The cold process

The method we use to produce our soaps is the so called "cold process". In this method, the fats and oils are heated only enough to melt and reach the appropriate temperature before they are mixed with the caustic soda solution, without further heating and without boiling the oils. The saponification process is continued for several hours in the molds. This method is a "slow" one, because, among others, a lot of time (many weeks) is required for the soap to dry and "cure" so that it reaches its optimum properties (lather, mildness, long-lastingness). One of the main advantages of this process is that glycerin (a by-product of saponification which is a natural humectant and thus an excellent emollient) is left in the soap and is not removed by boiling and adding salt (as in other methods). Thus, soaps made with this process have increased natural moisturizing properties. Also, since oils are not "cleaned" from impurities by boiling or adding salt, the use of higher quality oils and fats is necessitated, thus contributing to a purer, milder soap.

Superfatting

When making our soaps, we use an extra amount of oils than what is theoretically required to complete the saponification reaction. This way, the extra oil "remains" in the soap after saponification is complete and thus makes the soap milder and more gentle to the skin. This technique is called "superfatting" and is one of the keys to creating mild, gentle and moisturizing soaps.

Curing

After soap is removed from the molds and cut, it has to be left for at least 6-8 weeks (depending on the recipe) to dry and "cure". This curing period is necessary in order for the soap to attain its best qualities in terms of lathering, long-lastingness and mildness.

In the old times...

For obvious money-saving reasons, our ancestors did not use top-quality oils, but instead they used the oils that had been left over from cooking, the residue of olive oils, etc. Thus, they *had* to boil the oils and add salt in order to remove impurities which would otherwise be left in the final soap. Of course, along with impurities, most of the soap's beneficial glycerin was also removed, making the soap harsher to the skin...