Our Cold Process Soap

No lye = no soap!

fat lye in soap

First of all, sodium hydroxide (NaOH or lye or caustic soda) is an absolutely necessary ingredient for making soap, but none of it remains in the final bar. By definition, soap consists of natural animal fats and/or plant oils combined with some form of lye, usually sodium hydroxide (which is a white, water-soluble, solid, caustic compound sometimes known as caustic soda). No lye = no soap!

Our cold process all natural handmade soap is true soap as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration, where a fatty acid from vegetable or animal origin chemically reacts with an alkali to produce a sodium salt that we know as soap. Yes, soap is a salt! The alternatives to our REAL soaps are the mass-produced bath or beauty bars which are actually synthetic. All natural handmade soap is quite different from, and much kinder to our skin than, industrial or commercial soap because more fat is used to totally eliminate the sodium hydroxide, and the natural glycerin is not harvested out of the soap (as is done by commercial soapmakers). 


What is commercial “soap”?

Most commercial soaps are harsh and will dry & irritate your skin if you use them for any length of time, no matter what the label says. In fact. most commercial body care products are full of synthetic chemicals we would all probably be better off not slathering all over our skin every day.

Commercial soaps are typically made in huge batches from solid detergents and fillers. Interestingly, manufacturers actually remove the natural glycerin, and then refine it, purify it and re-sell it. (FYI, it’s now being used as one of the new bio-fuels.)

The detergents they use contain totally synthetic formulas, although a few are now being made with naturally-derived ingredients. They may clean well, but they contain phosphates, carbonates, silicates, amines, zeolites, sodium EDTA, and sodium sulfates. Tiny quantities of metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, and arsenic can also be present. And then there are emulsifiers, brighteners (compounds able to make items appear whiter), bleaching agents, suds-controlling compounds, perfumes, and dyes. 

all natural handmade soap

Many glycerin soaps are SYNTHETIC!

Additives (such as oil, lanolin, glycerin, aloe) are put into the formula for conditioning or moisturizing. And those cute, clear “glycerin” soaps are also synthetic! The glycerin is actually added to a detergent base. Other ingredients such as honey, exfoliants, botanicals and even decorative items like silk flowers are often added. But this is not true all natural handmade soap per the FDA; they are considered to be cosmetics and regulated accordingly.

Our all natural handmade soaps are gentle to sensitive skin and make a luxurious lather – without drying out your skin.


Our Cold Process Method

The process we use at Croatian Soapworks, and the most popular soap-making process today, is the cold process method, where fats such as olive oil react with lye. Cold process making cold process soapsoap-making is a combination of an art and science. We scientifically calculate the proper amount of lye to be used with our fats to come up with a wonderfully nourishing and skin-conditioning all natural handmade soap. Depending on the oils used, the soap can have great lather (coconut oil has excellent lathering properties), be incredibly mild (olive oil is renowned for its gentle qualities) or be very moisturizing (with the addition of oils such as shea butter, cocoa butter or hemp oil). The combinations are endless.

Oils are heated (or melted if they are solid at room temperature) and combined with a solution of lye and water or other liquid. The mixture is combined with making soapa variety of herbs, botanicals, oatmeal or other nourishing additives such as aloe vera or goat’s milk, along with essential oils. Then we mold it and cool it until “saponification” takes place (or until we have soap). Then it’s cut into bars and cured & hardened until the lye is completely gone. The entire process takes about 6 weeks.

As for essential oils and fragrance compounds, our soaps contain only those ingredients permitted by the standards and restrictions of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA).


Benefits of all natural handmade soap:

    • Natural soaps are commonly made of coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, goats milk or a combination of these and other natural ingredients. They are absolutely natural and skin-friendly. They can also have a beneficial effect on skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and other skin ailments.
    • Using all natural handmade soap will minimize the dry skin you experience after using ordinary “beauty” soap.
    • Natural soaps are normally produced in small batches, which means your soap will be freshly made.
    • Organic soap contains glycerin which is a wonderful skin moisturizer. Glycerin is removed from most commercial soaps.
    • Handmade soap contains mostly all-natural fragrances. These may be essential oils or other natural fragrances, but can occasionally contain a fragrance oil.
    • All natural handmade soap is environmentally friendly.