The answer is Yes and No
Just like fine wine, Chagrin Valley Handcrafted Soaps get better with age. Left to cure for several months, moisture will evaporate out of your bar of handmade soap and the soap will become slightly smaller, harder, longer lasting, and more mild. The harder (older) the soap, the longer it lasts and the better lather it produces. We allow our soaps and shampoos to cure for 8 to 10 weeks. This resting process assures a fine quality product. You simply cannot rush a good thing.
The method we chose to superfat our soaps creates a bar with a high percentage of unincorporated oils. (We superfat our soaps more than our shampoo bars.) This results in a more emollient, more moisturizing, and gentler soap.
Different oils impart different qualities to soap. Some add lathering qualities, some moisturizing, some hardness, and so on. We use a larger percentage of extra moisturizing and conditioning oils in our soaps and shampoo bars than many other soapmakers. As a result, you may notice our bar soaps tend to be softer than those of other soapmakers, especially our shampoo bars which contain a large percentage of castor oil.
Natural soaps need to breathe. Exposure to air promotes hardening of your soap and contributes to longer-lasting quality. Soap should be left unwrapped or wrapped with breathable materials. Tight wrappers cause humid conditions by preventing evaporation of moisture.
Chagrin Valley Handcrafted Soaps contain all natural fresh ingredients and no artificial preservatives. We superfat our soaps by adding extra oils and butters, like jojoba oil, avocado oil, or shea butter. These oils are not consumed in the soap making process and remain to nourish your skin. These unreacted oils add beneficial properties to the soap, but they can spoil over long periods of time. We do not use synthetic stabilizers or preservatives like BHT or Trisodium EDTA to prolong shelf life. These materials can be skin irritants and are usually found in commercial soaps to extend their shelf life for years. We use natural antioxidants, such as rosemary oil extract, to help prolong the shelf life of our superfatted soaps.
Store your natural handmade soaps in a dry, cool place away from excessive heat and humidity. You can store them in their little brown bags!
Our scented soaps, like Lavender Rosemary, can be placed in your linen closet or dresser drawer to give a delightful fragrance to your linens and clothes while waiting to be used.
As all natural soaps age, some of the natural essential oil scent may be lost over time, especially from the surface. But it will be there when you lather up! Over time, natural color may also fade.
So... Do Chagrin Valley soaps have a definite shelf life?
We recommend that you use your all natural soaps within twelve months of purchase especially if they are scented. Some bars, like the Castile, are better the older they are!
Will Chagrin Valley soap last as long as a bar of commercial soap?
Natural soaps are normally softer than commercial soaps because they retain their natural glycerin and contain no hardening chemicals or synthetic waxes.
To maximize the life of your soap, keep it in a well-drained soap dish so it can dry between uses.
We sell a handcrafted solid white oak soap dish. The deep ridges are perfect for keeping your all natural handcrafted soap dry between uses. White Oak is the wood used in shipbuilding.