The traditional, small-scale soapmaking process involves the mixing of carefully chosen fats and oils with lye to produce sodium salts, otherwise known as ‘soap’. The choice of fats and oils determines the properties of the soap, such as lather, creaminess and conditioning properties, and every soapmaker develops their own blend.
Although old-fashioned soaps used to be made using animal fats such as lard or tallow, at Hedge Wych, we choose to use only premium vegetable oils and butters such as Olive, Coconut, Shea and Cocoa. Whilst Palm oil is a very commonly-used fat in soapmaking because it is cheap and produces a good soap, we do not use it (even the more sustainably produced ‘RSPO’ oil) because of its appalling environmental credentials (vast swathes of rainforest have been cleared to make way for production, and many producers have poor working conditions).
Once the fats and oils have been melted and are at the right temperature, the lye is carefully mixed in thoroughly to produce a batter. To this we add essential oils, clays and other botanicals (such as powdered nettle, aloe vera, oatmeal or crushed peach stones), all carefully chosen for their specific properties and fragrances. We use no synthetic fragrances or colours, preferring to use natural colourants to make our bars even prettier. Our bars contain no harsh detergents or surfactants which may strip your skin of its natural oils and by their nature, they do not require additional preservatives.
The batters are poured into moulds where the saponification reaction is allowed to finish, producing a slightly soft bar of soap. Once unmoulded, these soap ‘loaves’ are sliced and allowed to ‘cure’ on racks for 4-6 weeks. This time allows the soap slices to dry out a little further,resulting in a much harder, milder bar that’s ready to sell.
The Hedge Wych range of products use natural ingredients that have been chosen carefully for their therapeutic properties as well as their fragrances, so you can be assured that you are being kind to your body as well as the environment.