Making Your Cold Process Soap Last Longer in the Shower or Bath

by | Mar 21, 2020 | Cold Process Soap Making | 0 comments

Maybe you have made your own cold process soap and are using it yourself, or you have given or sold it to others and the problem is that it just doesn’t last as long as shop bought soap. You find that it gets soft and soggy easily and washes away so quickly.

Well, there is a good reason for this – shop bought soap is made with surfactants or detergents to create the lather. This gives lovely, plentiful bubbles, but can be harsher and more drying on the skin, which is why cold process soap is so much better for your skin and leaves it feeling softer and less dry.

There are several things you can do to help your soap to last longer.

SOAP DISH, PAD OR SHOWER RACK

The most effective solution to the problem is to allow your soap to fully dry out between uses.

This is a great pad. It is available from some soap suppliers as well as Amazon. I got this one in my local supermarket. I put it on a regular soap dish stand it’s easy to clean.

Here’s another idea…

Soap stand to save your cold process soap from turning to mush

You put your soap on to the spikes and it allows the water to run off and keep it dry.

It’s worth giving friends and customers this advice when you give or sell soap to them. You could always package your soaps with a soap saver of some sort or give a free dish/pad with a purchase of several bars, to encourage people to use them.

MAKE A FIRMER BAR

The other factor to consider is the hardness of your cold process soap. The harder and firmer it is, the longer it will last. Take a look at your recipe and ensure it has a high percentage of hard oils, which are oils that are solid at room temperature, such as palm, and coconut, as well as butters.

Here a couple of good recipes…

Recipe 1

30% palm oil
30% coconut oil
20% olive oil
20% canola oil

Recipe 2

30% palm oil
30% coconut oil
20% olive oil
10% any oil
10% butter

Coconut oil, while very moisturizing to the skin, can be too drying if used in large quantities in soap, so personally I wouldn’t recommend using more than 30%. You can make castile soap with 100% olive oil and it will create a hard bar, but it needs to cure for 6-12 months to avoid that slimy feeling that you can get with it.

HARDENING AGENTS

There are some additives that you can add to your recipe to increase the hardness of your bar. Do not add more than the recommended amount, as you don’t want your bars to become too hard and crack.

STEARIC ACID

This is commonly used as a thickening agent in lotions and creams, but will help make a harder bar when used at 0.5% of you oils. You have to soap at 160°F to keep it melted, which will make your soap trace faster and hotter, so keep this in mind if you’re going to do layers or swirls.

SODIUM LACTATE

This a wonderful product, which helps your soap to harden and release easily from the mold. It is especially useful when you are using silicon molds. I use this in every batch of cold process soap that I make. Use at 1 teaspoon per 1lb or 450g of oils.

SALT

Salt will also help your soap to harden. Use 1 teaspoon per pound or 450g of oils and add it to your water before you add your lye. Salt also creates a rich creamy lather.

BEESWAX

Beeswax can help your soap to harden. Use ¼ -1 tsp per pound or 450g of oils. Beeswax melts at a high temperature, so you will need to soap at 170°F or above. Melt your beeswax with your oils to ensure even distribution.

WATER DISCOUNTING

Discounting the water in your recipe by up to 15% will help it to dry out and cure better and quicker.

CURE YOUR SOAP FULLY

It is best to leave your cold process soap in the mold for 2-3 days, so that it is hard enough to easily remove from the mold. Then allow it to cure in a well-ventilated area for 4-6 weeks, turning regularly so that all sides can dry out. This process allows the water to evaporate completely and the bar to harden. If you do a water discount, you could shorten your cure time.

If your soap still washes away quickly this gives you the perfect excuse to make some more –  as if we need an excuse!

Author - Shona O'Connor

Author - Shona O'Connor

Soap Maker, Course Creator & Blogger

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