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The dirt about Soaps

The dirt about Soaps


Historically, soap was made from vegetable oils, such as olive oil, aromatic oils (such as Thyme or Laurel oil) and lye (al-Soda al-Kawia) and was first produced by Muslim chemists in the medieval Islamic world. Some theories maintain the Romans first discovered Soap when the fat from the roasting meat trickled through the ash from the fire into the river, making foam. Either way, the basic formula for soap hasn’t changed since then. Get the dirt about soaps and everything you need to know about Olive Oil Soaps.

Olive Oil Soap is the most famous of soaps – well known as Castile Soap in Spain and Italy and Marseille Soap in France. Traditionally soap could only be called Castile if it was made from all or predominantly Olive Oil.

Unfortunately, these days in Europe much of what is sold as “Castile” or “Marseille Soap” contains mostly Palm Oil!


Valor soaps contain a blend of over 70% Organic Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil with added Organic Coconut Oil, Castor Bean Oil, Shea Butter, and  Avocado Oil. Our formulas provide a soap that is gentle on the skin and the environment. Every recipe has slightly different ingredients and qualities, of course, however, we follow very simple criteria…

  • Easy to lather
  • Glide Factor
  • Stimulating aroma and texture
  • Easy to wash off
  • Leaves skin soft and nourished
  • 100% Natural! 97% Organic

And of course, a sharp Razor is essential!

The dirt about SOAPS #QUICKFACTS


Around 95-98% of soap available today has PALM OIL in it. (And soap is just a drop in the bucket in terms of overall palm oil usage). SEE “What’s the Fuss about Palm Oil” for Information about Palm Oil.


Many so-called “handmade” soaps are actually made from premade “Soap Mix” (just like instant “Cake Mix”).

WHY? It’s Simple! However, when pre-made soap base is used, the maker is not controlling what ingredients have gone into the soap – it may have olive oil in it for example, but where did it come from? What sort of oil was it? – refined, bleached, or deodorised? What is the actual percentage in the soap mix? – we obviously have too many questions for that method

NOTE: Valor soaps are handmade from SCRATCH – not a pre-made soap base. Our soap is cured for a minimum of 6-8 weeks before being sold.


Genuine soap is made with “Lye” (Sodium Hydroxide). Lye also know as Potash, was originally made from wood ash from fires, but is now made commercially. Properly made soap has no Lye left in the final product. It is transformed in the saponification process.

If soap is being sold as “soap without Lye”, then it will contain a detergent base such as Sodium Laurel Sulphate. It is not true Soap!

As the Lye is part of the saponification process, you’re not required to list Sodium Hydroxide or Lye as a separate ingredient but rather listed as the end product name. Look for Saponification of.. , Sodium Palmate (Palm oil and Sodium Hydroxide), Sodium Olivate (Olive oil and sodium Hydroxide)


The main end product of saponification is Glycerin. In commercial soap manufacturing, much of the Glycerin is removed after the soap is made (then reused in face creams etc), while the soap is re-milled into a bar form. Our Valor soap retains ALL of the natural, nourishing glycerin, which makes an incredibly gentle soap for using on your face or anywhere!


Handmade Artisan Soap is different from commercially made soap, which has been “milled”. Milling means the natural glycerin has been removed from the soap (and then synthetic – cheaper – glycerine added back in! Go figure!) and it has been pressed back together by heavy machinery – making a harder bar, but usually more drying to the skin.

Our handmade soap retains all the lovely Glycerine produced in the saponification process.  For this reason, you should always allow your soap to “Air”  between uses. Never leave it sitting in water, as Glycerine is a humectant – attracting moisture and your soap will go too soft.

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