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What "and honey" means in an Antika Nueva soap:

honey science soap

Honey is a fun ingredient for soap, and I use it a LOT.   Here's why:

Honey is both a humectant and antibiotic. It's still used in some places as a wound dressing-- go ahead and google. It's fascinating stuff.

But when I add honey to soap, it's because I'm looking for a couple of effects specifically. The humectancy, and the fact that it causes handmade soap to "mellow" and the scents become more true-to-plant.


Watching soap gel up and get to "trace"--the stage where if you lift out the mixer, it leaves traces on the top of the soap, like pudding--is pretty fascinating on its own. But when you add honey, it goes a whole other shade of weird--specifically, orange.


When you combine lye, water, and oils together and blend, it turns a sort of creamy white. The only time soap turns any sort of color is when you add IN color--except with honey. That, you pour in and because the heat of the chemical reaction is enough to carmelize the sugar in honey, it turns pumpkin orange-- but eventually, when it cures, it turns a light beige/offwhite.   The carmelizing helps sustain the heat reaction a bit longer than it normally would go, as well.

Now, frankly, I'm easily enough entertained that just turning soap orange would be cool enough for me. But what I've also found over time is that many fragrance oils (and some essential oils) tend to smell sorta soapy and ...not great, out of the bottle. The extra heat that honey adds to the chemical process really cooks out the chemical notes of those scents, and mellow them into something more like what you would expect out of nature.


So, that's your cool kitchen chemistry fact for today. And so if you see a soap scent that says "and honey"-- I don't use honey scent, I use ACTUAL HONEY.

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