In a nutshell, good soap is like good wine: the older, the better.
Our chemist advised we should use the 6M PAO symbol you will find on our labels. Chemists used to have guidelines for cosmetic reports in which it was stated soaps are usually fine for up to 30 months, but they do not have the same guidelines anymore and now it’s up to the manufacturer to test that.
What does the 6M PAO symbol mean?
Well, literally, it means that the product is fine for use for a period of six months after opening.
As you probably remember from one of our previous articles (“The Beginning”), in which I was telling you how I first started to make soap 12 years ago, I still have pieces of my very first batch of soap. And they are fine! I keep them as part of my soap making history and would not use them now, but they are fine.
In one of her soap making books, “Soap Crafting”, Anne-Marie Faiola, the founder of Brambleberry, also says:
“Properly prepared and cured soap doesn’t go bad, though some of the fragrance may dissipate over time.”
Keep in mind, however, that the shelf life is an estimate and the environment and how products are stored will also affect their shelf life. It is best to store soap in a cool, dry, dark place, so away from humidity and direct sunlight, to help it last as long as possible in the best possible state.
In fact, the longer it cures, the more water evaporates from it and the soap becomes more long lasting once you actually start using it. Being colored with natural botanicals or minerals, colors may also change in time, but the properties of the soap don’t and you will be able to enjoy your natural, handmade artisan soap for quite a long time.
And that is another wonderful perk of using natural solid soap. And zero waste! How about that?