I've had a GREAT question posed to me about my handcrafted soap ingredients that I'd like to address publicly for clarification 🙂 Thank you for the question!! The question was referring to one of my soap posts, labeled 4 ingredients, where I listed the fats/oils, the essential oils and the seeds for exfoliation. I was asked...."Don't you use lye?"
The short answer is yes, sodium hydroxide actually. All real soaps need sodium hydroxide (lye). It or a variant is required in the initial stage of soap making and has been used for over 5000 years. Here's where it gets a little complicated, so I'll try to simplify as best I can for everyone. In order to make real handcrafted and natural soap you only need 3 ingredients. Fat(either animal or vegetable such as tallow/lard/olive oil etc...), a liquid (water/milk/tea/beer etc..) and lye (sodium hydroxide/caustic soda/potash). Anything other than these ingredients is basically extra in the finished bar.
Here's the interesting part. Once these ingredients are combined, they saponify which means they create a natural chemical reaction called saponification. The 3 combined ingredients actually turn into just 2 ingredients. Glycerol and Fatty acid salt, which combined together is Soap.
Because the raw soap must cure for 4-6 weeks before you can get it from me, any water or lye in the original ingredients is evaporated and has dissipated.
So, yes I use lye in soap making, but no, the bars do not contain lye when you purchase the finished product. 😊
I love answering your questions, so please keep them coming and don't hesitate to ask! 🐝