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How We Make Soap

Our soaps are handmade with an emphasis on pure, natural ingredients and herbal therapy. With many of our precious oils, butters and plant ingredients used being grown organically or wild-harvested.
About Highland Soap™

We are a family-run manufacturing business based in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Our products are handmade in our workshop in beautiful Lochaber, in one of the most stunning parts of West Highland Scotland. With breathtaking views towards Aonach Mor, The Grey Corries Mountains, The Great Glen, and the shadows of the north face of Ben Nevis. Our beautiful highland landscape has always been the source of inspiration for our products.

A brief history of soap

Soaps have been made for millennia. Apart from making fire and cooking food, "saponifying" oil and fat into soap is one of the oldest and simplest organic chemical reactions known to ancient man (and ancient woman!). The earliest recorded evidence of the production of soap dates back to around 2800 BC in Ancient Babylon. A formula for soap consisting of water, alkali and cassia oil was written on a Babylonian clay tablet around 2200 BC. The Ebers papyrus (Egypt, 1550 BC) indicates that ancient Egyptians bathed regularly and combined animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts to create soap. [1]

Cold-process handmade soap

Soap was originally made by boiling lard together with lye or potash; hydrolysis of the fats and oils occurred, producing crude soap. For our cold-process, we combine vegetable oils (no animal fats) with an alkali. A vegetable oil is a "triglyceride" which means that three fatty acids of various carbon lengths are attached to a glycerine backbone. The alkali is either sodium (for bars) or potassium (for liquids) hydroxide, made by running electricity through salt water.

During the saponification process, the glycerine is split off from the fatty acids, and the fatty acids combine with the sodium or potassium to form soap, while the hydroxide forms water. The result is soap, glycerin and water (no alkali remains). Our soap retains all the naturally produced glycerine to moisturise skin. Glycerine also keeps our products fresh for a long time without the need for preservatives. Glycerine is in fact more valuable by weight than soap; it's the wonderful skin-loving ingredient. For this reason it is often removed from commercially produced soap and sold for use in other skin care products. Stripped of glycerine, you end up with a detergent based soap needing synthetic moisturising ingredients that can cause dry, itchy skin. This is why mass-produced soap is vastly different to our bars handmade using traditional cold-batch process methods.

Traditional handmade soaps

Our soaps are handmade in small batches by century's old traditional cold-batch processes using the finest Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Corn Oil, Sustainable Organic Palm Oil and Castor Oil with our locally pure Scottish Highland water. We then enrich our soaps with natural skin-nourishing Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter. Our handmade soaps produce a rich creamy lather to help nourish and moisturise your skin. The naturally occurring glycerine will help to retain your skins moisture. This slow method of soap production takes us about 4-weeks to cure each carefully prepared small batch.

Organic glycerine soaps

Moisturising soaps, made with skin-loving glycerine from organic vegetable oils. These soaps gently cleanse and nourish to help keep skin smooth, soft and supple. Using the finest quality organic ingredients to produce our soaps not only helps to protect the environment from intensive farming methods and chemical treatment of natural ingredients, but also ensures these benefits are passed directly to your skin.

SLS surfactant free soap

  • Our handmade soaps contain no artificial surfactants (foaming ingredients), such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES).
    No Parabens are used as preservatives.

1. "Soap" in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia; (Wikimedia Foundation Inc., updated 5 April 2008); available from; retrieved 07 April 2008.

Blocks of handmade natural soap


Making rosehip and patchouli handmade soap.


Cutting into blocks of natural handmade soap.


Blocks of  handmade soap curing