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Did You Know: All homemade natural soap bars are made with lye! - 09/09/2013


All homemade natural soap bars are made with lye. This process requires a certain level of expertise and entails a learning curve. Incorrectly made soap always stands a chance of having some free lye left over after saponification. These soaps are very harsh and drying to the skin and sometimes even caustic. Caustic lye can cause severe burns.

Don't let that scare you, however. If made correctly by an experienced soap maker, there is NO lye left in the soap, once it is cured. A chemical reaction converts the lye (and oils) into pure soap, water and glycerin. The water evaporates away during curing, leaving a hard, long-lasting bar of soap. Cold Process soap making is one area where we excel over our grandmothers and their soap kettles and homemade lye.

Unfortunately, "lye" soap has always had a bad reputation as being drying, whereas specially formulated "beauty bars" are supposed to be moisturizing and good for the skin. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Real homemade vegetable soap is made from essential fatty acids from natural vegetable fats and oils and contains a large quantity of natural glycerin. Naturally occurring glycerin is a natural humectant (moisturizer), which attracts moisture into the skin. Sadly, the natural glycerin is removed from the components of virtually ALL marketed "soaps" and beauty bars.

Additionally, most "soaps" purchased in stores are mislabeled. If the ingredient list contains lists of chemicals such as "sodium palmitate" or "sodium laurelate" (and most do), it is a formulated beauty bar or detergent bar, NOT real soap. The fact that oils are listed chemically indicates that the oils are either petroleum based or "fractionated" and have had most of their glycerides (fatty acids) removed. Detergent bars are usually labeled as soap but really contain fractionated/synthetic oils and/or petroleum products instead of the complete natural fats and oils. None of these altered oils have their natural vitamins and nutritive skin care qualities intact.

Even when a bar is labeled "Glycerin" soap, there is a proportionately tiny amount of non-natural glycerin added back into the soap to supposedly reduce its drying effect. More often, it refers merely to the translucent nature of the soap. Real soap, with the naturally occurring glycerin intact, is normally not translucent, whereas chemical glycerin is often added to beauty bars (and transparent novelty soap) to achieve translucency, NOT for moisturizing.

To compound the drying effect, most store-bought soaps are formulated with petroleum based and/or large molecule oils and fats. These large molecule fats dissolve and combine with your natural skin oils. When they are washed or wiped away, they take all the natural oils with it. The skin is unable to absorb any of these oils. Animal fats, such as tallow and lard, often used in older (and cheaper) soap formulas, have the same effect, as well as clogging your pores.

 

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