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Handcrafted Soap FAQs

Answers to questions about our handcrafted soap

What is soap? How was it discovered?

True bar soap is created when the soap maker mixes a solution of sodium hydroxide and liquid with animal and/or vegetable fats. The sodium hydroxide causes a chemical reaction in the fats, called saponification, which is the breaking down of the fatty acids. Chemically speaking, soap is the salt of a fatty acid.

Until modern times, lye (aka sodium/potassium hydroxide) came from wood ash. One popular story recounts that in ancient times, Roman women found that when they washed clothes in the river below Mount Sapo – where animal sacrifices took place – came out cleaner.

But since there was never a place called Mount Sapo and history describes the animal sacrifices as being only parts of the animals, with the meat and fat removed, we may never know exactly who was the first to make the discovery. The earliest recorded evidence of soap making was in Ancient Babylon in 2800 BC

What’s in our Handcrafted Soap?

We use premium quality ingredients starting with our custom, exclusive oil blend of tallow, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil and cocoa butter. This is the basis for nearly all our soaps and creates a long lasting, hard bar with lots of rich, creamy bubbles and lather.

To most of our soaps, we also add Certified Organic Alberta Oatmeal and kaolin clay, for an added touch of luxury suitable for all skin types.

We also add sodium lactate, which comes from sugar, and offers a big boost to the hardness and longevity of our soap.

Tip: To give your soap an even longer life, make sure to keep it out of water, using a well draining soap dish like our Handmade Pine Soap Dish, to keep it from dissolving.

In our scented soaps, we use top shelf quality fragrance oils and therapeutic quality essential oils, to offer a wonderful and wide variety of scents, both typical and uncommon scents. There’s sure to be a scent to please everyone on your list!

We also offer a few unscented soaps, including several premium soaps with added ingredients for extra luxury.

We use cosmetic grade colourants like micas and oxides to many of our scented soaps for a little fun.

All of our ingredients are premium, top shelf quality, from trusted suppliers from Canada and the US. We don’t cheap out and we don’t use fillers.

Learn more about our Ingredients here.

Our soaps average about 4oz/110g, this size is just right for one person to use one bar per month, or longer.

To conform to Canada Labelling Laws, all our soaps contain a full INCI (internationally approved scientific naming) list of ingredients on their boxes, on our website, we explain what each is and how it benefits our soaps.

We avoid GMO (genetically modified organism) and will not use oils like soybean and canola that are (usually) GMO.

Are your products Cruelty Free?

Our entire chain of supplies and products are cruelty free. Our supplies, including animal products like tallow, goat’s milk, beeswax, etc, all come from suppliers who treat animals in their care humanely, and don’t test on any animals, and we will never test any of our products on animals, either.

What is the shelf life of your products?

Our handcrafted soap is good for a very long time. We have a bar from our very first batch in 2011 still tucked away and it’s perfectly usable. While still perfectly usable in the shower, the scents may fade.

Our lotions, balms, and other products have a shelf life of over a year.

How long does the scent in handmade soap last?

Most handcrafted soap is made with higher quality fragrance and/or essential oils than store bought products are made with. The benefit to this is less chance of allergic reactions, the “downside” is they don’t contain the chemicals the cheap products do, to allow the scent to stay put for a very long time.

Our essential oil scented soaps (those in the Naturals section) will retain their scent for 6+ months. Most likely a year, but some plant compounds are more sensitive than others so, we’re sure they’ll be well scented for 6 months, we’re pretty sure they’ll stay scented for a year.

Our fragrance oil scented soaps will keep their scent for a year or more.

To make sure the scent stays strong as long as possible, please store your bars in their original boxes, in a cool, dry place like the bottom of a closet, outside the bathroom or kitchen.

How should handmade soap be stored?

To keep the scent of handcrafted soap as long as possible, please store in the original box in a cool, dry place, like the bottom of a closet, outside a bathroom or kitchen.

Is soap made with sodium hydroxide safe?

A properly made bar of soap is safe. The chemical reaction of lye and oils creates an entirely new compound – soap, with a little oils left over to keep your skin from losing moisture.

Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) is also used in many food and beauty industries. It it used as a PH adjuster (check your bottle of Jergins, Lubriderm, Suave, or other mass market lotion, shampoo, etc). If you’ve ever had a can of mandarin oranges, you might have wondered how they got all the pith (the white stringy stuff when you peel an orange) off – the oranges are bathed in a mild lye solution and then washed and canned. Not to mention, you can’t have real German Pretzels without lye (check out this yummy recipe)! Lye can be dangerous, but it is also immensely useful!

Is handmade soap different from bars sold in stores?

Most bars in the stores are not soap. These are detergent bars that may have some ingredients derived from oils or other ingredients in soap, but they are not soap. They contain many artificial ingredients, chemicals, and contain next to no naturally occurring glycerin. The fragrances, colours, and chemicals in store bought (even “good” quality) skin care products are well known to cause reactions even in people not typically sensitive to things like that. Our soaps contain the absolute best ingredients.

I tried a bar of handmade soap and I didn’t like it.

As is anything else in life – not all soaps are created equal. You probably have a favourite brand of shampoo, floor cleaner, bread, and a number of other things, because that brand is created differently and you like how it works/tastes/feels. Handmade soap is no different. Try our soaps and see if you don’t notice a difference!

Ordering FAQs

Answers to questions about ordering from Alberta Handmade Soap Co

How fast will I get my order?

If there are no custom made/made to order products in your cart, your order will ship within 1-2 business days. All orders are sent Canada Post with tracking, and will usually arrive in about a week or less, depending on how far away from us you are. Some very far away or remote locations may take longer, but you’ll receive your tracking number by email and can check it any time.

Where do you ship to?

We currently ship to Canada and the USA.

International Canada Post shipping is prohibitively costly for both customer and business owners, but we are looking at other options and will open up international shipping as soon as a cost effective solution becomes available.

How much does shipping cost?

Shipping will vary depending on what you are ordering, and your location. Our shopping cart provides exact, real time quotes from Canada Post so you know exactly what your order will cost to ship. We do not add any extra handling fees to the shipping charges. Orders over $75 in Canada ship free.

How do I pay for my order? Is it secure?

Our website is secured by SSL encryption technology that hides your credit card and other private information from anyone trying to sneak a peak. We can’t even see it!

We accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, as well as PayPal.

We also accept Interac Money Transfer – a convenient way for Canadians to pay directly and safely from their bank account. Just place your order and follow the instructions for payment, which includes logging into your bank account and enter your order information, and it’s paid.

Do you offer refunds?

Your satisfaction is our top concern! If there is a problem with your order, please contact us so we can assist you personally. Please include your order number and a description of the problem (incorrect or missing item, etc).