Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Recently, I had a conversation with a casual acquaintance who heard that I make soap. This person asked, “Why do you bother? There are a lot of soaps on the market, that clean and don’t cost a lot.” To which I replied, You can buy that. I choose to put clean, high quality, and less harsh. I’m not comfortable putting unpronounceable chemicals and detergents on my skin anymore. [For comparison and explanation of manufactured soap ingredients and one of Surprise Elements bars, read “Why Do People Prefer Handmade Soaps over Manufactured Soaps?“]
So, What’s special about artisan soaps?
Artisan/handmade soaps is Oils (Fatty Acid) + Water + An Alkali substance (lye) = saponification aka soap. Soap doesn't need any preservatives in it but needs lye because otherwise, the soap will not form at all.
Artisan the word itself means a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand. An artisan soap maker enjoys the work and carves/shape it carefully with love like olden times, probably the Egyptians might be the last ones doing this purely for cleansing not only from inside but outside too. Not just the soap making process itself but the whole process of curing the soap that takes around 4-6 weeks. An artisan soap maker takes care of her/his soap like a mother takes care of her child.
Check out the video of the making of soap at our Studio.
THE GLYCERIN GAME
That comes in abundance and is a natural byproduct of artisan soap, it is a humectant—it attracts water and seals moisture into the skin. Glycerin is also an emollient, making skin not only moist but also soft to the touch. In commercially manufactured soaps you will not find glycerin as they use other chemicals and detergent to replace it. Where does it go, you ask? Read a detailed blog: Difference between A Handmade Soap & Store-Bought Manufactured soap
Handcrafted soaps are made with oils, kinds of butter, and additives (like milk, honey, herbs, salts, activated charcoal, and oats, etc) that are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that have been used in natural skincare for thousands of years, from Egyptians. Surprise Elements carefully choose to get the best out in the final product. We try using products, which are mostly organic ingredients in every batch, but as they cost a lot, we do prefer local ingredients as well to keep the cost down so the products can be affordable by you'll.
SCENT, ESSENTIAL OILS, & FRAGRANCES
Scents in handmade soaps are mainly for the aromatherapy purpose or that feel-good factor. Surprise Elements use organic essential oils only. The oil evaporates and the scent fades out over a while, but the soap still does the job of cleaning though. We have also got feedback to make customize stronger scent fragrances. Different people have different choices, which can only be fulfilled by an artisan soap maker.
COLORANTS & ADDITIVES
Colorants are mainly clays and pigments, but at our studio, we do like to have fun at times with natural herbs and roots infusions or food at times like beetroot, carrot & pumpkin puree or cocoa) Then there are mica powders as colorant; these are finely ground minerals, which are cosmetic-grade although lately, I am preferring to stay with organic and natural items. I urge to all artisans that stick to clays, herbs & roots infusions. It can be restrictive in terms of designing but it’s good for the skin & the environment.