Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Introducing: Sopalotta Sudzy Soap

In the next few weeks, I plan to officially launch my new soap business.  I call it Sopalotta Sudzy Soap.  You can thank my husband for the alliteration.

I've been hard at work all winter testing recipes and making soap.  Here's a little information about  my soaps. 

My soaps are just that: soap.  Soap that gets you clean.  They are real soap.  Not detergents derived from petrochemicals.  There aren’t any added preservatives.  My soaps are made with water or other liquid, various oils, some have fragrance, some have colors, and all of them have lye.

Yes.  Lye.  You can’t make soap…real soap…without lye.  Here’s how I make mine:

The soaps made in the Sopalotta shop are created using the ‘hot process’ method of soap making.  The ingredients for each batch are carefully weighed, mixed, and gently cooked to speed the reaction of the lye with the soaping oils to completion.  This process allows for a shorter time from batch creation to shower or sink.  By the time the soap is poured from pot to mold, the reaction is complete and only a few days of drying time are needed before the soap is ready to package and use.

Every batch is oil heavy.  That means that there is an excess of oil added to the recipe to ensure that all the lye is used up by the time it’s done cooking.  We call that ‘superfat’ in the soap making industry.  I use sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, shea butter, and avocado oil to superfat my soaps.

There are several different recipes available from Sopalotta.  The very first kind of soap I ever made was a bastile type.  What’s a ‘bastile’ you ask?  I started out wanting to make a very gentle soap called Castile.  Castile soap is made from lye and olive oil and water and that’s it.  The trouble with castile soap is that it’s not very hard and it doesn’t last very long.  So some soapers add a little bit of another oil to make the bar harder and thus it lasts a lot longer.  But if it’s not 100% olive oil, you can’t really call it a Castile, can you?  So the soapers started calling it a bastile.  My bastile soaps are over 90% olive oil.
Left: Soap made with buttermilk and carrots.  Right: Soap made with honey. No added colorants here.

Most of my soaps are free of added colorants.  I prefer the rustic and more organic-looking results of the process without dyes or colors.  Some of my soaps will have a little mica colorant to add some visual interest and a little sparkle here and there.  The search for natural colorants is an ongoing process.
Left:  Soap with mica colorant and hibiscus flower powder.  Right: Same soap recipe without colorant added.

I use both essential oils and fragrance oils in my soaps.  Where possible, I prefer to use essential oils over the fragrance oils because the fragrance oils tend to be artificial creations.  But, there are just some scents you can’t get in an essential oil—like a lot of the floral fragrances.  Additionally, some are prohibitively expensive for use in the quantities required for soap making—such as sandalwood.  Sandalwood essential oil is available.  But the soaps would be very, very expensive.

The goal at Sopalotta Sudzy Soap is to create a soap for every body.  From toddler to granddad, we have a soap to get you clean. 

In the next few days, I'll publish a post or two about the different soaps I will have available for purchase on my yet-to-be created website.  I'll also do a post on what got me started making soaps in the first place.  So stay tuned!

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