Living in the tropics have its’ ups and downs!
The climate is great, not only is the sun shining for most of the year, but the air is very humid and seasonally moist. Nigeria sits in here, as well as other tropical country and here is what it means for soaps, soap makers and making soaps.
Have you seen sweaty soaps? See below.
Handmade soaps have benefits of the retained glycerin (your soap seller must have preached this too many times) which should create a moisture balance for the skin, as soaps typically wipes off our skin fluid (oil/water).
This same reason is why handmade soaps finish too quickly or rather more quickly than a commercial bar whose glycerin as been extracted out and converted to more currency.
Point to note is the benefit of handmade soaps far outweighs its downside plus experience and professional soap makers should be able to make soaps suited for the tropics. I am assuming here that the reasons may not be clear as to why your soaps are gluey, moldy, sweaty and damp.
There you have it, it is the glycerin and you may be able to do something about it. Read on…
Let’s talk Soap making a bit. There are four, five ways of making great handmade soaps and they are
- Melt and Pour soaps
- Cold process soaps
- Hot process soaps
- Rebatched soaps
- Hybrid process soaps (this one is on me!)☺️
This simple equation is all the chemistry you need to understand the process of soap making, so pay attention to it:
Fats/Oil + Lye = Soap + Glycerol
Glycerol is Glycerin. The reason for our soap sweats and here are my few hacks to combat it, as the saying too much of everything isn’t great. We have humid and dampness already in the tropics, we don’t need our soaps to experience it.
- Stop copying recipes from other (abroad) soap makers and using as is. These recipes are great, but they are mostly superfatted a lot.
- When formulating, strike a balance between your cleansing (hard) oils and your moisturizing (soft) oils.
- If your soap calls for glycerin, reduce it by half
- Soap hot. This means soap at high temperatures while exercising all safety cautions. These high temperatures help your soap gel fast and burn off a part of the glycerol.
- Insulate your soap while gelling. Cover with your bed duvet if possible (😊) and avoid that early contact with the atmosphere. If your leave it open, oxygenation kicks in early and sweating commences
- Allow your soaps to cure properly. Cold process soaps need 4-6 good weeks to cure and release all their free glycerol and water.
If you do all these and you still have a very sweaty soap, blame it on the tropics!
Do you have other hacks to share? Leave a comment and let’s chat.
I hope you had fun reading this.