Do you make all your soaps yourself?
With help from my (adult) son. The soaps are all made by hand in a small workshop in the Lothians, Scotland.
What is the cold process soap making method?
Cold Process soap is made by combining fatty acids (in oils, nut butters etc) with alkalis (in a solution of water and sodium hydroxide). This forms a chemical reaction -“saponifaction” - where all of the sodium hydroxide is taken up and converted, along with most of the oils, into soap. Some excess oils remain in the bar "superfatting" - and the process creates glycerine which is also retained in the bar, resulting in a very gentle, moisturizing natural soap.
Does it take long to make soap?
Most of the saponification occurs in the first 24 hours. So after mixing and pouring it is left overnight in the moulds. Then cut a day or two later and left to dry out or "cure" for a few weeks before being wrapped.
What are the benefits of this sort of soap?
With Planet Soap, the ingredients are about as simple as they can be - saponified plant oils. The only additives are essential oils (from herbs and flowers) and sometimes plant roots, seeds and leaves to add colour or exfoliation. No animal products, parabens, detergents, surfactants, artificial fragrances or artificial colours. The simple soap is kind on the skin, and long lasting, and the deliciously pampering essential oil scents last throughout the bar. Planet Soap bars are also kinder to the environment, made in small batches with minimal processing. Being biodegradable they can even be used when wild camping.
Aren't most soaps natural these days?
No. Lots will trade on containing some natural ingredients, but mass produced bars generally contain detergents, surfactants, artificial fragrance oils and colours, alcohol, animal fats etc.
Do the therapeutic properties of the essential oils survive the saponification process?
Hard to answer definitively as there is no research into this. Soapmakers are regulated on the amounts of essential oil to use on the assumption that potentially harmful properties (in the wrong quantities) survive saponification. And so it is likely that some beneficial properties survive too. Many of the wellbeing benefits of essential oils come through their scent, and the scent properties do survive saponification beautifully. In a soap bar essential oils can be cleansing, refreshing and feel calming or uplifting etc. However for full therapeutic benefits of essential oils a visit to an aromatherapist is recommended.
Can essential oils be dangerous?
If used in the wrong quantities, or in the wrong ways, then yes they can be. Planet Soap is guided in their use by a strict chemists safety assessment. A few people may be sensitive to certain essential oils and so allergen information is provided both in the online product information and in the labeling of the bars. If you have particularly reactive skin, the nettle soap or the baby soap may be the one to go with.
Is your soap safe for babies and small children?
The scents may be too strong for small children, and so only the Planet Soap Baby Soap is recommended for babies and children under 36 months.
Are your soaps suitable for for vegetarians & vegans?
Yes. With the exception of the Honey & Oats soap, which contains Scottish Honey, only plant based ingredients are used, and nothing tested on animals.
What oils do you use and why?
I use olive oil, coconut oil and eco palm oil in a balance that creates a moisturizing soap with a good lather in a long lasting bar. Due to environmental concerns, I only use certified ethically sourced palm oil.
How do I look after my soap?
Keep it nice and dry between uses, in a draining soap dish, and it should look after itself. Store in the open air or natural materials such as a paper bag. Don't be tempted to wrap it in plastic as natural soaps need to breathe.
How long will it last before using? Stored well it will last for years, in terms of being an effective soap, but it will gradually lose some of its fragrance, shrink a little and become harder and more brittle over time.
Why are the labels on the soap written in Latin? To comply with skincare regulations. The Latin labeling means the ingredients can be read by people with different first languages. A plain English version can be viewed on the products page.