A lot more goes into soap making than many people would believe. Usually, a bar of soap starts with an idea sparked from everyday life or a problem that needs solving. Like you find that your kid is breaking out in hives after spending his free time collecting ants, or you finally get to see that a flower called "Hooker's Lips" is actually a REAL THING and that red color would look beautiful in a bar of soap.
Palicourea elata When on Earth/CC license
In this case, it was daisies. It was a dark and stormy night rainy, humid day which had been preceded by other equally wet rainy days, and I was sick of it. I'd already decided that creating a new soap was really the only way to get past the blues, so I pulled out my equipment and went to work.
First up, sketching out an idea. My drawing skills aren't always the sharpest or fastest, so I often use a template and Photoshop to bring my designs to life.
Once I have my idea on paper, it's time to decide on colors, scents, additives, etc. I usually try to visualize the person I'm making the product for (Oily skin? Dry skin? Problem skin? Acne?) and the usage (For face only? For whole body? ) If it's a completely new recipe, we go through testing, which can take weeks. Oftentimes, we only need to make modifications of our standard recipes to address specific needs.
Then the real fun begins - trying to create what I have in mind and translate it into honest-to-goodness soap. Sometimes we get it right on the very first try. Often it takes several batches to get something I'm satisfied with. Then, once it firms up enough, it is cut into individual bars and the wait to cure begins.
Bark Soap Co. soap bars are cured at a minimum of four weeks. Most bars are more in the 5-6 week range. We even have some bars that can take 8 months to a year to be ready! Field of Dreams bars were cured at six weeks, and then tested.
When we're satisfied, bars are packaged and ready to ship to their new homes!