What is saponification?
Since ancient times, soap has been an essential companion for humanity. Despite the centuries, the basic recipe for creating soap remains unchanged: a mixture of fatty substances and an alkali, usually sodium hydroxide (NaOH) , better known as "soda". This chemical reaction between both substances is what we call saponification , a process that results in soap and glycerin . Depending on preferences or the purpose, the fatty substances used may vary, and may be vegetable or animal oils or fats . This procedure can be carried out by two different methods: hot saponification and cold saponification .
What is hot saponification?
Prevalent in the cosmetics industry , hot saponification involves heating fats and soda . Usually, when using this method, an excess of soda is added to ensure that all the fats present are turned into soap . This mixture is heated for several hours, even days, thus accelerating saponification and making industrialized production possible.
The result, known as " soap paste ", is rinsed with plenty of water to remove any soda residue, thus obtaining a non-corrosive product that is poured into moulds. Once cooled, they are cut into tablets for use.
Notable examples of hot saponified soaps are Marseille soap (based on vegetable oils) or Aleppo soap (based on laurel oil). Its popularity stems from its cleaning efficiency , affordability, and durability. However, depending on the fats or oils used, which are not always controlled, they can be aggressive for the skin and not very respectful of the environment . Furthermore, its production method consumes a considerable amount of energy .
What is cold saponification?
The cold saponification method also involves mixing fats and soda, but in this case, without applying heat. Unlike the hot process, in cold saponification excess oil is added to the mixture to ensure that all the soda reacts, thus achieving complete saponification .
This procedure involves letting the mixture rest in special wooden molds for 24 to 48 hours . During this period, the first phase of saponification begins, which produces a natural heating of the mixture. After this time, the soap is removed from the mold, cut into bars and left to dry for 4 to 5 weeks. In this drying phase, the water evaporates and the saponification is complete. In this way, we make sure that there are no residues of soda .
Cold saponification is a more traditional and slow process, due to the curing period necessary to obtain a complete reaction. This is the method we use at Home Healthy Home to make all our natural soaps , which cover a wide range from cosmetic products, through household cleaning items, to laundry products.
What are the advantages of cold saponified soap?
When understanding what cold saponification is , it is important to highlight why we at Home Healthy Home have decided to adopt this method over hot saponification. Cold saponification offers a series of advantages that make it the optimal choice for the creation of our natural soaps :
- Preservation of the properties of oils
In the hot saponification method , fats and oils are heated to high temperatures, which can alter and degrade some of the beneficial properties of these oils, especially the heat-sensitive ones, such as polyphenols and vitamins (1) . Instead, cold saponification is carried out at room temperature, avoiding the loss of these beneficial compounds, and resulting in a soap with superior moisturizing and nourishing properties for the skin .
- Reduced environmental impact
Cold saponification is a method of soap production with low energy consumption . By not requiring heat, energy consumption is significantly lower than in the hot saponification method (2). At Home Healthy Home , we are committed to sustainability and respect for the environment , and this production method aligned with these values allows us to minimize our carbon footprint .
- Natural glycerin generation
Saponification , either hot or cold, generates glycerin as a byproduct . Glycerin is a natural humectant that draws moisture into the skin, keeping it hydrated (3). In the hot method, sometimes the glycerin is extracted to be sold separately, but in cold saponification , all the generated glycerin stays in the soap, improving its quality and properties .
- Full control over ingredients
Cold saponification allows us to have full control over the ingredients used in the production of our soaps. By not requiring heat, more sensitive ingredients can be used, which could be altered or degraded at high temperatures, allowing for greater customization and quality control.
- Authenticity and tradition
Cold saponification allows us to have full control over the ingredients used in the production of our soaps. By not requiring heat, more sensitive ingredients can be used, which could be altered or degraded at high temperatures, allowing for greater customization and quality control .
Choosing a cold saponified soap is choosing a quality product that is respectful of our skin and the environment.
Why have we chosen cold saponification?
At Home Healthy Home , our commitment to quality and respect for the environment has led us to opt for cold saponification to create all our soaps.
Our wide range of products, which ranges from cosmetic soaps , household cleaning products to laundry soaps , is made up of meticulously selected raw materials, all of them of natural and organic origin . We refrained from using palm oil, mindful of the environmental concerns associated with its production.
Our commitment to excellence is reflected in the choice of our ingredients: we use 100% organic virgin olive oil of Spanish origin for all our products. Thanks to cold saponification , we manage to preserve the beneficial properties of this oil, resulting in products that not only clean effectively , but also care for and protect both our skin and the surfaces of our home and the delicacy of our clothing.
At Home Healthy Home, we believe that caring for our skin, our home, our clothes and the environment can go hand in hand. For this reason, our choice of cold saponification allows us to offer products that are effective, delicate and respectful of the environment at the same time.
Both our laundry soaps and our personal care soaps are composed of carefully selected raw materials (without palm oil), of natural and organic origin. We make all our soaps with 100% organic virgin olive oil of Spanish origin. Thus, and thanks to cold saponification, we obtain soaps that respect, care for and hydrate our skin.
Green, K. (2016). Cold Process Soapmaking for Beginners.
Cavitch, SM (1994). The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How.
Johnson, D., & Ackley, B.J. (2016). Absorption: Topical Drug Application and Histologic Resection. In: Clinical Dermatology.