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FAQ
Use & Care


My interest in soap-making began at the end of 1999, when I received a popular "soap-making" kit for Christmas.

Until then, I hadn't given a lot of thought to what I was really washing my hands and body with every single day... I'd pick up whatever "beauty bar" or "cleansing bar" was on the store shelves and just accept it as as matter of course when later, my skin felt dry, taut and itchy and I had to slather on the store-bought lotion. Then slather the lotion on again a couple of hours later... Wash. Rinse. Repeat...

Using the kit was fun, but the resulting 'soap' still left a lot to be desired.

Thoroughly fascinated now by the idea of great handmade soap, I began researching how and what good soap was made of (and what the store-bought "cleansing bars" really contained); how the different fats and oils work together, and which qualities individual oils and other ingredients could bring to the mix.

By the end of 2000, after countless hours of research, sampling different soaps bought from soap-makers at local craft fairs and on-line, and many, many experimental batches of soap I'd made myself - learning from each one - I finally felt I'd developed a product that not only made my skin very happy, but was good enough to send to friends and family for real-world testing.

It was at their insistence that I signed up at a few local craft bazaars as a vendor of hand-made soaps. When my customers began contacting me to ask for more, Sagegold Soaps was born.

Since that time, each batch of my cold process soaps has been carefully formulated from scratch; measured, mixed and cut by hand; colored and scented with high-quality, skin-safe pigments and fragrances, and “cured” for several weeks to make a solid, long-lasting, effective and gentle product.

Because Sagegold Soaps are a true soap and retain all of their natural glycerin (a humectant) and small amounts of skin-friendly emollient oils, your skin will be left feeling simply clean and comfortable - not over-stripped and dried out as you may have experienced with commercial cleansing bars, which often contain harsh detergents and synthetic sudsing agents, and have had the glycerin extracted.

Once you've tried our soaps, your skin won't ever want to go back to commercial cleansing bars!

Sagegold Soaps hand-crafted soaps are a product you will enjoy using every day, as well as a gift you can be proud to give to friends and family.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Is your soap made with lye?

A: Yes… ALL soap is made with Sodium Hydroxide (Lye). It is necessary, in order to create saponification - the chemical reaction that makes soap… otherwise you would just be washing with a nice-smelling puddle of oil and water :) However, NO lye remains in properly made, finished soap.

(Commercial soap products/cleansing bars are also made with lye … If you check the labels, you will probably find that within the first few ingredients listed are “Sodium Tallowate” or "Sodium Palmate" and “Sodium Cocoate”. In plain English, those three ingredients are soap made from lye, water and animal tallow (fat), and soap made from lye, water and fatty acids of palm or coconut oil, respectively.

Q: Do you use animal fats to make your soap?

A: No… Because I recognize that some of my customers are sensitive to such issues, I choose to use only pure, food-safe vegetable oils and fats to make my soaps. I do, however, use Tussah Noil silk (a cruelty-free silk) in each soap, and in some soaps, goat’s milk.

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Q: Can I use your soaps on my face?

A: For most people, Yes. Sagegold Soaps can be used on your face, or any other part of your body that needs washing :) In fact, I have several customers who tell me that my soaps are the only product they’ve found which they can use on their faces.

If you have extremely sensitive skin, or aren’t sure if you might have an allergy to an ingredient in the soap, I recommend that you do a “patch test” before using it all over… Wet a corner of the soap, then rub it on to a small inconspicuous area of skin such as the inside of your upper arm or inner thigh, and leave on for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly. (Remember soap is not intended to be a leave-on product) If irritation develops or persists, you are sensitive to some ingredient in the soap and should not use it.

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Q: What’s the difference between your soaps and harsh lye soap my great-grandmother used to make?

A: In the old days, whether using home-made lye (potassium hydroxide), or store-bought lye in a can, recipes and measurements were imprecise at best... A common recipe for household soap called for 6 pounds of cleaning fat, a third of a can of lye and  a quart of water... Recipes like this led to a very lye-heavy soap - excellent for laundry and household cleaning, but extremely harsh on skin.

Thanks to science and technology, we now know that each and every oil and fat has a specific saponification value (meaning that it takes a certain amount of sodium hydroxide to turn a certain amount of a given oil into soap), and the sodium hydroxide available to us is standardized to be exactly the same strength each and every time.

Each ingredient in my soaps has been chosen carefully for what it will add (lather, conditioning, richness, etc.) and is measured precisely to give a 7% - 9% super-fat (a tiny bit more oils than the lye will saponify), leaving me with a consistently gentle, cleansing, nice-feeling product – every single time.

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Q: You say you “Super-Fat” your soap… Does that mean it will leave my skin feeling oily or greasy?

A: Absolutely not. A small amount of super-fatting is necessary to ensure that all of the sodium hydroxide has been used up, and that the soap will effectively clean dirt, germs and excess oils from your skin without over-stripping it, leaving a rich, emollient, moisturizing feeling to the soap.

In fact, if you have problems with oily skin, you may find that using super-fatted handmade soap reduces or eliminates those problems. Your skin has a natural oil barrier that helps protect it from harmful factors in the environment… Regular soaps and detergents strip that barrier away, causing your skin to over-react and produce excess oils to replace that natural barrier, leading to pimples, breakouts and blackheads. Super-fatted handmade soap will effectively clean, but not over-strip your skin.

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Q: Are your soaps and lotions "all natural"?

A: Whenever possible, I use natural, vegetable-based ingredients. Any  manufactured ingredients I use are chosen for safety, consistency and cleanliness... 

Sodium hydroxide is made by the electrolysis of a sodium chloride (salt) solution (of course, no sodium hydroxide remains in finished soap).

I use color pigments - iron oxides, ultramarines and micas - which are manufactured to be nature-identical, but without the harmful and toxic metals such as mercury and lead that the truly natural, mined counterparts contain.

In my lotions, I also use synthetic preservatives - Phenonip (Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben), and Disodium EDTA - simply because there is no natural preservative system that has been proven safe and effective at preventing harmful bacterial and fungal growth which could lead to serious health problems.

Although most of the fragrances I use are man-made fragrance oils, I do offer a variety of unscented products, and products that are fragranced with natural essential oils. A list of ingredients contained in each product I make can be seen by clicking on that product's name or photo.

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Use and Care of your Sagegold Soaps

Storage: For long-term storage, keep hand made soaps in a dry place, away from sunlight.

Note: Some shrinkage may occur in storage. This is desirable, as it will make for a harder, longer-lasting bar. Unused scented  soap may be kept on closet shelves, in dresser drawers or in linen closets to help freshen your clothes and linens.

Use: True soaps will "melt" quickly if left in standing water. For longer lasting bars, please keep soaps in a well-drained soap dish when not in use.

Cautions: Soaps or other skin care products containing fragrance oils or pigments (coloring) should never be used on infants under 1 year of age, due to the sensitivity of their young skin. For the care of your infant, please try our unscented, uncolored "Oatmeal, Milk & Honey" or "Plain Jane" soaps, and our unscented Lotions.

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Copyright © 2000 - 2017 by Kerry Biglin/Sagegold Soaps. All rights reserved worldwide.

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