Why I LOVE adding sea salt to soap

I genuinely love sea salt in cold process soap. The formulation & technique is a little different than my standard bars, and definitely took more trial and error than the rest of my soap. The first time I made salt soap, I waited too long to slice it, and ended up with chunks that my partner said looked more like ceramic kiln blocks than soap. (Still perfectly usable, but pretty ugly) 

Over time, I figured out a reliable recipe and system, and now I use more salt soap bars than any other soap in my collection. I'm going into detail in this post about the reasons I love sea salt in cold process soap, and why I am always quick to recommend salt bars to customers!

Reason #1: No more slimy sink soap!!

Salt soap bars are the ULTIMATE sink-side soap. Each bathroom sink in my house has one of our soap dishes with a salt bar perched on top. The sea salt makes a super hard bar of soap that not only dries quickly between uses, but never gets soft and squishy like most bar soaps. Even in a well-draining soap dish, cold-process soap can get pretty soft when it's being used many times a day in a high-traffic hand washing space like a bathroom. There just isn't enough time between uses for regular cold process soap to drain and dry out. 

Enter salt bars. Lots of lather, no mush.

This is an aesthetic preference, but I don't like squishy soap at a bathroom sink. I think that mushy bars look messy, and they also create more clean up in the sink bowl and on the counter. I also don't want guests to have to handle mushy soap when they visit our home. My partner and I quickly discovered that salt bars hold their shape, and offer a nice, bubbly lather for handwashing without getting squishy throughout the day. This is true in a dry climate like the front range of Colorado where we live now, but it was also equally true in the midwest where we lived before. 

Reason #2: Longer-lasting bar without alternative hardening agents

Salt helps soap harden quickly, and though it still needs the same amount of cure time as regular cold process soap, it helps the bar last longer over time. A longer-lasting bar of soap is more economical, and this is often something consumers are looking for. Some soap makers use hardening agents like stearic acid (typically derived from palm oil) or sodium lactate (derived from the fermentation of sugars) to harden their soaps. Both stearic acid and sodium lactate are considered safe ingredients, but salt is simple ingredient to source, and to use, and is my personal preference. 

Reason #3: Gentle, and luxurious exfoliation

Salt soap is sometimes considered a luxury soap for its exfoliation properties. Finely ground salt in soap (note: finely ground! coarse salt can hurt) offers a gentle exfoliation, and I find the texture to be really, really nice. It's hard to explain, but my skin just feels really refreshed when I use salt bars. Salt is also an environmentally friendly exfoliant, unlike some beads or pearls that are added as exfoliating agents to commercial skin care products. Also, because I don't use preservatives in my soap, salt isn't going to introduce potential mold or bacteria in the bar over time like botanical or grain exfoliants have the potential to do in soap. 

Final Thoughts: 

Salt soap bars are my personal favorites to use next to the sink. They have a slightly more rustic appearance because of the texture of the salt, and I think it offers a unique variation to our standard bars. If you use salt soap, or if you decide to try a bar, let me know what you think! I'd love to see how our salt soap works in different climates and in different homes. 

As always, until next time,

Rowena

 

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