Shannon of Casco Bay Soap makes her soap the old fashion way, similar to how your grandparents may have made it on the farm or homestead. Her Grandpa Ben was a poor farm boy in Oklahoma and he and his brother helped her Great Grandmother make soap for washing and cleaning around the house. She likes to think that she is continuing with old fashioned, traditional, family work and culture.
The biggest difference in soap now is that now Casco Bay Soap uses only food grade, all vegetables oils in their soaps. Years ago measurements were “casual” and often animal fats were used in soap making. At Casco Bay Soap Co. a special blend of good-for-your skin oils such as Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and more blend together to produce a mild, moisturizing, creamy bar of soap. Here is how it is done…..
They melt our special chosen oils together in a kettle. (Our own secret recipe blend). We actually make 3 batches at a time. So we have 3 kettles for mixing up our small batches. When the time is right, she adds in the lye. In the soap making process, sodium hydroxide, also called lye, is added to the oils/fats. She adds a perfectly measured amount to entirely “saponify” the oils and turn them into great, mild and creamy soap. No lye remains in the bar.
And simply: no lye = no soap. A bit on LYE…
True soap cannot be made without lye (Sodium Hydroxide).
We know: Lye = scary, harsh, chemicals….before you “gasp” with fright, please read on.
Although lye is used in the soap making process, the finished product contains NO LYE.
Lye, when mixed with the wonderful, beneficial oils used in Casco Bay Soap Co. soaps, goes through a chemical change or process called saponification. The lye is gone and all you have left is a wonderful soap that will clean your skin without drying. You can not have this chemical reaction occur if you do not use lye. Yes, Lye is harsh, but once the chemical reaction happens and the bars are cured, you are rewarded with some amazing soaps. It’s Science!
If you come across a soap maker who tells you they do not use lye in their soap, there are 2 reasons why. First of all, they are using a base or someone else’s pre-made soap. Or secondly, they do not want to disclose for whatever reason, that there is lye in their soap. It is not listed on these labels, because simply, it is not there when you are holding a bar of Casco Bay Soap in your hands. All the lye is gone and you are left with just saponified oils.
Yes, even the large commercial manufactures, even bars of baby soap are made using lye or an ingredient that is a chemical, to change the oils from something that is greasy, to something that will now clean your skin. Lye, when used properly is not a bad thing. You can’t get soap without it!
She then adds either essential oils or fragrance oils, or a combination of both. She also adds any botanicals, herbs, maybe oatmeal etc., depending on which type of soap she is making.
She pours the soap mixture into custom made log shaped molds (Shannon’s dad made her soap molds for her). Each mold will make about 30 bars of soap. The soap is a thick pudding consistency at this point. The soap will now transform, or saponify, into a more dense consistency overnight.
She takes the log of soap out of the mold and cuts them into bars. They have now stiffened up, like a cheddar cheese consistency. She then allows them to cure for 4-6 weeks. This means the water is evaporating to help make a longer lasting hard bar of soap.
Shannon puts her labels on. The attractive labels include the soap fragrance, contact information, ingredients and a small description about our soaps.
All of the soaps are handmade in small batches and everything is done by hand to ensure the highest quality product possible. Depending on the batch of soap, there could be slight variations in color, amount of botanicals in the soap, size of the bar etc. This is the sign of a true handmade product!
Glycerin is a natural by-product of “cold process” soap making. Commercial soap manufacturers remove glycerin for more profitable uses. Often glycerin is often added into lotions or creams, for you to buy after the commercial bars of soap lacking glycerin has dried your skin out. This old fashion soap retains this glycerin and it will help leave your skin soft and moisturized.
We hope you enjoy our soap as much as our friends, family and many customers do.