Is your soap made with lye?

Yes. All soap is made with lye (aka sodium hydroxide). If lye was not used in an artisan soap, it was either a premade soap base or it isn't soap. It is literally impossible to make soap without lye. 

No need to be alarmed, though. Soap is actually the by product of a chemical reaction between an acid (oils and butters) and a base (lye). When the oils and lye are mixed together, a reaction called "saponification" occurs, where the molecules bond together to become soap. Soap makers meticulously calculate precisely how much fatty acids and lye are required to be skin safe. 


Are your soaps vegan/cruelty free?

Some of my soaps are vegan. However, I do use tallow (animal by product) on occasion. Please be sure to check the ingredients listed with the soap to be sure it is compliant with your beliefs. 

I do make sure to purchase only clean ingredients, synthetic micas (not mined with child labor), and responsibly sourced palm oils. 


What is "cold process"?

Cold process is simply a soap making method. There are a handful of ways to make soap (i.e. hand milling, hot process, melt and pour, etc), but the soaps that I create are made with the cold process method.

This involves mixing the oils/butters and lye together at room temperature, and pouring into molds while still at a liquid stage. After 18-48 hours, the soap is unmolded and cut into bars before sitting for 4-6 weeks to cure.


And what is "curing"?

After mixing the oils/butters with lye, they saponify; it's the chemical reaction where they bond together to make soap. Once everything has fully saponified (after about 48 hours), soap is then safe to use.

However, there is still quite a bit of liquid in the soap. Since water is used to dissolve the lye for mixing, the soap needs time for that water to evaporate, leaving behind a firm, shelf stable bar of soap. 

This process often takes between 4 and 6 weeks, dependent on the amount of liquids used. If softer oils, such as olive or almond oil, make up a high percentage of the soap, the cure time can last even longer. And the longer a soap cures, the milder and harder it becomes.

100% olive oil soap, otherwise known as castile soap, is often left to cure for a year! 


If you have any more questions, please feel free to email me at oldempiresoaps@gmail.com!



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