A beautiful and fragrant bar of soap is one of life’s little luxuries. Caswell-Massey has perfected the art of making high quality, long lasting soaps.
What Should I Look For in a Soap?
Selecting the perfect soap is a personal decision, with each of us having different preferences for scent, shape, color, brand, and the like. But most people agree on certain basic properties: a soap should be moisturizing, rich lathering, rinsable, fragrant, and long lasting.
Moisturizing: A soap should cleanse the skin but not strip it of its natural oils. It should moisturize and nourish the skin. A good soap will leave the skin smooth and soft to the touch, and help ensure the skin remains that way for years to come. It should gain its moisturizing properties in the most natural way possible. These properties are determined largely by the soap base used in its formulation. See It Starts With the Base.
Rich lathering, yet able to rinse: Who hasn’t indulged in the pleasure of a creamy, rich lather? And some have experienced the nuisance of a soap that doesn’t rinse off. A well made soap should provide rich lather and, at the same time, rinse off readily.
Fragrant: While in some cases a lack of fragrance is desirable for special skin conditions or sensitivities, many people enjoy the scent of their bathing products as part of the overall experience. A good soap will have a rich, complex fragrance that tingles the senses and brings a smile to the face with every bath. This experience will not sound familiar to those who have yet to use the right soaps. See Use Only the Finest Fragrances.
Long lasting: No one likes to touch a puddle in the soap dish rather than grasping a firm bar of soap. Soaps that vanish quickly are ill made. A good soap does not dissolve, and it can last for months.
Additional enhancements: Beyond the generally desirable properties, soaps can also offer additional enhancements such as exfoliation or effectiveness for certain special conditions. For example, oatmeal soaps offer all the moisturizing, lathering and fragrance properties mentioned above, and they also exfoliate the skin via natural oatmeal flakes (key word: natural). Also, there are soaps containing, for example, goat’s milk and honey that are said to help with special skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. Such soaps can be selected based on personal preferences or recommendations from skin care professionals.
It Starts With the Base
There are generally two types of bases: tallow and vegetable. Tallow is an animal by- product that typically leads to a harder, dryer, and lower-lathering soap (and to which some people object on ethical grounds).
Vegetable bases are mainly made from palm and coconut oils. These oils typically yield more moisturizing and richer lathering soaps. Two important aspects to consider when assessing vegetable bases are their glycerin content and how far from harvest they are made into a soap base.
Glycerin, a natural moisturizer, is found in coconut and palm oils. Many soap base manufacturers remove the glycerin during their manufacturing process and sell it separately; many soap makers buy this lower grade, low-glycerin soap base to make their soaps.
The time elapsed between the oils’ harvesting and their manufacture into a soap base is also extremely important. These oils are sensitive to degradation, and if too much time goes by they acquire a yellowish hue as well as a strong odor, both of which adversely affect the purity of color and fragrance that can be achieved in the final soap.
Caswell-Massey buys the best soap base in the world. It is manufactured only hours from where palm and coconut are harvested to ensure a pure, clean, color-free and odor-free base. This pure base allows colors to be beautiful and fragrances to display their full richness. Our base has all the glycerin naturally contained in the original oils, and additional glycerin is added to further enhance the moisturizing properties. Pure, and naturally moisturizing, soaps.
Use Only the Finest Fragrances
A high quality soap should smell like a high end fragrance – nothing less. This can only be achieved by using perfume-grade oils in high concentrations.
Good perfumes have a hierarchy of notes, delivering a top note, middle, and base notes, offering a full symphony of fragrance. Lower quality fragrances can deliver a brash top note, the equivalent of a clash of cymbals, while the rest of the orchestra goes missing. Similarly, a good soap can provide a rich, exhilarating experience similar to a fine cologne.
Caswell-Massey uses only full complexity, perfume-grade oils in its soaps, costing many times more than single note, lower-end alternatives. Furthermore, the fragrance comprises up to 3% of the bar’s weight, and is distributed throughout to ensure that the sensory experience lasts until the product has been used up.
Mill It Until It Is Just Right
Milling is an oft-mentioned part of the manufacturing process, with terms such as triple-milled or French-milled in common use, and with some manufacturers claiming that their soaps are milled five, six, or seven times. There is some science behind the process, and an optimum amount of milling has been determined.
Soap milling is a process for mixing the soap ingredients, and is done under varying degrees of pressure. The objective is to thoroughly mix the ingredients and to squeeze out any excess moisture. Successful milling will lead to a soap with homogeneous color, lathering, and fragrance properties throughout; milling also contributes to the smooth surface finish one normally associates with soap. It is possible, however, to mill soap too many times, resulting in a soap that is dry and hard to the touch, lower lathering, and less fragrant.
Caswell-Massey soaps are triple-milled to be just right. They are rich lathering, their rich fragrance is mixed throughout the whole bar, and they last many times longer than other luxury soaps. Perfect.