the soap is made, it needs to cure for at least one month. However, after it's cured, some of the moisture in the bar continues to evaporate out. The bar shrinks a little; enough that the label we've wrapped around the bar becomes a bit loose and the weight decreases a little. The bar gets harder, and this is actually better. There is nothing lost from the soap, and it will not dissolve as quickly when it does get wet in a shower or bath.
Each bar is approximately 2 1/2 in. x 2 1/2 in. x 1 in. - or 6 cm. x 6 cm. x 2 cm. Weight is between 3.5 and 4 oz., or between 99 and 113 grams.
Please note that because the soap is handmade, the appearance of soap may not be exactly as shown.
Some of you might be wondering, "Lye? Isn’t lye dangerous? Won’t it harm my skin?”
First - all actual soap is made with lye. No lye, no soap. (A lot of "soap products" in the stores are actually detergent. If you look at the labels, they are not called "soap". They are called "hand wash" or "body cleanser" or some such thing.)
This could become a chemistry lesson, but to make it short - soap is made from lye, fats and liquid. When the lye mixes with the fats and liquid, some kind of chemical reaction goes on, and the lye and fats change into soap and glycerin. In the process, the lye is all used up. Even though lye is used to make the soap, there is no lye left in the soap at all.
This is why soap made with lye is not dangerous, and it definitely won’t hurt your skin.