| by Danielle Vincent

Where there's a mill, there's a way

Recently, we asked our customers (likely even you!) if we should offer a less expensive, not-handmade soap at a lower price.

Most people said they'd buy it (or they'd buy it if it was a good quality soap, which we expected and would offer nothing less!).

The question came up after fielding many questions of "how can I make my soap last longer?" and "your soap is too expensive" (which isn't technically a question, but we'll allow it).

The reason Outlaw Soaps handmade soaps doesn't last too long (depending on your use, your water, and your storage) is because of the oils. We use avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and castor oil in our soap. These are softer oils (with the exception of coconut oil), so the handmade soap tends to melt a little faster than other soaps.

These oils also happen to be delightfully awesome for your skin, and also lather beautifully, so we love 'em (and you do too!), but it does make for a quicker melting bar.

These oils are also expensive and are very influenced by the changing price of natural oils (which is largely dictated by availability, which is largely dictated by the climate) and the shifting relationships between international partners (though our fragrance oils are made in the US, our base oils are not).

Plus, as you may or may not be aware, handmade soap is reasonably difficult and time-intensive to make. And even once it's made, it requires 30 days to cure on the racks, which means it has to pay rent on our warehouse space for that month (we don't take on no freeloaders!). AND with that cure time, we have a really hard time immediately spinning up production if something goes haywire, like happened in June when a blog post went viral and we suddenly became the cat's campfire-scented pajamas.

What is milled soap?

I'm not a millologist (nor do I play one on TV), but my understanding of milled soap based on a quick bit of research on YouTube is that milled soap basically takes the cure time and squishes it down to seconds by basically HYPER-MIXING the sodium hydroxide (that's lye to non-chemists).

The mills grind together the ingredients (you know, they "mill" it) and then the resulting paste becomes soap noodles, which then are pressed into a bar, which is  - PRESTO - ready to use.

Most soap you buy in the grocery store (or people like you, because you're a dedicated Outlaw and we've only offered handmade soap to date) is milled soap because it's quicker and cheaper to manufacture.

Quality matters

But just like all other things in life, there are chemical-laden, lower quality milled soaps and there are supremely divine, high quality natural milled soaps.

When we started considering making milled soap, we didn't just want to work with any ol' slimy soap slingers, we wanted to find a company like us, who values high quality ingredients, ethical production, and ideally is a family-run business.

At AmericasMart last month, we found one such business.

Many generations of fine folks work at this amazing l'il company, and it was very fine to make their acquaintance.

We got some samples of their products, and I personally washed with (and even shaved with) one of their milled soaps this morning, and I'm happy to announce that they're GREAT (they're not handmade soap, and I'm stickin' with that, but for milled soap it's darn good).

Today, we're sending a little test batch of our scents over to get some samples made, and those resulting samples will likely be available exclusively to our very own Outlaw Gold gang (if you've got an account, you're already in the gang).

Thanks for letting us know what you want. We love to hear from you!

Think you'll give our new milled soaps a try?

Side note: The photo in the header is actually soft tofu, which was the only available rights-free photo result for "milled soap" I could find, and it's close enough for the outlaws I ride with.

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