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What is Special About Handmade Soaps?

What is soap?

Soap is created in a chemical reaction between oils and fats (fatty acids) and a strong base (caustic alkali) in a process called saponification. The resulting alkali salt of a fatty acid is what we non-chemists call "soap". Soap has cleaning properties. Specifically, it is surfactant, which means it reduces water tension allowing water to spread more freely across a surface. And soap functions to loosen, disperse in water (emulsify) and hold soil in suspension until it can be rinsed away.

The fatty acids in Tambela soaps are high quality vegetable oils and butters for an extravagantly moist and mild soap even for sensitive skin. Oils and butters are a combination of 3 fatty acids and a glycerol molecule (a triglyceride). The specific properties of the soap, such as its hardness, lather, cleaning ability, feel and conditioning depend on which fatty acids make up the oils and how they are attached to the glycerol. Knowledgeable blending of different oils and butter takes advantage of the best properties of each ingredient to produce a luxury bar of soap.

Saponification, then, is the chemical reaction between triglyceride and sodium hydroxide- the strong base used for manufacture of solid soaps- that produces soap and a by-product, glycerin.

Why buy handmade soaps?

Did we mention glycerin? Oh yes, of course. The chemical process that makes soap also makes glycerin. Glycerin is a natural emollient that improves lather and provides a soap that is gentler to the skin. Small batch hand-crafted soaps retain their glycerin. Large scale commercial soap production typically extracts the glycerin because its worth more sold separately.

Good quality handmade soaps also frequently use "superfatting". That means they add a little extra oil that doesn't get saponified. The extra oils further help to protect your skin from drying out. Tambelaģ soaps typically are formulated with 5 to 7% superfatting using soothing emollient natural oils that absorb readily into your skin such as shea butter, avocado butter, jojoba oil, olive oil and buttermilk included for their superior mildness and skin-loving properties.

Commercial soaps frequently contain large percentages of filler, detergents and synthetic foaming agents. Products labeled beauty bars, deodorant bars, or even soap bars, may not actually have much, if any, soaps in them at all, but are formulated with synthetic detergents that strip moisture and protective oils from your skin.

Is your skin dry and itchy?

Maybe you've blamed eczema when the real cause of dry, itchy skin is the "soap"/detergent bar in your shower. Give handmade soaps a try for a couple of weeks. You will notice the difference. Tambela soaps, made from scratch with high quality ingredients, leave your skin feeling great.

Do Tambela soaps contain lye?

Nope, but they are made with lye. Lye is sodium hydroxide (or potassium hydroxide if liquid soap is being made) and that is the alkali used in soap-making. All real soap is made with lye, but properly formulated soaps consume all the lye in the chemical reaction that makes soap. If someone tells you that lye wasn't an ingredient in the soaps they sell, either they are not selling real soap or they are misinformed about the product they are selling.

Why don't Tambela soaps smell as strongly as many other handmade soaps?

Many otherwise natural, handcrafted soaps use artificial fragrances to achieve a scent that we, frankly, find overwhelming. Our soaps derive their scent from pure, aromatherapy-grade essential oils of plant materials distilled from nature. In the hot bath or shower, these volatile oils surround you with subtle aroma.

You won't find any artificial colorants, fragrances or detergents in our soaps.

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