Nobody wants to purchase an artisan soap with quality ingredients just to see it turn into a puddle or for it to get used up quickly. Proper drainage and proper care is VERY important for cold process soap. But why? Why does it require a little extra care at the point of use?? The answer actually has to do with why cold-process soap is also very good for your skin.
Most of the commercially-produced soap bars are filled with detergents and surfectants, and have had the glycerine (a natural product of the saponification process) removed from them during the manufacturing process (usually for use in lotions or other beauty products). Glycerine is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture to itself. In soap, it means you aren't getting so dried out when you wash. So those other bars can leave a sticky layer on your skin from the detergents and such that don't fully wash off, while actually drying you out in the process. Cold process soap, on the other hand; has ALL of the glycerine intact so you get a clean-rinsing wash that allows the skin to retain its' natural moisture.
The partial downside to this is that handmade soaps are simply not made to sit in any amount of water between uses (or they will get prematurely soft).
So, how can you get the most out of your skin-loving soaps? We recommend use of a soap deck, "soap saver" style dish or another dish with good drainage capacity that allows your handcrafted gem to fully air out between uses. A 2-piece dish (soap saver set inside a closed dish that can catch moisture) can be useful if you tend to buy very colorful soaps and don't want any colored water to dribble on your kitchen or bath fixtures.
Here's a strategy that's good for large families/high frequency use soaps: keep one "in-use" soap in a fully draining dish and one "backup" handy. Once every few days, switch them out. Allowing a real FULL dry-out between uses will let the surface of the bar harden again and you will notice the difference in your pocketbook over time. If you use real wooden soap dishes you can use the same strategy with them as well – just switch the soap AND dish each time.
Shown here is our fun “The Big Island” swirled cold process soap with Activated Charcoal and Sweet Almond Oil in a lovely Hawaiian floral blend in a soap-deck style dish. Hope this helps – have fun with your skin-loving and long-lasting soaps!