Why Is Handmade Soap So Expensive?
By The Peak Soap Team
Handmade soap is so expensive because soap, just like a fine cheese, takes time to produce and cure. Most of it is made by small businesses using traditional cold process methods. Cold process soap takes 6 weeks before it is ready. This process requires the storage of soap at the correct ambient temperature and humidity and the constant tending and turning of the soap. So one reason handmade soap is so expensive is the time it takes to make it. Another time based constraint is packaging soap. If you produce hundreds or thousands of bars of soap made by hand, they all have to be packed by hand too.
Handmade soap is usually in high demand because of its purity and sometimes its regional, tourist facing appeal. Soap made by hand, particularly cold process soap, contains natural ingredients which are highly sought after for their health benefits. Traditional handmade soap is much cleaner and practical than SYNDET soap and tends to be made in small batches in the different counties up and down the UK. High demand combined with labour costs and time means that there just isn’t that much of it to go round!
Handmade soap tends to be made from natural vegetable oils, essential oils and botanics which are all health promoting ingredients. Vegetable oils contain many molecules which are present in healthy skin and are thus a source replenishment and moisture. SYNDET soap bars (supermarket soap) are synthetic and contain few if any of these elements. Vegetable oils and real essential oils are expensive and have to be bought in bulk to achieve scalable results for the mostly small businesses.
Handmade soap is very labour intensive by nature. Instead of a machine making the soap a person has to make it by hand using traditional methods and means. Handmade soap is first mixed by hand, a skilled process that involves knowledge of good bench chemistry, cookery, part sculpting, an eye for colour and lots of patience! Workers with the latter skill are hard to find. After soap is mixed and put into moulds it is cut by hand and tended for 6 weeks. Along with packing that equals a lot of labour.
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