Lots of Oil in Soap!

Yep, this is almost 2 quarts (a half gallon!) of oils needed to make one batch of 17 bars. That’s a lot of oil in every bar! Notice the cup of lye water in the background. That is what turns the oils into soap. It is amazing to me that these 3 ingredients – Oil, Water, and Lye can produce a cleansing lather of big fluffy bubbles! It’s magic!

Not exactly magic, but more like chemistry. Every oil has its own unique characteristics, and some are more suited to creating those lush and creamy bubbles we love. When I first started soaping, I used lard – yes, lard! And while it made a great creamy and conditioning soap, it was hard to convince my children that using lard soap was a good thing!

So, I began trying different oils, reading recipes, and determining which oils would make a hard bar with lots of thick cleansing bubbles. Also, the soap needed to rinse clean and leave the skin soft. After some trial and error, the current formula used in Violet Songbird Soap was born. It is castor oil (conditioning), coconut oil (hardness, cleansing, bubbles), olive oil (conditioning, creaminess), and palm kernel oil (hardness, conditioning, creaminess). It does take a lot of oils to make a batch of soap, but the result is a very good bar of soap. Now, even my kids buy it! Coming very soon will be some new autumn soaps, Sarah and Buddy!

Every time I make soap, I think of the generations before me who also made soap by hand. They had to use hand rendered oils (usually from farm animals) and produce their own lye from wood ash. And while I’m glad we don’t share those experiences, there is a kinship in knowing we share the magic!