How to keep your oils fresh longer: Purchase your oils in quantities you can use, cheaper by the dozen isn’t worth it if your oils go rancid before you can use them. They have a short shelf life and keeping them cool and in closed amber bottles will increase their life span. Decanting your oils into smaller bottles when there is more head space than oil remaining in the bottle helps, too. Never use rancid oils in products, soaps or on your skin, these contain free radicals that are unhealthy to you. We are purchasers and more often hoarders of products; my advice is to use it or lose it, no reason to keep it on the shelf like gamma’s china.
Hand-mixing or Stick blender? The smaller your batch of soap, the hotter the oils, and the faster you mix them, the quicker the consistency will change from liquid oils to thickly traced soap. When making small batches at home, it is best to alternate between stirring by hand with a spoon or spatula, and using a stick blender or immersion blender. If you stir by hand alone you might find yourself mixing all day before you see a trace. On the other hand, blending the whole thing too quickly with a stick blender will prevent you from being able to add all your ingredients and get the soap out of the pot and into the mold. Gentle pulses of the stick blender after you add each ingredient, combined with hand stirring throughout, will usually give you the time you need to control the process and get all your ingredients thoroughly combined.
No Lye, No Soap: We are occasionally asked by curious consumers if our soaps contain lye. It is sometimes confusing for users of bar soaps because often sodium hydroxide or “lye” isn’t included on the label. So here’s what’s up. All bar soaps, including ours, are made with lye. A lye and water solution is required to create a chemical reaction in order to “saponify” (which means turn into soap) the oils and turn our vegetable/plant oils into soap. But as our bars cure (or harden) the water and lye evaporate and neutralize the pH of the bar. There is no longer lye in the finished bar, making it safe to use, and is often the reason why you won’t find sodium hydroxide listed on many bar soap labels. Even a melt and pour soap base is made using lye. Sodium Hydroxide is in many things, cured foods as well. To make liquid soap, potassium hydroxide is used instead of sodium. As we often say: No Lye, No Soap. Soap made with lye is not harmful and has been made in this traditional way for centuries.