The Benefits of Handmade Soap

In your average grocery store, you can find hundreds of soaps available for personal or commercial use, but handmade soaps are a world apart. While slightly more expensive, handmade soaps offer a variety of benefits that make this small luxury worthwhile.

For one, handmade soaps do not strip moisture from the skin the way harsh, commercially fabricated soaps do. Handmade soaps naturally retain the glycerin created during the soap making process, which make them a moisturizing and cleansing balm to the skin. This precious emollient softens skin and helps retain your skin’s natural water balance. In fact, glycerin is so beneficial that commercial soap makers extract the glycerin during the saponification process and reserve it for luxury lotions and pharmaceutical products, leaving their soap with little to none. You will also be able to save money on body lotion when using handmade soaps, since the glycerin retained in the bars will act as a soothing balm and natural lotion.

Commercially made soap is not soap by its true definition, but detergents created from petroleum-based products and scented with chemically charged fragrance oils. The chemical cocktails on offer in large stores are a far cry from the ‘real’ soap-making process. Their ingredients produce a significant amount of lather, which has been marketed as the best way to cleanse the skin, when in reality this heavy lather strips the skin of its natural barrier of oils leaving your skin dry and itchy.
Handmade soap follows a process that is hundreds of years old and uses only a handful of ingredients. They do not lather heavily but their high quality ingredients are gentle on skin. While commercially produced soaps can produce irritating after effects in many users, handmade soaps can be nurturing and beneficial to those with sensitive skin.

Hand crafted soap is often made in small batches, which allows each producer to focus on different uses for each batch. While large-scale soap manufacturing will always produce the same effects, handmade soaps can explore a variety of ingredients, ranging from therapeutic scents to stronger moisturizers and even to medicinal ingredients. Many people have found success in controlling a variety of skin ailments, such as pityrosporum folliculitis, psoriasis, chronic dryness and acne by using handmade soaps.

How to Swirl Your Handmade Soap

​Cold process soaps allow you to manipulate the texture and look of your soaps a lot easier than other methods. You will often see cold process soaps that mimic the look of other textures, like frosting or snow. Cold process soaps also allow you to create the beautifully swirled soaps you see in stores. Since it takes so long for the soap to set and has the consistency of cake batter, the swirls won’t melt together. Learning to swirl cold process soap can take some practice, but is definitely worth it!

There are many ways to swirl your soap and each one requires a different technique, but one thing they all require is good prep! If you want to make a beautiful swirled soap, timing and preparation of your soap area is paramount. Once your saponification process begins, you’ll want to move quickly before the soap batter thickens too much. Have your colorants mixed, your fragrance ready to go and all required tools at hand.

You’ll also want your soap batter to be the perfect consistency. It needs to stay thin long enough for the swirls to set and to do this you’ll need to use lots of slow moving oils. Slow moving oils are oils that are liquid at room temperature, like olive oil and avocado oil.

Soap at slightly cooler temperatures will also help when making complex swirl designs. Most soap is produced at around 110 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but if your soap is less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit you will get better thick trace.

Finally, be careful with your scents! Certain fragrance oils or essential oils can behave strangely in cold process soaps. You will see a variety of issues crop up, like ricing or separation that will really mess with your swirl pattern!

Once you achieve swirled soap, we can almost guarantee that you’ll be hooked. This beautiful soap style is a bit tricky to achieve but will result in truly unique soaps that will stand out from anything else you’ve made.