How We Make Soap.

Ah, the joys of cold-process soap making. Where do we begin?

To start, we'll explain some of the science behind soaping, and our philosophy on the craft.

The Science

The process of soaping is actually quite simple. At the absolute bare minimum, you need base oils (most commonly used: olive oils, coconut oils, palm oils, etc.), a water-soluble alkali, (most commonly used: sodium hydroxide (NaOH)), and distilled water. Combined to the correct ratios, the NaOH reacts with the fatty oils, in a chemical reaction, called 'saponification', to produce soap. 

And in case you were wondering, a properly calculated soaping recipe will produce bars that contain no unreacted / remaining NaOH. In fact, in a technique called, 'superfatting', excess oils are added to the recipe to serve two purposes: 1) they add a bit of buffer room, to ensure that all of the NaOH has indeed reacted with the oils, and 2) the excess oils work to create a bar that is gentler on the skin. 

Now, that's a simple explanation! Think about all of the complexities that arise when you want to make a bar of soap that holds a unique color, scent, or a myriad of other physical properties...

To do this, you'll obviously need some additional ingredients, including, but not limited to, colorants, fragrance or essential oils, toppings, and a great deal of patience and scientific reasoning (soaps don't always turn out how you've envisioned).

Our Philosophy

At Arra Noreen's, we just love the idea of making soap as cleanly as possible (pun intended). By this, we mean that when we're able to use a natural alternative, we will.

All of our soaps are currently made using olive, coconut, sustainably-sourced palm, and mango base oils, mica colorants, and natural toppings. Many of our upcoming soaps exclusively feature essential oils (plant-derived), but others do include fragrance oils.

For a given soap, our reasoning behind using a fragrance, versus essential oil, really comes down to how the scent behaves, and how long the scent lasts, post- curing (the time period between us making the bar, and shipping it to you, our valued customer). We not only want you to have a beautiful looking, but also a wonderful smelling bar! In these situations, if an essential oil simply isn't holding up well post- cure (i.e., the scent has faded significantly), we'll likely replace it with a strong fragrance oil.

For more information on our ingredients, and / or our manufacturing process, please do not hesitate to email us at