Questions & Answers
We often receive emails asking the following questions:
- Do your soaps have an expiration date or how long will they last on the bathroom shelf?
- Why is my soap a lighter color than pictured on the website?
- Why are the scents not as strong as other soaps I have tried?
I hope to answer these questions in this blog 😊
Does Natural Soap Have a Shelf Life?
Yes And No!
Although hand crafted soaps generally improve with age, we would recommend using our unscented soaps within 12 months of purchase, and our scented soaps within 6-10 months for best results.
Although the soaps will not be "spoiled" after that time, you can often notice some changes with natural soap as it ages.
- some natural colourants may fade over time
- the scents from pure natural essential oils will often fade over time
However, the scent may still be there when you lather up in the warm flowing water of the shower.
I have used some very old bars hiding in my cupboard that where years old. The scents were gone, but the lather was amazing!
The Long Answer
Just like a fine wine, Witchscents Organics Handcrafted Soaps get better with time.
Left to cure for several months, some moisture will evaporate out of your bar of handmade soap leaving the soap to become fractionally smaller, firmer, longer lasting, and even gentler on your skin. The older the soap, the longer it will last and the more lather it will produce.
We allow our soaps to cure for 5 to 8 weeks. This curing process assures a fine quality product. You simply cannot rush a good thing.
What Factors Affect The Shelf-Life of Soap?
Like I said above, handmade soaps usually get better with age. But there are some factors to be responsible for changes in the soap that may affect the shelf-life over time.
- Are the soaps scented with pure essential oils or fragrance oils?
- Are the soaps colored with natural botanicals or synthetic coloring agents?
- With what recipes are the soaps formulated?
- What ingredients are used in the soap making process?
Essential Oils: Why are the scents not as strong and pungent as other soaps I have used?
Our soaps are gently scented with essential oils. We want the natural aroma without overpowering your senses, we like to provide a nice subtle aromatherapy experience as you bathe or shower.
- Furthermore, the scents of pure essential oils fade much faster than those from synthetic fragrance oils.
Essential oils are volatile liquids sourced from natures best remedies. The word "volatile" comes from the Latin word "volare" which means "to fly." So when we expose our soaps to air, many of the compounds that make up essential oils easily vaporize or evaporate into the air. No essential oil is ever the same and each evaporates at a different rate. Citrus oils can be extremely short-lived in soap, with a substantial decrease in aroma in just six months.
Natural Colors and additives: Why is my soap a lighter color than the website pictured?
We colour our soap using natural ingredients like Australian clays, botanicals, herbs, coffee, chocolate, spices and even food purees.
Unfortunately, natural colors will fade over time because most of them are light sensitive. I can make a batch of soap with the most amazingly vibrant natural colors and six months later the colors can morph into a light hue.
The Soap Recipe
The way in which soap is made and formulated has an effect on shelf-life. Witchscents Organics Handcrafted Soaps contain all natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives.
Superfatting: Superfat is the amount of free oil left over in a soap batch after the soapmaking process is complete. The method we chose to superfat our soaps creates a bar with a high percentage of unincorporated oils meaning our soap wont dry out your skin.
These oils are not consumed in the soap making process and remain in the soap to nourish your skin and provide great moisturizing qualities. This results in a soap that is more emollient, and gentler on your skin, but it decreases the shelf-life.
We do not use synthetic stabilizers or preservatives to prolong shelf life because these ingredients can be harmful skin irritants and are usually found in commercial soaps to extend their shelf life for up to 10 years!. We use natural antioxidants, such as rosemary oil extract, to help prolong the shelf life of our superfatted soaps.
Different oils play a huge role in the qualities of various soaps. Some will add a creamy lather, some help to moisturize, some will increase hardness, and so on and so on.
We use a high percentage of moisturizing and conditioning oils in our soaps and avoid using Palm oil which although creates a firmer bar of soap, its not so great for our environment or fauna as it contributes to alarming deforestation.
As a result, you may notice our soap bars can be slightly softer than those of other soapmakers. These "softer" oils may also decrease the shelf-life.
Commercial soaps are made with synthetic preservatives that can extend the soap’s shelf-life, yet can be harmful to your skin. Natural organic soaps are made with wholesome ingredients and essential oils.
How You Can Help Prolong Shelf-life
It is important for natural soaps to breathe. Exposure to air promotes hardening of your soap and creates a longer-lasting bar. Soap should be left unwrapped in their boxes or wrapped with breathable materials such as muslin. Tightly wrapped soaps or soaps wrapped in plastics can cause humid conditions and prevent evaporation of moisture.
- We use breathable, recyclable and sustainable packaging! Keep your soaps in a dry, cool place away from sunlight, excessive heat and humidity.