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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