Back in my university days, I remember sitting in Organic Chemistry thinking about how important it was that I knew all those mechanisms (for those of you who didn’t do organic chem, mechanisms are just ways in which molecules interact with each other). I distinctly remember coming across saponification and wondering how this would be useful in my future career. Well clearly I had little foresight and now know that saponification is the reason I can make the Pretty Savage’s we have today.

If everything I just said makes little to no sense never fear, the goal of this post is to break it down for you! Why break it down? Well, as a customer you should know what you are buying and what goes into the products you put on your body. Of course, if all this bores you then feel free to browse our website or even some of our pictures over on Instagram.

Right, so all soap is the mixture of oils and lye (this is a common name for sodium hydroxide). Soap can not be made without lye and if someone says they have done this then it is not a true soap (they may not be lying ç see what I did there, but it’s probably called a cleanser or something similar). Sodium hydroxide sounds super scary but don’t worry it is all used up in the saponification (there’s that word again) process. Not only does it convert all those lovely oils into soap but it also raises the pH of the bar to in the region of 8-10. This higher pH means we don’t have to add preservatives to our soaps because bacteria can not live on it. Of course for this process to result in a lovely, mild soap to use, soapmakers will allow a certain cure time on their bars. Here at Pretty Savage, we always allow a 4-6 week minimum cure time. We do try stock up with everyone’s favourites so they have even longer. The longer the cure, the milder the soap.

So how are oils chosen for soap? Well, every oil brings different properties to the table and a lot of it comes down to personal preference. Some oils up the cleansing factor, other bring bubbles and some enhance the longevity of the bar so it’s a little bit of science and a little bit of soapy magic. Some soapmakers experiment for years before they find what soap works best for them so it really is an art to crafting these little bars of bliss. If you want to know more about the oils we’ve chosen, have a look at our ingredients we love using here.

If this post has sparked an interest in the saponification process, have a look at the Wiki page which could probably explain way better than I ever would.

If you want to know more, please feel free to drop us a line at keepitclean@pretty-savage.co.uk. We would love to answer your questions!