1. What is the difference between commercial soaps and cold process handmade soaps?
  2. Why don’t larger companies make cold processed soap?
  3. Is there vegetable glycerin in this soap?
  4. What is saponified oil?
  5. What is shea butter? And why do you use it in your soaps and massage bars?
  6. Does your soap contain lye? Or, the truth about lye?
  7. Do you animal test?
  8. Why don’t you make bulk soap that can be cut by the customers?
  9. Can your soap be used for sensitive skin?
  10. How do you use a shampoo bar?
  11. What is the difference between commercial shampoos and soap?
  12. Can you make a natural tearless baby shampoo?
  13. What does River Friendly mean?
  14. What is the difference between liquid washes and castile soap?


What is the difference between commercial soaps and handmade cold process soaps?

Mountain Sky makes handmade castile soap. There are two processes for making soap. Commercial soap (Irish Spring, Dove, Body Shop soap, Dr. Bronner’s hard bar soap) is manufactured by using a hot process method. In the hot process, oils and alkali are boiled together for a period of time to create saponification (the process where the oils and the alkali bind). During the boiling, the soap product and glycerin separate. In large commercial processes, the glycerin is separated out and sold, and the soap mixture is then formed into bars or other shapes. Since the soap mixture is boiled for such a long time, the oils in the hot soap process can go rancid. So to counter rancidity, whole arrays of chemicals are added to keep many hot process soaps fresher for a long shelf life.

Handcrafted soap manufacturers mostly use the cold process method of production where oils are heated just to the melting temperature and mixed with an alkali to create saponification. It is then poured into moulds, cut and cooled off, and then cured for approx. 4-5 weeks.

Cold process castile soaps retain glycerin and do not need chemical preservatives because the oil is not boiled.

To learn more about commercial large scale soap making with soap noodles go to our article HERE in the Soap Box Blog.

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Why don’t larger companies make cold processed castile soap?

The shelf life of cold processed soap is shorter. The price of natural castile soap is higher due to the glycerin content, essential oils and higher priced natural organic ingredients. As well, we don’t add cheaper priced petroleum products in our soap.

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Is there vegetable glycerin in this soap?

Yes! Our cold processed soap has a very high glycerin content that is created by the saponification process. Because we only use vegetable oils, it is a vegetable based glycerin.

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What is saponified oil?

Saponification is the chemical process where oils and alkali (sodium hydroxide) bind to create soap. The saponification process creates soap and a high amount of glycerin. Mountain Sky Soaps retain the glycerin in the soap.

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What is shea butter? And why do you use it in your soaps, massage bars and body butter rubs?

Shea butter is obtained from the nut of the Mangifolia tree in Central Africa. It has been used extensively in African countries to heal irritated skin and soothe stretch marks. Unique to shea butter is it’s high content of non-saponifiable fats, which means much of the shea butter does not turn into soap and is available as a moisturizing element in the soap.
We buy our unrefined shea butter from an African woman’s collective.

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Does your soap contain lye? Or, the truth about lye?

Yes, all soaps are a mixture of an alkali and oil. Lye is a mixture of sodium hydroxide and water. For real soap to have cleaning and lathering qualities, it has to have some sort of alkali. When an alkali is added to oils, saponification occurs and produces soap.

Detergents use petroleum products or vegetable oils, whereas  our soaps are made only with vegetable oils.
The modern method of obtaining sodium hydroxide is to extract it from sea salt. Our lye mixtures (sodium hydroxide and water) are carefully monitored and standardized to exacting recipes based on scientific recipes, not guesswork.

Many soap companies do not list all their ingredients on their label as soap is in a special category where ingredient listing is not mandatory. So you will see the following descriptions in ingredient listings:

“Saponified oils of” – saponification is the end product of adding an alkali to an oil or fat. A saponified product is soap.

“Sodium tallowate, sodium canolate” – this is another way of describing the oil which sodium hydroxide has been added to. It is describing the end product. This method of description is legally sanctioned by the powers that be.

A listing of just coconut, palm, olive and etc. oils – It is impossible to have a solid bar of oils in your hand that will lather and not melt in room temperature. If you see an ingredient listing on a soap where there is no alkali substance listed, the company is purposely being deceptive and misleading.

Mountain Sky Soaps lists all our ingredients on our products.

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Do you animal test?

No, we have been making castile soap since 1993 and have time proven recipes tested by humans.

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Why don’t you make bulk soap that can be cut by the customers?

Well-made cold process soap starts hardening and curing soon after it is cut. Extra water needs to be added to have a soap that can be cut for a longer period of time, resulting in a soap that will wear away quite quickly.

We at Mountain Sky Soaps prefer to sell high quality soap rather than sell soaps that meet particular fads in the marketplace.

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Can your soap be used for sensitive skin?

Many people who are sensitive to strong scents and certain colours find our soaps easier to use.  As every person is unique, we suggest that skin sensitive customers try our product only on a small portion of their body first.

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How do you use a shampoo bar?

Shampoo bars can be used just like any other shampoo.

Mountain Sky has been making natural soap since 1993. Soap is a product which has been made for over 2,000 years. Soap is a simple product made with a vegetable fat, scent and sodium. It is really good for washing your whole body.

Soap’s abilities for washing off germs and grit is outstanding.

However, if you use soap all the time on your thinner head hair,  soap can damage delicate head hair due to its high alkalinity,

We have recently started making non-soap based shampoo bars as many people want a solid pH balanced bar that is as good as bottled shampoo.

Soap has a pH of around 10 while our shampoo bars have a pH of around 6.

Because your scalp and hair are sensitive to the pH levels and prefer lower pH products, Mountain Sky pH balanced shampoo bars are excellent for hair.

Many companies sell soap as shampoo bars, long term soap can damage your hair.

We are selling shampoo bars that are made for shampoo – they are pH balanced.

60 grams each of concentrated soap – replaces 2 plastic bottles

To learn more about soap vs shampoo, Click Here

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What is the difference between shampoos and soap?

Shampoo is a detergent created in our modern times for our modern looking hair requirements.  Plus, pH balanced shampoo detergents do not damage head hair.

Hair shampoo has been created with a lower pH.  Our liquid castile soap will never replicate the feel of a shampoo detergent which is what most people are used to.  One cannot just make a shampoo from castile soap.

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Can you make a natural tearless baby shampoo?

Our soaps are alkaline. If the soap gets into anyone’s eye’s it will sting. Detergents are a recent product.

In India, people first oiled the baby with sesame oil, coconut oil or any vegetable oil, then washed the babies with real soap. It is not necessary to wash a baby’s hair or skin as often as an older child. Infants have very sensitive skin. It is best to first use water and a handcloth to wash your infant. Our liquid castile soaps are also very good for infants if you dilute the soap. It is always best to use our natural unscented liquid soap.

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What does River Friendly mean?

Biodegradable – Capable of decomposing rapidly by microorganisms under natural conditions (aerobic and/or anaerobic). Most organic materials, such as food scraps and paper are biodegradable.

All our soaps are made with natural products (organic materials) that are easily decomposed in rivers and septic tanks. However, if you have hard water, a build-up of  real soap can be a problem in a septic tank.

Petroleum-based products can be high in phosphates that can cause algae build up in rivers. Our soaps are river friendly because they will not cause algae build-up.

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What is the difference between liquid washes and castile soap?

Authentic castile soap is comprised of all natural ingredients versus the chemical foaming liquid washes/cleansers that one often finds in your local health food stores. Many people purchase what they think is a natural liquid soap, but actually what they are purchasing is a chemical formulation comprised of foaming agents, deconstructed fatty acids from vegetable oils or fats (oleochemicals), and/or petrochemicals and/or chemical anti-bacterial agents. Many synthetic cleanser/wash blends pose as `liquid soap’ but actually do not contain any real authentic soap.

Real natural castile soaps on the other hand, are created by mixing natural oils with an alkali (sodium hydroxide for solid soap or potassium hydroxide for liquid soap). Natural soaps have been created like this since soap was invented by our ancestors. Detergents and chemical cleansers have only been around since the advent of modern manufacturing processes.

The higher ecological impact of the waste stream and transportation issues due to complex manufacturing is often not considered in the greenness of a product. Mountain Sky’s natural authentic castile soap is produced with simple natural oils, essential oils and an alkali. Mountain Sky soaps retain its natural glycerin to create a milder natural soap. Mountain Sky soaps have natural anti-bacterial properties.

If you are interested in the various recipes for  using Mountain Sky Liquid Soap Click Here

We also have some videos which will show you how to dilute our liquid soaps. Click Here

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