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About Violet Crown Soap

Made from Scratch
I make everything - soap, lotions and other bath goodies - from scratch, in small batches, in our home in Austin, Texas. That means that I start with raw ingredients and make everything ourselves. I don't use any commercial bases or pre-made products. I use only plant-based oils and fats in our soaps.

Why Use Handmade Soap?
What are you washing with today? Is your soap really soap? Check the label. Does it say body bar, cleansing bar, or beauty bar? Then it's probably detergent. Same for liquid hand cleaner and shower gel. Read the labelÖif you dare! Violet Crown handmade soaps are rich and nourishing because they are made with ingredients like olive oil, cocoa butter and shea butter, that help your skin work the way it is meant to work.

Glycerin is the magic ingredient in real handcrafted soap. I don't add it - glycerin is a natural product of the soap making process. Because of its moisturizing properties, commercial soap manufacturers often remove the glycerin to add to other products. Their product will get you clean but can also leave your skin feeling tight, itchy and dry. Treat yourself to handcrafted soap and you'll notice the difference.

The Process
I make Violet Crown soaps using one of two methods: the traditional cold process method and the CPOP (cold process-oven process) method. Both methods start the same - mixing lye with liquid (usually water), adding fats and oils. The water serves as a medium that allows the lye, a strong alkali, to combine with the fat molecules. In properly made soap, there is no excess alkali - only soap and glycerin.

With cold process method, the raw soap provides its own heat through the chemical process of saponification. It's amazing how hot the curing soap can get on its own. Different ingredients, like oatmeal, honey and goat's milk really heat things up. I pour the raw soap into wooden log molds that help insulate the soap and protect it from chills that can slow down or stop the process.

The CPOP method applies external heat to help the process along. During cold spells, I put the wooden soap molds in the oven, at a very very low temperature for an hour or so. This gives the saponification process a gentle nudge.

Violet Crown soaps are handcut, so weights may vary slightly. Each bar weighs approximately 5 ounces. I cure each batch of soap from two to four weeks after itís cut. Some soaps require longer curing times, particularly if they contain scrubbies like Gardener's Soap or Kitchen Soap. Curing provides extra time to ensure that the chemical process is complete. You can use soap after a couple of days but well cured soap lasts longer and lathers better.

Does Handmade Soap = Natural Soap?
No. Handmade soap, made from scratch by a soap maker, can contain many things.

Some Violet Crown soaps are all natural. I make soaps with no added color or fragrance, and some that contain only essential oils and/or natural (plant or mineral derived) colorants. But because I choose to use fragrance oils in some of our soaps, I cannot and will not make the claim that all Violet Crown soaps are all natural. I list all ingredients so you can make an informed decision.

Soap Care
With proper care, handmade soaps can last longer than commercial soaps. Use a soap dish that will allow your soap to drain, and allow your soap to dry between uses. If your soap sits in water, it will turn to mush.

Using a washcloth, shower sponge or loufa will also help soap last longer. Using a shower sponge also creates fantastic lather - enough to rival any shower gel or body wash, but without surfecants or detergents.

Keep unused soap in a cool, dry place, like the linen closet or a drawer with lingerie or sweaters. It's a good idea to use any soap within 6 months of purchase. It will last a long time, but it won't stay fresh forever.

Handmade soap is a simple pleasure. Yes, it costs more than what you find on the grocery store shelf, but aren't you worth it? Try a bar today - your skin will thank you for it.