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#1

Member
Nashville
This topic comes up from time to time with the common theme being that harder soaps last longer.

I don't think that's necessarily the case. Consider this: 

There is a minimum required amount of soap to create enough lather for your shave. We can look at that amount in terms of weight (let's assume it's 1g for the sake of discussion). 1g of soap is 1g of soap, regardless of the soap's hardness. So while some soaps may require more per lather, it can be attributed mostly to the soap's recipe instead of its density. Admittedly, it's easier to use more of a soft soap than it is a hard soap and I'm sure that's helped perpetuate the idea.

But what about triple milled?

In the early days of soap making, the purity of the ingredients and potency of the lye was inconsistent and thus, difficult to measure. Soap was created much like an artisan would create it today, but due to those inconsistencies it also had to be boiled to remove said impurities and salted to precipitate out the excess lye. The result was a soap with way too much water in it. The need to remove that additional water lead to the triple milling technique.

Today, its necessity stems from the outsourcing of soap as "soap noodles" (a soap base that looks a lot like noodles). Companies will buy those bases and add their own botanicals, cosmetics, fragrances, etc. to them. Any idea what the easiest way to do that is? Triple milling!

So, while the finished result of a triple milled soap makes it easier to handle and package, neither are realized advantages in terms of a soap's general performance as it relates to shaving. As it relates to artisans, soaps are generally created with the minimum amount of water necessary to mix the lye; a lot of which is then evaporated out during the hot process cook. And since the soap is completely created in house, botanicals, cosmetics, fragrances, etc. are introduced into the soap before it's hardened, making the blending process both efficient and effective.

TL;DR:
  • 1g of soap is 1g of soap
  • Triple Milling is the result of necessity, not advantage
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#2
I am wondering if one advantage of triple milled soaps is increased homogeneity of ingredients throughout the soap. This and perhaps increased density allows for packaging equivalent weight of soap in a smaller package. Also, do you think maybe density makes loading easier in terms of time since, at least in theory, there is more soap "particles" and less air or whatever between the soaps? I am not sure I think of the triple milling as a necessity only for soapers using "noodles" or whatever pre-made base they may use, although it is likely necessary in those cases. I can see there is potential advantage in terms of packaging a mass of soap in smaller amounts and depending on the formulation it could mean a better distribution of components of the soap. First post here, and so far I have really been enjoying the threads. Coincidentally, I own two bufflehead soaps and have to say you have one awesome product there. Can't wait until you restock... I would love to try the A1A
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#3

Soap Slinger
Burnsville, MN
I do think that some people perceive soft soaps as running out faster because they overload. They swirl their brush the same amount of time as they do on harders, triple milled soaps w/ more sodium salts, and thus pick up way more soap than they need to.
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#4

Member
Los Angeles
I want to agree so much, but I have no actual facts to support it. I have old(er) soft soap and very old triple milled kind, both are in usable condition. To have a true test though, you would have to take 2 soaps from the same batch, mill one and put them away for 20 years Smile
#5
In a vacuum which will fall faster; a bowling ball or a feather?

What weighs more; a pound of bricks or a pound of cotton balls?

To me as a soap user the hardness of the soap also equates to the effort needed to lather it properly; especially in my very hard water. Too soft & it can get messy for us face-latherers. Triple milled hard though could require much more effort loading to scrape off enough soap solids to form a usable & proper lather.
>>> Brian <<<
Happy beeps, buddy! Happy beeps!
#6

Member
Nashville
(07-16-2015, 06:19 PM)jiaconianni Wrote: I am wondering if one advantage of triple milled soaps is increased homogeneity of ingredients throughout the soap.   This and perhaps increased density allows for packaging equivalent weight of soap in a smaller package.  Also, do you think maybe density makes loading easier in terms of time since, at least in theory, there is more soap "particles" and less air or whatever between the soaps?  I am not sure I think of the triple milling as a necessity only for soapers using "noodles" or whatever pre-made base they may use, although it is likely necessary in those cases.  I can see there is potential advantage in terms of packaging a mass of soap in smaller amounts and depending on the formulation it could mean a better distribution of components of the soap.  First post here, and so far I have really been enjoying the threads.  Coincidentally, I own two bufflehead soaps and have to say you have one awesome product there.  Can't wait until you restock... I would love to try the A1A

That's definitely the pitch. That triple milling a soap crushes the crystalline structures in the soap to create some that's more smooth/creamy. If you're adding ingredients after the soap has been formed, it's necessary (think pharmacist using a mortar and pestle). Most artisan's add all the ingredients in a liquid state, making them easily blended.

Density is one possible outcome, but it's not constant (note: density and hardness being two separate properties). Though, your comment about packaging touches on a good point. Hard (puck) soaps are much easier/cheaper to package. As for ease of loading, there are a lot of other factors (IMO) that supersede the soap's density and/or hardness (eg: water hardness, recipe, brush, etc.).

Glad to have you posting and happy to hear you're enjoying my soap!


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