Doing a show or festival lots of people have question about why our soap is different from the vendor down the row, or questions that they have about different products that they see or hear about. African Black Soap being one of the big ones along with Goats Milk Soaps and soap that comes in logs either wholesale or retail. So here is some info on these questions.
Some say there is no such thing as "liquid black soap" while you can still find it all over the internet and your local markets. While there is no liquid black soap made in or shipped out of Africa, real black soap can be dissolved in water to form a liquid soap, HOWEVER if the product has a list of ingredients of palm kernal oil POWDER, shea butter powder, coco powder. . . you are not using REAL AFRICAN BLACK SOAP! Even though some ingredients may have originated from a plant source they are so over-processed they have lost all of their natural healing properties. True black soap is brown/taupe in color, very tacky and porous and needs to be kept OUT of the water. If it is hard and a true black color it is a fake. We have also had someone tell us that a "black soap" they bought stained their tub!! That comes from Dye that is put into the fake soap to make it a black color. True African Black Soap is NOT black.
Most importantly any time you add WATER to anything in the bath and body realm you are adding bacteria!! Therefore it is necessary to add chemicals and preservatives to it to control the bacterial, fungal and yeast growth. That is the main reason we do not make anything that needs water (except for the soap Charlie makes from scratch and the Lye and Vitamin E takes care of that!)
As far as "soap in loaves" that can be cut for you while you wait, they are fake as well. True soap has to be cut into bars to cure properly. If you were to cut a loaf of true soap after the 4 week curing process it would be so hard to cut that you would need a really strong arm to get through the loaf! Nothing would just "slide" through to cut off a bar of soap.
There are many "base" products out there that anyone can order, re-melt, cut in their home, add a little color and scent and call it homemade. Whether it be a clear base, goats milk base (which is why we always tell people, if they don't raise the goats, don't buy it) shea butter base, coconut base....and the list goes on. The problem with that is that they are ordering these bases from huge wholesale warehouses or manufacturers. These are easy to cut from a loaf. Here is the ingredients list from one of the most popular manufacturer of base soaps-this is from their goats milk soap base:
*Propylene Glycol, Sorbitol, Water, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Goats Milk, Sodium Myristate, Sodium Laurate, Tocopherol, Titanium Dioxide, Yellow 5*
The only good thing in that list is Tocopherol (Vitamin E) but they don't tell you if it is Acetate or not. Just Google that list of ingredients and see for yourself what you are putting on your skin and into your bloodstream.
Here is another list from an Aloe/Oilve Oil Base:
Sodium Cocoate, Propylene Glycol , Sodium Stearate, Glycerin, Water, Sorbitol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Olea (Olive) Europaea Fruit Oil, Yellow 5, Green 3
Ok that is totally disgusting.
What we do at My Soaps is true handmade soap. No base. No quick melt and pour. We measure our oils by hand into large stainless steel pots . A Lye mixture is then made to add to the oils ( you cannot have "real soap" without lye). This process is called Saponification (much like fermentation with wine). That process means you have to wait 4 weeks before using, as the oils are melding into becoming soap. After it is poured into the mold and hardened a bit (we wait 24 hours) Charlie then takes it out of the mold to cut by hand. If he were to wait 4 weeks before cutting it, I don't think his custom cutters would do the job. You can cut the bars in half with a sharp knife, to use, but to cut from a log that has been cured for 4 weeks, would be just a little hard to do. I could go on and sometimes at shows we do get a little wordy, but we always try to educate. Ask the questions, and if they hedge a little or say that they only use glycerin or never lye, (duh) please, walk away. The true soaps makers out there are becoming few and far between. It is a long process. Everything has to be measured by that 4 week drying process. Will you have enough for that 4 week out show, or wholesale buyer you have. We do what we do because we love doing it. I'm thinking that is one of the reasons we let people into our home at 10:00 at night when they call and have gotten into poison ivy.