Although we get asked this question often, it is a very difficult one to answer, because the bottom line is . . . how old is the bar? Is It freshly cut or has it been allowed to cure?
Handmade soap and shampoo bars made using the cold process method and at the end of the soap reaction (saponification), they still contain water. The curing process allows excess water to evaporate.
Our freshly cut full-size bars are soft and weigh approximately 6.0 to over 6.5 ounces.
These bars will lose approximately 12% of their weight as most of the water evaporates during the first 6 to 8 weeks of curing time. This means that an average fresh bar, at 6.5 ounces will weigh approximately 5.7 ounces after about 8 weeks.
At Chagrin Valley Soap, our soap and shampoo bars are cured for about 10 to 12 weeks before selling and moisture will continue to evaporate over time as the bar ages. So, as our soap and shampoo bars sit waiting for a new home they will continue to shrink in size.
Some soap makers use the fresh-cut weight on their packaging, but we feel that is an inaccurate description. We use the average weight of our bars after at least a 10 week curing time.
While some companies allow their soaps to cure for only 4-weeks, but we know that our longer, slower curing time ensures a milder, harder, longer-lasting bar, with a very rich lather.
Some soap companies shrink wrap their soap bars to help prevent continuous shrinkage due to evaporation. We have a few big problems with that idea. First of all, we know that we definitely do not need any more plastic added to our planet. Secondly, although we know there will continue to be a small weight (and scent) loss over time, we prefer that over sacrificing the quality of our soap.
Since each of our soap/shampoo recipes is different and the percent of liquid used varies, the amount of water that evaporates over time and the bar size will also vary.
The average weight of Chagrin Valley full-size natural soap and shampoo bars is about 5.2 to 5.6 ounces after 10 weeks of curing. The average full-bar dimensions in inches are approximately 3.75 x 3 x 1.
Our Mini Bars of Soap and Shampoo (Loofah Foot, Pet Bars & Camping) weigh approximately 3 to 3.6 ounces.
Our Natural Soap and Shampoo Trial Size Sample Bars weigh approximately 1.5 to 2 ounces.
Summary of the variation in weight
- Our soaps are a handmade product
- As our curing bars sit and wait for a new home, they will continue to lose water weight and shrink a bit
- Since all of our recipes are different, the amount and type of liquid used to make each recipe differ and the more liquid used in the recipe, the more they will shrink as they cure
- In Winter the dry heat will often cause bars to shrink a bit more
- No plastic wrapping
- The good news is that the older bars will last longer and lather even better
Compare our bar size! Most handmade soap companies sell full size bars that are about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces. Our customers have told us that they like the larger size bars.
When you compare the prices of other soaps, please compare SIZE and ingredients as well!
For a great explanation of the process involved in making soap please read our blog, "How We Make Soap"