What Factors Affect The Shelf-Life of Handmade Soap?
Handmade soaps usually get better with age, but there are some factors that are responsible for changes in the soap or may affect the shelf-life over time.
1. Are the soaps scented with pure plant essential oils or synthetic fragrance oils?
2. Are the soaps colored with nature's botanicals or synthetic coloring agents?
3. How are the soaps formulated?
4. What ingredients are used to make the soap?
1. Essential Oils:
Why are the scents not as strong as other soaps I have tried?
* Our soaps are gently scented with pure essential oils. Our goal is not to overpower your senses, but to provide a nice subtle aromatherapy experience as you bathe or shower.
* Furthermore, the scents of pure essential oils fade much faster than those from synthetic fragrance oils. Essential oils are volatile liquids. The word "volatile" comes from Latin word "volare" which means "to fly." When exposed to air, many of the compounds that make up essential oils easily vaporize or evaporate into the air. Each essential oil evaporates at a different rate. Citrus oils can be especially short-lived in soap, with a noticeable decrease in scent in as little as six months.
* The scent of a bar of soap in which the essential oil blend has faded is often revived when you use the bar and the outer layer is washed away!
2. Natural Colors:
Why is my soap a lighter color than the website picture?
Our soap colors come from natural ingredients like spices, clays, botanicals, herbs, coffee, chocolate, and fruit or vegetable purées.
Unfortunately, natural colors will fade over time because most of them are light sensitive. I can make a batch of soap with the most vibrant natural colors and six months later the colors can become much lighter.
3. The Soap Recipe:
The way in which soap is formulated has an affect on shelf-life. Morning Glory Teahouse Handcrafted Soaps contain all natural, fresh ingredients and no artificial preservatives.
Superfatting: Superfat is the amount of free oil left over after the soapmaking process is complete. The method I chose to superfat our soaps creates a bar with a high percentage of unincorporated oils.
These oils are not consumed in the soap making process and remain to nourish your skin. These unreacted oils result in a soap that is more emollient, more moisturizing, and gentler on your skin, but it decreases the shelf-life.
We do not use synthetic stabilizers or preservatives to prolong shelf life. These ingredients can be skin irritants and are usually found in commercial soaps to extend their shelf life for up to 10 years.
4. The Ingredients:
Different oils impart different qualities to soap. Some add lathering qualities, some moisturizing, some hardness, and so on.
We use a larger percentage of extra moisturizing and conditioning oils in our soaps than many other soapmakers.
As a result, you may notice our bar soaps tend to be softer than those of other soapmakers, These "softer" oils may also decrease the shelf-life.
Commercial soaps are made with synthetic preservatives that can extend the soap’s shelf-life, yet harm your skin. Natural handmade soaps are made with wholesome ingredients and essential oils.
~ Even though pure essential oils and natural colorants fade over time, and the shelf-life decreases somewhat from using a higher percentage of unincorporated oils in our recipe to help condition your skin, we still feel these trade-offs are worth creating a wholesome, all natural bar of soap! ~
How You Can Help Prolong Shelf-Life?
Natural soaps need to breathe. Exposure to air promotes hardening of your soap and contributes to longer-lasting quality. Soap should be left unwrapped in its breathable packaging or box, or wrapped with breathable materials. Tight wrappers cause humid conditions by preventing evaporation of moisture.
* Our soaps are packaged in breathable, recyclable, sustainable packaging! Keep your natural handmade soaps in a dry, cool place away from sunlight, excessive heat and humidity.
* Our scented soaps, like Lavender Lullaby, can be placed in a muslin bag or wrapped in a piece of cloth and put in your linen closet or dresser drawer to give a delightful fragrance to your linens and clothes while waiting to be used.
Handmade soap will last longer if allowed to dry fully between use. To prolong the life of your soap, always store in a slotted or deeply ridged soap dish. Do not leave your soap in standing water. Certain metals react with handmade soap and cause oxidation, discoloration, and rancidity. Avoid allowing your soap to come in contact with metal, except for high quality stainless steel.