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Making Handmade Soap Bars

How long does it take to make a handmade bar of natural soap? 

The actual process of physically making the soap is quite short. Depending on the batch size it can take anything from 1-2 hours as I have to wait for the oils to cool down before I mix everything together.  

Once in the mould I leave this for 24 hours, before waiting a further 24 hours before cutting into slices.  

Another 12 -24 hours is required before stamping with the logo, then the soaps are placed onto the curing rack.  

This is where you have to be patient and leave the soap bars for the curing process to complete. This could be anything up to 6 weeks! This time is crucial to providing a good, long lasting, hard bar of soap.

How should I care for my handmade soap bar? 

Natural handcrafted soaps do need a bit of extra care to ensure that they stay fresh and fragrant for as long as possible. It is a good idea not to leave them sitting in water so always use a soap dish with good drainage (the wooden dishes with open slats are perfect). 

How long will my handmade soap bar last? 

It depends greatly on usage but on average a bar of soap should last between 3-4 weeks based on one person's usage.

What ingredients do you use in your handmade soap bars? 

All the ingredients are listed on each individual soap pages but the base recipe for all my soaps includes Coconut oil, Olive oil, Shea butter and Castor oil.  

Please keep checking the blog posts for updates on ingredients used. 

How many variations of handmade soap bars do you offer? 

All my handmade soap bars have the same base recipe.  

There is a soap bar that is totally unscented and then a further 8 variations that are permanently in the range with different essential oil blends, botanicals or clays added.  

I also release limited edition scents throughout the year so keep checking the website and social media for seasonal ranges.  

What is natural soap? 

This is a tricky question as ‘natural’ means different things to different people. It depends a lot on what your views are. For The Wrinkly Elephant Company, natural is about using ingredients as much as possible that are derived from plants and nature.  

What method of handmade soap bar making do you use? 

It is called the cold process soap method. This is a traditional method of making soap that involves only using the heat from adding the oils and Lye together (saponification process). This allows us the time we need to create great designs for our soap. Check out my social media channels to see how the magic happens! 

Your ingredients list mentions allergens. What are these? 

By law we must declare the allergens that could be present in the soap. These come from using the essential oils and are usually a harmless substance, but they can sometimes trigger an allergic reaction. 

Do you use Palm oil? 

No.  

Do your soaps lather? 

Yes, they do. We have chosen the oils to use in my recipes carefully to create a moisturising, creamy bar of soap.  Each oil has a profile of its benefits and we have spent months testing and adjusting the recipe to find a creamy bar of soap that we love and so do our customers. 

Do you use Lye? 

Yes. Lye or Sodium Hydroxide is a caustic substance. Real soap cannot be made without using Lye. The soap making chemical reaction called saponification happens when lye is mixed with melted fats, butters or oils.   

During the cold process soap making method the lye transforms the fats into salts and the salts are soap.  When used correctly, soap that is made with Lye is one of the mildest gentlest forms of soap available. 

Measuring out the correct ingredients is an important part of the soap making process.  We measure with precise accuracy to ensure that only the correct amount of Sodium Hydroxide is used to saponify the oils in our batch.  In all our soap we leave a superfat of 8% which means that we leave 8% of our oils un-saponified to make it an extra nourishing bar of soap. 

How are my products tested? 

Initially, I test out my products to see how they perform and whether I like them. This can take many months, testing out different ingredients, adjusting the amounts and ratios, testing out packaging for the item plus many other considerations. Finally, when I’m happy with the product I then send the details of the product to be assessed to a Cosmetic safety assessor. 

Legally all products that come into contact with the skin must be tested by a chemist. Once I have had the report back from them, then I must list the products along with ingredients and packaging on a UK portal. This is so that emergency services and the Poisons centre can access details about my products if ever anyone was admitted to hospital with a severe reaction. They can then access the information quickly to treat the patient. This is very rare and it is there as a safety precaution.