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Why You Should Use Handmade Soap vs Industrial Manufactured Soap

Written by Aroma Pacific

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Posted on May 20 2020

Handmade Soap to Industry Soap

Soap is the product of a chemical reaction between a fatty substance (vegetable oil, vegetable butter, etc.) and a strong base (soda or potash).

For the manufacturing of solid soap, soda (sodium hydroxide) is used. Potash (potassium hydroxide) is used for the production of pasty or liquid soaps (black soap, liquid Marseille soap). We will speak here only of the manufacturing of solid soap, with soda.

Oils and butter are mainly made up of fatty acid triglycerides. When soda is added, these are transformed into soap according to the reaction below (R represents the carbon chain of fatty acid, a long chain of 12 to 22 carbon atoms for the most common fatty acids in vegetable oils)

The soaps produced in cold saponification are naturally rich in glycerin, produced during the saponification reaction. It will provide softness and moisturizing properties to the soap.

In addition to the fatty acid triglycerides, vegetable oils, and butter contain an unsaponifiable fraction, that is to say, compounds which will not react with soda. These are for example phytosterols, tocopherols (vitamin E), carotenoids (vitamin A), terpenes, squalene, squalane, fatty alcohol. These substances have very interesting actions on the skin: antioxidant, nourishing, emollient, softening, protective effect …
A homemade soap, produced by cold saponification, will naturally contain the unsaponifiable portion of the oils and butter used, which will give it unique properties.

The manufacturing process of industrial soaps, on the contrary, will often have denatured or even eliminated the unsaponifiable fraction.