Some people recommend to actually cure salt soaps for longer than the standard 4-6 weeks, I remember reading to cure them for 3-4 months. I use mine at the 3-4 week mark and like them, and haven't noticed a difference curing them for longer.
For me, salt bars have to cure at least 4 months or they are too harsh. A nice year long cure is even better, I have a lot of salt bars curing at all times so I'll always have some thats cured for a long time.
Man, does the cure make a difference, at least to me. I made some and tested them at about a month out, and although I loved the way they lathered and felt in the shower, they were *really* drying, the skin on my arms and legs had those awful dry skin crackles afterwards.
Shunt sent me some of her salt bars that had been cured for five or six months. The difference is like night and day. I am not expecting mine to be like hers (which were awesome, really great creamy and bubbly/felt great in the shower/no dry skin afterwards) but I am hopeful that a good long cure will bring them a lot closer.
I'm glad I asked the question. Why do the sea salt bars need the long cure. What's going on during those months that isn't happening in the first month other than drying? How long do you guys cure your regular cp soap bars?
Looks like I'm in the minority! I have very sensitive skin and use mine everywhere, including face, after a 4 week cure and have no issues with drying/harshness. Another example of how different everyone's skin really is.
You should try your salt bar out once it's cured for 4 weeks, then 2 months, 3 months, etc. I guess that's the only way you'll know if there is a difference to you.
I'm not sure exactly what the reaction is, ie; why salt bars seem to do so much better after a long cure. I am really sensitive to coconut, do not exceed 18% in my regular bars (usually no more than 13-15%), but the high SF in salt bars (I also used full coconut milk, so it was even higher) made me think that they might work; they did not at a month out. But the cure - at least w/Shunt's - made a huge difference in the mildness/stripping-ness of the soap.
That does not entirely make sense to me logically (ie; it is the same amount of coconut, so the radical difference, even w/the length of cure, was surprising.) But the proof was definitely in the pudding with that one.
I usually cure my regular soaps for at least six weeks, but realistically, b/c I soap a lot and and do not sell, they end up getting cured for much longer. There is only so much soap one little woman can use, even giving it away in spades
I agree w/Spenny, though, test them at varying times. Many people here love their salt bars at a month out, and even more afterwards.
Just leave them be. A fan never hurt soap, mind you. But just leave them be. They will equalize moisture with their environment "soon". When they stop sweating, you know they are done exchanging moisture. Not saying they are cured, just done sweating.
Obsidian what do you mean when you say the salt bars are to harsh early in the cure. Where do you feel the difference? How, what, why. I'd just like to understand what the longer cure is doing to the soap that isn't done in the first 6 weeks
I have dry skin and young salt bars dry me out quite badly and leave a almost powdery/gritty feel on my skin. With a 4-6 month cure, the dryness and powdery feel disappears.
The lather improves a huge amount too. At 6 weeks, a salt bar will have ok lather but nothing like I expect, with a long cure the lather develops easier and is much more abundant. I have some salt bars that are 2+ years and they are amazing.
I agree with Obisidian, I prefer 4-6 months. Longer is even better. I have some that are 4-5 years old and I've been using them up and love them. I made them when I was starting out but didn't want to give them away and certainly didn't want to sell them so kept them all for me. I've since tweaked my recipes several times until I found what was awesome for me. Can't explain it but they do just get better with age.