Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General So, what makes a good soap bar?

  • So, what makes a good soap bar?

    Posted by mikethair on February 6, 2024 at 5:29 pm

    Well, we are told it’s a balance of hardness, lather, and moisturizing. But doing all three is tricky. You see, each property comes from different fatty acids in the vegetable oils of soap bars.

    My approach was different. First, I redefined soap bars as a category. Then set new standards. I aimed to elevate our customers to a higher level of existence…….. and yes, price.

    I spent nearly two years perfecting our soap bar formulations. A continuous cycle of formulating, testing, retesting, measuring, changing the controllable conditions, and testing again.

    I aimed to produce a hard soap bar. Why? So, it wouldn’t dissolve in the soap holder and make a mess. And most importantly, my soap bars would be long-lasting. It provides customers with value for money.

    And after two years of development, our iconic range of seven soap bars emerged. Star Aniseed & Coffee; Basil & Lemongrass; Clove; Lemongrass; Patchouli; Cinnamon & Frankincense; and No Fragrance.

    I co-founded Indochine Natural and established a manufacturing factory Viet Nam (2003) and Malaysia (2006).

    Our soap bars were an instant hit. Sales skyrocketed globally. And we battled to keep up with demand.

    But March 2023 saw the end of Indochine Natural.

    Since then, I have continually been contacted by customers from around the world wanting our soap bars. This was a message I received a few days ago:

    im still unable to find any replacement for your patchouli soap. gonna miss them badly after the last 4 pieces. no other brands produce solid soap like yours, real solid!

    I’m now looking for someone who can produce our range of soap bars. I have the detailed formulations.

    Contact me if interested, or if you know someone.<o:p></o:p>

    Dr Mike Thair

    mikethair replied 2 days, 11 hours ago 3 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • chemicalmatt

    February 7, 2024 at 12:00 pm

    Mike, do not know if you need Asian source, but in the USA you might contact Vermont Soap Factory http://www.vermontsoap.com They promote their house brands but also do private label at small scale, mainly sticking with Castille formulations.

    • mikethair

      February 7, 2024 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion, but would probably be a lot easier if we stuck with those in our own backyard.

  • jupiter

    March 1, 2024 at 7:45 am

    Hi Mike, I am a home soap maker and love experiementing with different recipes. I read your post, particularly about formulating over 2yrs. Soapers usually insist that soap is strictly a wash away the grime product and that it does not moisturise. In my experience some soap formulas leave my skin feeling soft and smooth while others can be a little more drying. So my question is, over the course of formulating soap do you find that soap is strictly wash away or can it be moisturising? Do some fatty acids produce a moisturising effect?

    • mikethair

      March 1, 2024 at 11:11 pm

      Hi @jupiter yes, we manufactured soap bars for 20+ years in Viet Nam and Malaysia and exported globally. In our factories, I set up a physical chemistry lab to back up my formulation experimentation (plus to satisfy our GMP compliance requirements).

      One thing we did was to super-fat recipes. Here we would reduce the amount of NaOH required in a calculated recipe, and this would leave some of the oil un-saponified. This oil would provide the soap bars with a moisturising effect. There were other variables here as well, including the type of oil unsaponified.

      And it worked. I have very very dry skin, and these bars were great on my skin. And the customers loved these bars as well.

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