Lippincott Soap Co. ~ FAQ
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What is handmade soap?
Handmade soap is just that--it's made by hand....and so much more! There are two different methods of making handmade lye soaps--"cold process" and "hot process'. We use mostly the cold process method but sometimes use hot process depending on the effect we are trying to acheive.
The type of soap Grandma made is called “cold process” soap. It is made by combining oils or fat and sodium hydroxide (lye) together. The chemical reaction that is created from combining the oils and/or fat and lye is called “saponifaction.” During saponification, the oils and lye mix and become soap. The entire process from mixing to curing takes 4 to 6 weeks. Cold process soap is known for its hard, long lasting quality and wonderful moisturizing properties. The types of oils, additives (such as herbs, exfoliants, etc.) and butters used in the process determine the kind of properties the soap will have.
"Hot process" soap is made in very much the same way as "cold process". The only difference is that heat is added to help speed up the "saponification" process along. "Hot process" soaps retain all of the skin-loving qualities as "cold process" soap.
You use lye in your soap?!? Doesn't lye burn your skin?
When people hear the word "lye" they often think of a toxic, dangerous chemical that can burn the skin. And, of course, they would be right! Lye is a dangerous chemical when left in it's unaltered state, BUT it is also a vital component in the soap making process. All of our soaps are made with oil, liquid (usually water), and of course sodium hydroxide or "lye". Lye changes the chemical make-up of oil so that the oil and the water can blend together and become soap. You can't have soap without the chemical reaction that lye produces. But don't worry! The lye is transformed in the soapmaking process.There is absolutely no lye left over in any of our handmade soaps. The only thing that remains is a wonderful, "good-for-your-skin" bar of soap.
Why should I use handmade soap instead of soap I get at the grocery store?
Soap that you buy in the grocery store pales in comparison to handmade soap. It is a massed produced product made in huge batches (we're talking 250,000 pounds or more) where the skin-loving glycerine is removed and fillers are added. They are often full of chemicals and synthetic detergents which can dry out your skin. When we make our handmade lye soaps we make them in small batches (usually around 9 pounds) to insure that the quality of our soaps remains high. Also, all of the skin-loving glycerine remains in the soap. This makes a very gentle, moisture rich bar of soap.
Next time you reach for that synthetic bar of grocery store soap turn it over and read the label. If you can't pronounce the ingredients and don't know what they are, do you really want to spread it all over your skin....the largest organ of your body?
Ok, ok...I get it!...Handmade soap is great for my skin, but why is it more expensive?
Our handmade soaps are made with the finest oils and ingredients. Making our soaps is a very labor intensive process. All of our small batches are measured, mixed, scented, poured, and cut by hand. When we say our soap is handmade, we really mean it! Our soaps have to cure for a month before they can be wrapped and sold, so a lot of time also goes into our soaps. And because you are getting a product made with the love and attention that we give each batch, you know that you are getting the very best.
Why do you use different kinds of oils in your soaps?
We use different kinds of oils in our soaps because each soap has it's own unique qualities. Here is a list of the oils we use in our soaps and the different properties they contribute to our soaps.
Coconut Oil Coconut oil helps to create a harder, longer-lasting bar of soap with beautiful, fluffy lather.
Olive Oil Olive oil attracts moisture to the skin. It helps to soothe irritated, inflamed skin and is very gentle. This oil is high in oleic acid and helps to regenerate the skin.
Palm Oil When used in combination with coconut oil and olive oil, palm oil creates a hard bar of soap. It also helps the soap to resist melting so quickly when used. Palm oil contributes to a nice, stable lather.
Canola Oil Canola oil creates a stable lather in soap and also is a good skin conditioner.
Castor Oil Extracted from the Castor Bean plant, castor oil acts as a humectant, drawing moisture to the skin. It helps to create large, thick bubbles and lots of lather.
Shea Butter Shea butter is wonderful for dry and aging skin. It has been used for thousands of years in Africa for this purpose. It is naturally rich in vitamins A, E & F. Many of our soaps are "superfatted" with Shea butter.
Sweet Almond Oil Known for its intense concentration of oleic and linoleic essential fatty acids, Sweet Almond oil has wonderful penetrating properties. It is a light, moisturizing oil and we often use it in our salt scrubs.
What is "superfatting"?
We sometimes "superfat" our soaps with shea butter or other butters and oils. When we "superfat" with a particular oil or butter it means that more of that ingredient is left over in the final bar for extra benefits.
Besides oils and butters, what else do you use in your soaps?
Sometimes we add extra ingredients to our soaps to create textures and colors. We use all natural ingredients whenever possible.
Oatmeal is a gentle exfoliant and is soothing your skin.
Cornmeal provides extra scrubbiness for pedicure soaps and gardener's soap.
Dead Sea salt is mineral-rich and contains Potassium, Magnesium and Bromide. Potassium regulates skin moisture, magnesium helps in healing, and bromide creates a relaxing effect. Dead Sea salt draws toxins from the skin and relieves muscle aches and pains. It can also aide in the relief of certain skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Poppy seeds are a natural exfoliant in soaps and adds visual texture.
Oxides & Ultramarines are pigments that are FDA approved to be used in cosmetics.
Vitamin E is full of anti-oxidants. It can help decrease the harmful effects of the sun and can aide in the healing of burns. Vitamin E heals acne and promotes the healing of wounds and scars. We most often use Vitamin E in our creams and scrubs.
Fragrance oils and Essential oils are used to create the lovely scents of our soaps, scrubs and creams.
What is the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils?
We use both fragrance oils (FOs) and essential oils (EOs) in our bath products. If essential oils are used, it will be listed on our ingredients list. If fragrance oils or used, the ingredients list will just say "fragrance".
Fragrance oils are synthetictically produced fragrances. There is a wide variety of scents available in fragrance oils. Using fragrance oils allows us to get beautiful, exotic and unique scents. Fragrance oils allow us to provide such scents as Lilac that cannot be extracted from the natural flower. The only limit to fragrances in fragrance oils is your own imagination. When using FOs, we only use the minimal amount to get enough fragrance in our products. We are aware of the fact that some of our customers are sensitive to "strong" fragrances, so we keep that in mind when making our products. If you are very sensitive, you may want to stick with our naturally unscented soaps ("Plain Jane" and "Oatmeal Shea") or use our products made with essential oils.
Essential oils are oils that are extracted directly from plants. Some essential oils actually contain beneficial plant properties. For those customers who appreciate an "all natural" soap, we recommend using our soaps that contain essential oils instead of fragrance oils.
Here are some of the benefits of certain essential oils (although we cannot and do not make these claims on any of our products):
Chamomile is used for relaxing and preventing insomnia. It is also said to be good for anti-spasming properties and relief of headaches.
Citronella is often used as an insect repellant. It has a bitter lemon-like fragrance.
Eucalyptus is a very strong essential oil. The scent is used to help clear the sinuses and respiratory system.
Lavender is used for its calming, relaxing effects. It is great for baby products to calm a cranky baby (or a cranky mommy).
Lemongrass is commonly used in for acne and as an insect repellant. It smells like an earthy lemon.
Litsea is a wonderfully uplifting citrus fragrance. It can be used to combat acne and oily skin.
Orange Valencia is a light fragrance that lifts your mood.
Peppermint is said to improve mental performance, pain thresholds, and digestion just by smelling it. It also wakes you up in the morning shower.
Rosemary is used for decongestion and muscle pain. It is also a stimulating and energizing scent.
Tea Tree is a natural antiseptic. It is used for acne and as an ant-fungal agent in foot products.
How long do handmade lye soaps last?
Handmade soaps tend to be softer than their "grocery store" counterparts. Even though our handmade soaps are made with palm oil and other "hardening" oils that create a longer lasting handmade soap, they do not last quite as long as mass produced soaps made with drying chemicals. One bar of our soap lasts a family of four about three weeks, but it will vary greatly on how often it is used and how it is stored between uses. Also, if you don't plan on using the soaps right away you should store them in a dark, cool place to help preserve the fragrance (a clothes drawer works nicely and makes your clothes smell great, too).
How can I make my handmade soap last longer?
Great question! How long our soaps last depend a lot on how you take care of them. Handmade soaps will last longer if they are kept out of standing or running water. They should be kept on a grooved soap dish with draining holes and allowed to dry between uses. When your soap becomes a small sliver simply put it in a sock (yes, a sock) and continue to scrub away. Our soaps are good to the last little bit!
How long do your salts scrubs and body souffles last?
A little goes a long way with all of our products, so you should get a lot of use out of each. Because our scrubs and souffles are made out of natural oils and butters they should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place when not in use. Our oils tend to have a long shelf life and our butters (like shea and cocoa) have about a 6 month shelf life when stored properly. All of our "time sensitive" products have a "use by" date to insure that you are getting the freshest products possible.
Why do your soaps vary in weight and shape?
As we mentioned before, all of our soaps are hand-mixed, hand-poured, hand-cut, and hand-wrapped. They do vary slightly by size and weight because of the nature of making handmade soaps. We believe that the "handmade" look to our soaps adds to the unique character of our products.
Do you test on animals?
No. The only animals we test on are our friends and family.