It’s been almost a year since our first ever batch of soap, and slowly but surely we’re perfecting our recipes. We’ve dubbed our most recent incarnation, “Универсален Боец: Универсален Сапун” (Universal Soldier: Universal Soap). After a few batches of lovely bubbly luxury soap, we’re tackling the every day formula. It cleans. It biodegrades. It subverts the system. It’s not for sale, but we’d love to give you a bar.
Our hope with the soaps that we make…is to create soap that works, with oils whose production benefit people and the planet. Ideally, our oils would all come from known producers on farms which strive to increase biodiversity. At the moment, however, we’re far from ideal. Nonetheless, we do choose the oils carefully, and continue to seek sources which fulfill our ideal. What follows is a list of the ingredients in this soap and why we chose them.
Sunflower – 55/59%* total oils. We’ve selected sunflower oil for this soap for a few reasons. 1. It helps to keep the monetary cost low. 2. We know the producers. 3. It’s a local product. Sunflower oil is high in oleic acid, which helps keep skin soft, an important feature of the everyday bar. Sunflower oil produces a very soft soap, and its inclusion in this recipe makes the soap ideal for creating liquid cleaning solutions.
Coconut – 34/30%* total oils. We’ve found coconut oil to be nearly indispensable in our soapmaking. It’s one of the few oils which creates a hard bar (soft bars quickly disappear and may turn to gel when left in wet or hot environments). The lauric and myristic acids in this oil create a rich foam and endow the soap with effective cleaning properties. Unfortunately, coconuts are not exactly a local product, and finding an ethical source of coconut oil will be one of our priorities as we continue making soaps. I am uneasy about the potential ethical issues behind the production of the most widely available coconut oils, however, I do feel better knowing it’s almost certainly less problematic than palm oil, which remains a popular ingredient in many homemade soap recipes.
Castor – 11/11%* total oils. The castor oil we use is pharmaceutical grade oil. It’s a good oil for soapmaking especially because of the creamy, bubbly lather it produces, as well as its skin conditioning properties. Castor grows well in Bulgaria, and we’d love some day to work directly with a local producer.
Nettle Leaves – We used ground, dried nettle leaves to give the soap a rad green color. The nettle comes from our back yard, talk about local!
We’ve been sharing bars from two batches. The first, batch 0009, is a harder bar with greater cleaning power, speckles of nettle leaves, a pale green shade and very low cost. It’s unscented–the absence of essential oils helps keep costs low and leaves the bar with a pleasant natural soap aroma. The second, batch 0010, is a softer conditioning mint-scented soap with retained cleaning power and dark transparent-cloudy-green color. Both batches make a relatively soft soap, so be sure to keep your bar dry between use!
*Percentages for batch 0009 listed first, 0010 second.