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What Is Cold Process Soap?

May 27, 2021


I think this is the #1 question I get asked regarding Harvest + Harmony soaps.  Most people think of soap as just being, soap.  It cleans your hands, it lathers up nicely, it removes dirt and you wash it down the drain.  No big difference between brands or kinds of soap or the process of making soap.  I get it, as I was in that same boat of either not giving it much thought – I mean, soap is soap, right?  – or grabbing whatever was on sale that week. I wasn’t very loyal to brands and it also didn’t seem like there was a whole lot to choose from at the grocery store.  Same brands, same packaging, same look.  And if I ever did buy a ‘special’ kind of soap, I left it in my soap dish for, like, years.  It was more of a show piece than something I actually used.

It wasn’t until I actually went to a soap apothecary in Lowell, Massachusetts that I realized the absolute and amazing difference between soaps.  So, to answer the question that’s on everyone’s mind, I’ll explain the cold process as best I can.


All soap is the result of a chemical reaction called saponification that occurs between lye and a fat or oil (such as Olive Oil or Coconut Oil).  Cold process soap is made by mixing sodium hydroxide (lye) with water, blending it with fatty oils and then adding essential oils for fragrance and natural colorants.  It is then poured into molds and takes about 24 hours to become soap.  Once removed from the mold, it dries for an additional 24 hours before being cut into individual bars of soap.  I then place these bars onto vented cooling racks – kind of like what you would use after taking cookies out of the oven – and this is when the real action begins.  Over the next 4-6 weeks the soap “cures”, as all of the lye is used to break down the oils and water is slowly evaporated, leaving a gentle yet firm bar of soap. –

This is quite a time-consuming process that allows for more gradual saponification.  It takes patience to make cold process soap, but we think it’s worth it!

In additional to oils used in our soap-making, we also add shea butter to make our soaps extra moisturizing and the goat milk adds to the creamy feel.   This makes Harvest + Harmony soaps extra special for your skin, especially for those with dry skin who don’t necessarily want to use moisturizer.  Why bother with moisturizer when you can get it naturally in our soaps?

I know this is a lot to take in and process, so I will continually remind everyone of the cold processing technique and the benefits to your skin ~ especially your hands and feet.  Or, if you have any questions, please ask.  I’ll answer.

We all wash our hands, a lot.  It’s something that is engrained in us from the moment we enter this world ~ wash your hands!  So how about we take something as simple as this, and make it into something special.  Treat your hands well.  They will love you for it.

I hope you try our soaps.  And I hope you love them as much as we do.



With love from Grand Haven, Michigan,

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