FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You Asked, We Answered
HOW IS SOAP MADE?
Sylvan Soaps are made by combining measured amounts of oils, water and lye. The resulting chemical reaction is called saponification. In simple terms, saponification is the name for a chemical reaction between an acid and a base to form a salt. When you make soap using the cold process soap making method, you mix an oil or fat (which is your acid) with Lye (which is your base) to form soap (which is a salt).
IS LYE SOAP HARSH OR STRONG (LIKE MY GRANDMOTHER USED TO MAKE)?
When measured correctly there is little chance that the soap be harsh. The amount of lye to oils is carefully calculated using known saponification values for each oil. All of the lye is used up in the chemical reaction that creates soap. Using just a little bit of extra oil (around 5-8%), known as superfatting, will ensure that there is no lye left in the soap and this gives the soap some moisturizing qualities.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ESSENTIAL OIL AND FRAGRANCE OIL?
Essential oils are extracted from herbs, flowers, and plants, most often through steam distillation. That involves heating the components until a gas is released, then condensing the gas back into a liquid. It’s a gentle process that ensures the sensitive compounds don’t break down.
However, not everything in nature produces an essential oil – you won’t find strawberry or vanilla. That means there are fewer options to choose from. Citrus essential oils fade in cold process soap, oils like cinnamon and clove can’t be used in leave-on products, and others like juniper berry can’t be used if you’re pregnant or if you have kidney problems.
Fragrance oils are synthetic. They’re created with a mix of aroma chemicals and natural ingredients like essential oils, extracts, and resins.
ARE COLD PROCESS SOAPS SAFE TO USE IF I HAVE ALLERGIES OR SENSITIVE SKIN?
All of the ingredients and processes used to make Sylvan Soaps are generally safe for most people. If you have specific allergies or sensitive skin let me know and I can help you make an informed choice about which soap is right for you. You may want to try using the soap on a small less sensitive area of your skin before using on your face or whole body.
WHY ARE THERE DIFFERENT OILS USED TO MAKE SOAP?
Different oils give different properties to the finished soap. Think of moisturizing, lather, hardness, cleansing and skin nourishing properties. Most oils, with the exception of olive oil or lard, do not make a good bar of soap when used alone. Sylvan Soaps use a combination of primarily Olive oil, Palm oil, Coconut oil, Sunflower oil, Cocoa butter and Castor oil. Other oils are sometimes added to give special properties to a soap.
WHY ARE THE SOAPS NOT WRAPPED IN PLASTIC?
The labels are made from paper, ink, and a bit of glue. This makes the least impact on the environment. The labels can be recycled or composted. Occasionally soaps may sweat if the air is humid. The paper wrapping will allow excess moisture to evaporate. As the soap cures it will lose moisture and the wrapper may become loose. This does not affect the soap. As you wash you will use plenty of water to create lather! (Some soaps may be wrapped in plastic shrink wrap to display a design.)