Yesterday's Traditions, Today's Luxuries


Why should I buy handmade soap instead of commercially made soap?

Usually the soaps you find at the grocery stores are not actually soap. Most are made of synthetic detergents. Detergents are great for washing dishes, but not so good on your skin. Have you ever used soap and gotten that tight, dry, itchy feeling? Chances are that was because it was actually a detergent and not a soap. Read the labels. If they call themselves a Beauty Bar, or a Bath Bar, then it is a detergent. If they are detergents, then they can’t legally call themselves soap.

Some of the soaps in the grocery store are actually soaps, and can list Soap on their label. But there is still a big difference between those soaps and a handmade soap. One major brand of soap advertises that it is very pure. This brand is soap, but still very different from a handmade soap. With a handmade soap, the oils, lye, and water are combined to make soap. Natural glycerin is also created in the process. It is a natural by-product of the saponification process. Glycerin is very beneficial for your skin. But instead of leaving it in the soap for your skin's benefit, the commercial soap companies strip it off and sell it to be used in other cosmetic or pharmaceutical products. A handmade soap retains all the skin loving glycerin from the soapmaking process.

Other commercial bars are a combination of soaps, and synthetic detergents. Here are the ingredients of a leading bar made for sensitive skin:
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Synthetic detergent), Stearic Acid (fatty acid), Sodium Tallowate (soap) , Water, Sodium Isethionate(Synthetic detergent) , Coconut Acid, Sodium Stearate (Synthetic detergent), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Synthetic detergent), Sodium Cocoate (Soap) or Sodium Palm Kernelate (soap), Sodium Chloride (table salt), Titanium Dioxide (natural whitener), Sweet Almond Oil, Rosewood Oil (essential oil), Tetrasodium EDTA (water softener), Trisodium Etidronate(preservative), BHT (preservative), Cedarwood Oil (essential oil), Rose Oil (essential oil), Disodium Cocamido-MEA-Sulfosuccinate (synthetic detergent), Cetyl Alcohol (alcohol derived from fats), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E).

After you look at that list of ingredients, compare it to the ingredients in Sego Lily soaps.

What is in your handmade soap?

Sego Lily Soaps are made with food grade vegetable and animal oils and luxury butters. We use a high percentage of olive oil and coconut oil in every batch. And then we use a mixture of food grade oils such as Sunflower oil or Safflower oil. Most batches contain Shea Butter or Cocoa Butter or some other kind of luxury oil. A few batches we formulate without the luxury butters. These are still made with a high percentage of olive oil and coconut oil. These more simple soaps are still very high quality due to the lovely qualities the Olive, coconut oil and tallows add to our soap. We are able to charge less for those soaps, making them a great value. The tallows we use are high quality, clean and make great soaps. We use natural essential oils and skin safe fragrance oils to add fun fragrances to our soap. A few bars are left unscented. Some soaps are colored with natural colorants and skin safe dyes for a colorful and pretty touch. The oils we use are carefully chosen to give a well-balanced bar. A well balanced bar is hard, cleans the skin gently, has fluffy bubbles, creamy lather, has a great texture and feel, and leaves the skin soft.

We have a few all vegetable soaps in our line, but most of our soaps are made with a blend of animal oils, and vegetable oils. I have found that a traditional cold process soap made with a combination of animal and vegetable oils makes a top quality and well rounded soap. There are certain qualities that only animal fats can add to the finished product. These qualities just can't be duplicated in an all vegetable soap. Most of our soaps contain beef tallow or lard (pig tallow) and a lucky few contain deer tallow or other exotic tallows from domestic sources.

A soap made with a blend of animal and vegetable oils make a superior soap when compared to an all vegetable oil soap. If you don't believe me, try them side by side. There are many soapmakers available that make all vegetable soaps. I would never criticize other handmade soap companies. There are many great companies and good people making handmade soaps. I would encourage you to compare Sego Lily Soap to other soap's made with all vegetable oils. Try our soaps side by side and then decide.

For a more detailed explanation on why I choose to use animal oils in my soaps go to my Benefits of Tallow in Soap page.

Does your soap contain lye?

Lye is a necessary ingredient for any soap. Lye is a chemical compound also known as Sodium Hydroxide. It is what make the oils used in a soap batch actually change to soap. Without lye there would be no soap. But rest assured, there is no lye in a properly made bar of soap. The oils in the soap are chemically an acid, and the lye is chemically a base. When you mix an acid and a base together, they create a chemical reaction. In this case the chemical reaction is called Saponification. The oils and lye combine together at a molecular level. The molecules of the oil and the molecules of the lye combine together to make a brand new molecule, a soap molecule. The lye is no longer lye, and the oils are no longer oils. They are transformed into a brand new substance, soap, which is chemically a salt. All the lye is used up in the saponification process, and what is left is a wonderfully gentle soap.

How do I care for a handmade soap?

Handmade soaps should last a long time, so long as it is properly cared for. Be sure to store it on a well-draining soap dish, out of the spray of the shower. If you are using the standard soap dish that comes in most showers and bath tubs, you will probably not see as long of a life for your soap. Find a soap dish that holds the soap up and allows air to circulate around your soap.

I have sensitive skin, and can’t use soap. Can I use yours?

Yes, you will most likely be able to use our soaps because they are incredibly mild and gentle. Most people who think they can't use soap have never tried a real soap. They have used store bought commercial soaps, which are not good for sensitive skin. Most commercial soaps contain detergents, chemical lather boosters, preservatives and other harsh ingredients. A handmade soap is completely different than store bought soap. And handmade soap is perfect for anyone with sensitive skin.

I also used to think I could not use soap. It made me dry and itchy, and sometimes gave me little bumps. It also aggravated my psoriasis. I have very sensitive skin, and so do some of my children. Then I discovered the difference between a store bought “soap” and a real soap. Now I use real handmade soap and my skin loves it. I have had other people tell me they can’t use soap. After I recommend a handmade soap for them, they discover that a handmade soap is good for their skin.

How should I store handmade soaps?

The best place to store a handmade soap before use is in a cool dry place. A linen closet or a drawer will work just fine. I sometimes store them in a paper bag, so the soaps stay clean, but air can still get to them. If you allow air to get to your handmade soap, they will continue to get harder which will help your soap last even longer. As a soap ages it continues to get even more mild, and the lather also increases. So an older bar actually makes for an even better soap. I do recommend using the soap within 6-9 months. Occasionally a fragrance or color can fade over time. But a properly made bar of soap should last for years.

What is the white powder on some handmade soaps?

Occasionally you may see a white powder on the top of some bars of soap. This is a harmless. It forms on soap during the soapmaking process. This powder is called “soda ash”. It forms when air reaches a batch of soap when it is wet in the first couple of days. I try to avoid this just because in my opinion, it is not as pretty as I would like. But if it does form on a bar, it will wash off the first time you use it.

I am allergic to fragrances, can I use your soaps?

We stock a few unscented soaps, which are very lovely to use. They are creamy with lots of fluffy lather. They clean very gently and rinse cleanly. However, if you'd like a fragrance in your soap even though you are allergic to them, look for soaps scented with essential oils instead of fragrance oils. Essential oils are natural and do not usually bother people with fragrance allergies. I myself am allergic to many fragrances. But I have found that I can tolerate all of the fragrances we use because they are very high quality. If you try a fragrance that is not working for you, you can contact us and we will work something out. We want you to be happy with your purchase and love using what you buy from us.

Do you guarantee your products?

We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. If you are not happy with a purchase, email us or call us and we will work something out.