What is soap?
Cold-Process – How we make our soap
‘Coraleen Skincare’ make our soap using what is known as the cold-process method.
Cold-process soap is the result of a process called ‘saponification’ which naturally occurs when an alkali salt (lye) is mixed with fatty oils such as olive oil or coconut oil (these make up over 50% of our soap bars) and water to create a soap bar that is full of beneficial moisturising properties for your skin.
This is exactly the method of soap making which has been used for thousands of years from as far back as the ancient Egyptians including Cleopatra.
Using the cold-process method allows the lye to be slowly neutralised by the fatty acids in the oils without any heat, in a natural process known as ‘curing’. Curing our soap slowly and gently protects and enhances the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities present in the oils.
In order to maximise the moisturising qualities of the soap, further moisture rich oils are often added in a process known as ‘superfatting’ which ensures that the soap has an excess of naturally occurring glycerin, which leaves the skin feeling smooth and hydrated. 'Coraleen Skincare' include over 15% organic shea butter, castor oil and almond oil in our soap bars for a super soft finish.
During the cold-process method, the fatty acids in the oils (not to be mistaken for acidity in the PH sense of the word) are needed to break down the lye during the curing stage. Fats and oils are all made up of fatty acids such as oleic (extra virgin olive is very high in oleic) or lauric acid (extra virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid) and every oil possesses its own mix of fatty acids which is called the fatty acid profile.
We have made a bar with qualities that are well-balanced for everyday use and through extensive testing we have carefully blended several oils to maximise the best characteristics of each oil.
We have created a soap bar that is firm and long-lasting but that has a great lather, and which cleanses to deliver maximum moisture for your skin.
The full list of fatty acids contained in cold-process soap are lauric, myristic, palmitic, stearic, ricinoleic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids. Each one can bring something different to the process of making cold-process soap.
Essential oils are then often added to the soap and the cold-process method ensures the beneficial therapeutic goodness of these is also fully retained. ‘Coraleen Skincare’ gently extract our own organic essential oils using hydro distillation to ensure they are free from any solvents or anything else that should not be in there.
The entire soap making process is quite time-consuming but this allows a more gradual and gentle saponification. It can take around 4-6 weeks for the soap PH to become safe to use, but we believe that patience is our friend in the pursuit of happy skin.
MILLED PROCESS - COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED
Most commercially made soaps are made using the ‘French’ mill process. To make a milled soap, a form of cold process soap is made. The natural skin-moisturising glycerin is removed from the soap to ensure that it does not damage the mill. It is then shredded, separated, reformed and put through a mill press (often with chemical lubricants) at least three times to form a bar made out of soap flakes. It is very hard and long lasting, but not as soft and luxurious (in our view).
Artificial fragrances are usually added to these milled soaps so they smell intense and desirable. The reason they do not add these when they make the original soap is that these synthetic chemicals do not survive the saponification well and lose their scent. The drawback is that these do not contain any of the therapeutic qualities which are present in essential oils. And in many cases these can damage the skin as they are alcohol based which dries and aggravates sensitive skin. Essential Oils on the other hand retain their natural scents and therapeutic benefits in this process.