6 Reasons Why You Should Use Handcrafted Soap

Natural and sustainable living is becoming very popular these days. Everyone is becoming more mindful of what they consume, and how they consume it; why should body care be any different?

Handcrafted soap has been in existence since the early days of humanity. For thousands of years, humans have craved the pleasant feeling of a well made soap, and we have been perfecting the art of crafting it ever since.

There are many options for soap on the market, and although it may seem easier and more cost effective to just buy a bar of big-brand soap, let us change your mind with these six reasons why you should make the switch.

#1: You Can Pronounce the Ingredients

 Handmade soap is made by a jack of all trades; your neighborhood Handcrafter is a chemist, a perfumer, an artist, a botanist, and an entrepreneur. Handcrafters seek out the most natural and skin-loving ingredients to put in their bars, and it shows in the craftsmanship you purchase with each one. Typical soaps will contain common materials like olive, palm and coconut oils, as well as sodium hydroxide, water, fragrance and exfoliants such as lavender buds, coffee, or sea salt.

Don’t let the inclusion of sodium hydroxide (also known as lye) dissuade you; although the soapmaker must use lye in order to make the soap, it is not present in the final product, and you can be sure your Handcrafter has tested it to be on the safe side!

#2: Everyone Can Use It.

 Handcrafted soap is a very inclusive category of body care. Are you allergic to most fragrances? That’s alright, there are many Handcrafters who make unscented bars just for you! Do you have allergies to a specific oil or additive? No problem. A bar can most likely be made for you. Are you Vegan, and want to avoid using products that contain animal materials? Perfect! Many Handcrafters either make a Vegan product on purpose, or have a product in their line that is Vegan-friendly. If you have a soapmaker in your area, it is highly likely that they will be willing to work with you to accommodate your needs; after all, they are passionate about providing a superior shower experience for everyone.

#3: That Smell.

 Sure, mass produced soap smells good. But have you ever smelled handcrafted soap? It’s incredible! Warm and rich, bouncy and floral, deep and mysterious; Handcrafters are masters at crafting an olfactory experience that compliments the effects of their bars.

#4: Handcrafters Help the Environment

 Handmade soaps are less likely to contain a harmful or aggressive ingredient that could cause damage to the environment when it is washed down your drain. Due to the saponification process, the sodium hydroxide used in the initial formulation is not present and will not do damage to you or anything it contacts once you wash it away.

Handcrafters are also more likely to use responsibly sourced products and materials. Natural, organic and fair trade are frequently used words in this industry, and Handcrafters are vigilant when it comes to the origin of their products. Know that your soap has been made with care and most importantly, consideration.

 #5:  Variety is the Spice of Soap

 Handcrafters are artists. They create swirling patterns, intricate designs and pleasing visuals, all with soap! Natural and synthetic colorants are a creative soaper’s best friend, and make a stunning final product (without dying your skin purple, pink and teal, of course). But, as any Handcrafter will tell you; even though the soap is gorgeous, don’t be afraid to use it!

#6: You Are Supporting Your Community

Handcrafters are your neighbors, your friends, your family. They are the backbone of your community, and their entrepreneurial spirit combined with the same passion of their fellow small business owners is so important to a thriving local economy. When you purchase anything, including a bar of soap, from a local small business you are encouraging a the dream of business freedom and community pride. Think of it as a personal investment in a strong, vibrant community!

Bonus Reason: Handcrafters

 Handcrafters spend their time formulating, attending educational events like the HSCG’s Annual Conference, and crafting products specifically intended to make you feel as wonderful as you look. What big brand bar of soap could possibly do that?

Are you ready to make the switch? Check out our Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Directory to find your new favorite product: https://www.soapguild.org/consumers/find-soap-cosmetics/search.php



The Shelf Life of Oils

Let’s talk about shelf life!

When formulating your product, understanding the shelf life of the oils you are using is an important step in ensuring quality and longevity for your customers.

If you’re anything like me, I don’t usually need to worry about the expiration of my cooking oils because I seem to go through them very quickly; that is, until a few months ago when I pulled out my grapeseed oil and opened the container. What a smell! While I usually love the smell of cooking oils (strange, I know), this oil smelled sour; it was the type of smell that immediately makes you want to throw the item in the garbage, tie up the bag, and toss it outside. Not the most appetizing thing to find right before making dinner, but it was really my own ignorance; after all, if I don’t use it and it looks fine, doesn’t that mean that it is fine?

Turns out, no. No it doesn’t.

Understanding the Longevity of Your Oils

There are many different types of oils, all made up of different properties and each one individual in its benefits. This can be a little confusing when you are trying to figure out the shelf life of your oils; keeping track of every expiration date can be a bit overwhelming! We’ve compiled a list of some of the most used oils to get you started.

3 Months or Less

Hazelnut Oil

Hempseed Oil

Grapeseed Oil (don’t find out the hard way, like I did!)

Under 1 Year (6 months to 1 year)

Apricot kernel oil-I’ve included this here, but be mindful that its shelf life can range from 6 months to one year. Check before you use it if  it has been over 6 months.

Evening Primrose Oil

Flax Seed Oil

Sesame Oil

Sweet Almond Oil

Wheatgerm  Oil

1 Year

Avocado Oil

Castor Oil

Coconut Oil-this can last a bit over one year, as always, check before use.

Emu Oil-this oil can actually last several years, if properly frozen.

Palm Oil

Palm Kernel Oil

Safflower Oil

Shea Butter

2 Years

Canola Oil

Olive Oil

Tamanu Oil

3 Years

Properly Frozen Emu Oil

Meadowfoam Oil



Jojoba Oil

Fractionated Coconut Oil

Whew! Of course, that’s only a small sampling of the oils available, but the moral of this story is; make sure to check your oils before each use especially if it’s been awhile since you used it last.

Using Anti-Oxidants

Anti-oxidants are substances that prevent oxidation in materials such as oils. Using an anti-oxidant in your product can help to extend its shelf life by preventing the breakdown of the building blocks of your lotions, scrubs, etc. Consider adding grapefruit seed extract or vitamin e oil to shield your oils from oxidation. Keep in mind, anti-oxidants are different than preservatives in that they do not contain anti-microbial properties; if you are producing a product that contains water or a product that may get wet in the container (like scrubs), check out our article about preservatives to understand how to avoid unwanted bacterial, fungal and mold growth.

Final Thoughts

Keeping track of numerous expiration dates doesn’t have to be an insurmountable challenge. Use a binder/notebook or digital spreadsheet to keep track of not only the quantity of your supplies, but their expirations. This documentation will help you to gain a better understanding of the shelf life of your overall product, and also help you decide whether or not to add an anti-oxidant or preservative based on the expected time frame of your sales.

Most importantly, learn from my grapeseed debacle-check your oils every time to avoid a sour final product!


What’s Up at the HSCG: March 2017

2017 has and will continue to be an exciting year for the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild!

In early 2017, we were very excited to introduce a new, lower cost insurance option through Veracity Insurance Solutions. Even with a price point $100 less than the standard coverage option, this lower cost policy still covers handcrafted soap and cosmetic makers in a wide variety of situations, and has the flexibility to cover everyone from fledgling business to full grown empire.

Let’s not forget our new look! The HSCG has rebranded, with new sleek and modern logos and a fresh website. If you haven’t yet, check out www.soapguild.org; we think you’ll love the updated feel.

We also announced our first HSCG Advocacy Day, taking place in Washington DC in April. This is a great opportunity for approximately 50 handcrafted soap and cosmetic makers to discuss ongoing legislation with lawmakers, and offer their own insight into how it will affect handcrafted businesses.

As you can imagine, things are getting very busy at HSCG Headquarters in beautiful Saratoga Springs, New York; with our largest (and nearly sold out) Annual Conference just around the corner in Las Vegas and the excitement and extensive planning surrounding it, the decision was made to add an additional employee to our staff; please help us welcome Niki Cameron!

Niki grew up in a small town just north of Saratoga Springs. She loves to knit “anything and everything”, and can usually be found reading a Stephen King book (the Dark Tower is her favorite series). She has a passion for small business and customer service, and will be filling the roll of Member Services Representative. Niki will also be attending the Annual Conference in Las Vegas this year to assist Leigh and Sara with all the moving parts! Chances are, if you’ve called the office at any time in the past few weeks, you’ve already chatted with Niki a bit; she will be your go-to source for general membership, benefit, insurance and conference related questions. Welcome!

Speaking of the conference, this year is going to be the largest event that the HSCG has ever hosted! We are nearly sold out at 600 attendees, and they are in for three days of action packed networking and educational opportunities. This year, the Annual Conference will take place at the Tropicana Las Vegas, located right in the heart of the action in Las Vegas. The newly renovated space is absolutely gorgeous, with plenty of room for our incredible Exhibitors and famous Speaker Sessions.

Of course, we can’t talk about the conference without talking about the speakers! This year’s lineup has something for everyone; right out of the starting gate, attendees will be treated to an inspirational and motivation keynote speech from Bramble Berry’s Anne-Marie Faiola! She will teach attendees how to “Have the Best Day Ever, Every Day”. Then, attendees will have the option to attend a number of different sessions covering a variety of topics including formulation, label compliance and marketing. There is truly something for everyone at this event, no matter what stage of your handcrafting journey you are in!

If you haven’t registered for the Annual Conference yet, make sure to sign up as soon as you can; there are very few spots remaining, and we anticipate selling out soon! Visit https://www.soapguild.org/cart/conference.php/ to purchase your registration today.

We can’t wait to share more exciting HSCG news with you; 2017 is going to be a great year!