You may be wondering how all soaps are made. When an oil/fat (olive oil, coconut oil, lard) is mixed with an alkaline solution (lye and water), an exothermic chemical reaction takes place called saponification. During saponification, the oils and alkaline solution neutralize each other (when used in proper ratios), and the end products are a salt (soap) and glycerin. Some large manufacturers remove the glycerin because it is more profitable to sell for other purposes.
Most, if not all, hand made artisan soap makers choose to leave the glycerin in their soap for its added skin softening properties. We at Bay Area Raw Soap also add more oil than the lye solution is able to saponify, which means that the extra oil stays suspended in the bar, leaving you with its additional skin moisturizing properties.
One very common method of creating soap is by using heat, this is called the Hot Process Method. The heat speeds up the saponification process, as well as shortens the cure time from weeks to days. We have chosen to use a method called Cold Process. No additional heat is used to speed the process of saponification. We mix our lye solution with plant based oils and pour them into a mold. After the soap has set, we then cut it by hand into bars, and allow it to cure for 4-6 weeks. This curing stage allows excess water to evaporate leaving a harder, longer lasting bar of soap. We define raw soap as soap that has gone through this process, and is unrefined, and unheated.
We love to add skin loving, raw ingredients to our soap! That could include infusing our oils with rose hips, lavender and/or calendula petals to name a few. Raw, organic carrot or cucumber juice make a great addition to our soap as well. Some of our soaps include natural clays that leave your skin feeling so soft as they gently exfoliate.