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Why Does Handmade Soap Need to Cure?

Posted on 09 July 2015

by Carrie

If you're a frequent user of our bath soap you'll probably have the frustrating experience at some point of trying to order your favorite bar, only to discover that it's out of stock.  While we do our best to keep all of our products in stock at all times, the nature of handmade soap can make this a bit of a challenge.  Recently, we (and many of our customers) have confronted this deficit, specifically in regards to our Gusto bath soap.

We underestimated the popularity of Gusto and sold out of the bath soap quickly!  We realized our shortcoming, but not soon enough to keep a continuous stock available for everyone.  Though we made a few more batches right away, some of our customers still had to wait weeks to snag a bar.  Why, you may wonder?  We can blame the hold-up on The Cure.  

A few days ago we shared a little behind the scenes of our bath soap making session, up until the point where we put the soaps "to bed".  What we didn't show was what happens next, namely the cutting and curing of the loaves.  Soap made via the Cold Process method (as we do) requires a cure time, which can last up to 4-6 weeks, depending on a number of factors.  So once the bars are cut, they get put on our curing cabinet (with a tag stating their name/date) where they will remain until they're ready to be sold.  

One side of the curing cabinet our oldest son made for us

This is the really hard part (especially for less-than-patient people), but definitely worth it.  During their weeks of undisturbed rest excess moisture in the bars evaporates, leaving a firmer, harder, longer-lasting bar. (A bar of handmade soap used too soon will "melt" more quickly than it ought.)  Additionally, the pH will change slightly over time, with the resulting bar imparting a more gentle feeling to the skin.  

A bar of handmade soap is safe to use after just a few days, but it won't be at or near its best.  And that's the reason we wait so long after they are made to sell our bars.  It's important to us to always give you our best...our best effort, our best attitude, and our best products.  We know that handmade soap is at its best after a few weeks of curing so we're committed to waiting out that time period.  And we're grateful for your patience and understanding as we strive to provide you with the quality of products you deserve.

In closing, I just wanted to add that we do try to anticipate the demand for products and make provisions for keeping the appropriate number of units in stock.  Up until now, we've been somewhat limited in this capacity due to space issues.  However, we are currently in the process of creating a dedicated soaping space at the our next home and hope that that will enable us to keep a better supply of products (specifically the bath soap) on hand in order to avoid the "out of stock" frustrations.

Have you tried a bar of handmade soap?  If so, do you think it's worth the wait?

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