HOORAY! I'm so glad you asked! Because it really does depend on the proper use and storage of your beloved handmade soap.
The quick answer is ... IT DEPENDS!
(A very unsatisfying answer, I know. But you can see the results of my experiment at the bottom of this post)
Handmade Soap is Made with Natural Oils
Soap is the chemical result of fats (coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, and castor oil, in our case) and lye (sodium hydroxide) mixing together.
Some people are uncomfortable with the idea that lye, one of the most caustic chemicals around, goes into a product we all expect to be gentle and, you know, not skin burny offy.
But that's how all handmade cold process (our process) and hot process soap is made. When properly mixed, the oils and lye react completely to create soap. Once the soap is cut into bars, we set it on a curing rack so the oils and lye have enough time to complete their reaction (30 days!). The end result is a handmade natural soap that's made with the highest quality ingredients.
And that's Outlaw soap!
It might seem like a really long and tedious process for a little bar of soap, but that's why handmade bar soap is generally more expensive than milled soap.
Outlaw Handmade Soap is Made Without Hardeners
Some handmade soap is made with chemical hardeners, which we don't use. We don't feel like it's necessary.
As Einstein said, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." This falls into the "as simple as possible" category.
Some handmade soap includes palm oil, which helps with the hardness of the bar, but is responsible for the deforestation of the planet (and all those who live there). There are "sustainable" palm oils, but we have heard that the certification for the sustainability isn't necessarily credible, so we don't use it in our handmade soap (it was in our milled soap, which is one of the reasons we stopped making milled soap).
But even with palm oil, the bar's integrity requires air flow.
This Means Without Proper Use, All Handmade Soap will Turn Into a Pool of Goo
How to Stop Handmade Soap from Melting
I decided to try to answer this age-old question with science. Kind of.
I brought three bars of our handmade soap into the shower and put them in environments that are common among all showerers:
1. Flat on the shelf
2. On a wire shower caddy
3. Standing upright on the shelf
And then I took THREE SHOWERS EVERY DAY for a month (until the last bar standing finally deteriorated).
Side note: Am I dedicated to science? YES I AM.
First, I must say I WAS ASTONISHED at how quickly the flat-on-the-shelf bar deteriorated. It was really bad... I'd say the "I have a bar of soap" feeling lasted for about a week, and then the "I do not have a bar of soap" feeling set in for the remainder of the experiment.
It certainly gave credence to the periodic "I can't believe how quickly this soap melts" complaint we get. Because it felt like it lasted a hot second and then it was gone. 💸
Second side note: We have found that people who have lots of body hair tend to go through soap faster than people who don't. If you find yourself with lots of body hair (for whatever reason), we recommend using a bath poof (pouf? that seems like a weird spelling) or a washcloth. I believe your body hair is acting like a steel wool on the buttery bar of your soap. And if you combine body hair with shelf-sitting, my friend, your soap is lasting about a day and a half. 😭
As you can see from the video, the bar on the caddy lasted about 3x as long as the shelf-laying soap, and about 1/3 longer than the shelf-standing soap.
👏 Caddies 👏 Just 👏 Work
We don't sell caddies. This isn't propaganda from Big Caddy (though that would be a great business name if you had a caddy manufacturing business).
They're kind of expensive and they're a pain in the butt to ship (lightweight, but in a big box, and take up a lot of room in our little fulfillment area), but I trust you can find your own source of caddies. I think I've had mine for about 5 years and I'll probably have it for 50 more. A $25 caddy will last forever, and, as you can see, you'll more than make that cost up in melted soap alone.
This isn't just for Outlaw handmade soap.
Of course, I prefer you use this experiment to benefit your use of Outlaw handmade soap, but it's true of ALL handmade soap (and probably all soap, everywhere).
If you want to stay in the good suds and save 25% off every bar, bottle, or tin of Outlaw goods (handmade soap included), you can build your own subscription box here: https://liveoutlaw.com/pages/soap-subscription-box-builder