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The exact origins of soap are unknown, though Roman sources claim it dates back to at least 600 B.C., when Phoenicians prepared it from goat's tallow and wood ash. Soap was also made by the Celts, ancient inhabitants of Britain. Soap was used widely throughout the Roman empire, primarily as a medicine.
Mention of soap as a cleanser does not appear until the second century A.D. By the eighth century, soap was common in France, Italy, and Spain, but it was rarely used in the rest of Europe until as late as the 17th century. The earliest recorded evidence of the production of soap-like materials dates back to around 2800 BC in ancient Babylon.
A formula for soap consisting of water, alkali, and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC.
Manufacture of soap began in England around the end of the 12th century. Soap-makers had to pay a heavy tax on all the soap they produced. The tax collector locked the lids on soap boiling pans every night to prevent illegal soap manufacture after hours. Because of the high tax, soap was a luxury item, and it did not come into common use in England until after the tax was repealed in 1853. In the 19th century, soap was affordable and popular throughout Europe.
COLD PROCESS SOAP
Cold process soap is made by mixing fatty acids and sodium hydroxide (lye) together. Fatty acids used in this method can be almost any oil, such as beef tallow, olive oil or hemp oil.
Cold process soap making represents a combination of an art and science. In order to manufacture the product which is mild and skin friendly, cold-process method require exact measurement of lye (sodium hydroxide) and fat amount that forms a chemical reaction called ''saponification'' during which the oils and lye mix and become soap.
In the cold process method, a sufficient temperature for saponification is also required.
After the lye and fat have been mixed, this mixture may be kept warm to ensure that the soap is completely saponified. The cold process method takes approximately six weeks to fully complete.
Soap produced by cold process method has hard, long lasting quality. Depending on the oils used, the soap can be incredibly mild or be very moisturising.