First of all, what is superfatting? Superfatting is a common practice among soap makers in which the amount of lye used is reduced to allow some oils to remain unsaponified. This is done both for safety and for adding benefits to the soap. Superfatting allows the soap maker to have a margin of error so that the soap does not come out lye rich which can burn the end product user. If the soap has super fats or excess fats, it means that there are absolutely no traces of lye left in the soap.
Superfatting also adds benefits to soap by allowing the excess fats to remain in the soap as moisturizers and conditioners. A good example is a soap made entirely of coconut oil. The saponified product, called sodium cocoate, is so good at cleaning that it can strip all of your natural oils from your skin and leave it feeling dry and irritated. However, if you superfat the soap, or reduce the amount of lye so that only 80 percent of the coconut oil is saponified, the remaining 20 percent of the coconut oil acts as a conditioner that counteracts the drying effects of the sodium cocoate.
In our Surf-N-Suds mariners soap, the majority of it is made of coconut oil because sodium cocoate is one of the few sodium salts that will lather in saltwater. However, because prolonged exposure to the sun and sea can be damaging to the skin, we purposely withhold specific oils and shea butter until after saponification to help the skin heal. This is what’s called targeted superfatting. This alone makes our Surf-N-Suds a superior soap for the Salt Life. Yet, we don’t stop there.
Another way to add both lather and moisturizing properties to soap is to add a humectant. Humectants are hydrophilic compounds that draw in moisture. The absolute best humectant, in my opinion, is pure raw unfiltered honey. Left on the skin, honey will not only draw moisture to the skin but also has antibiotic properties. I prefer honey in my personal soaps.
The honey also adds lather by increasing the surface tension of soap bubbles. Basically it creates a mild syrup on your skin. When you rinse off, the honey left on your skin continues to draw moisture from the air and when absorbed by your skin, provides nutrients to help your skin cells to repair the damage done by normal everyday exposure.
The overall ideas of superfatting and adding honey is actually just a simple way of making your bar of soap more than just a cleanser. Our all-natural hand made soaps are also like healthy nourishment for your skin.