What Is Bar Soap Made Of?
All bar soap is made of water, oils, fats, and an alkali called sodium hydroxide (lye).
Defined by chemistry, soap is a salt of a fatty acid. Bar soap is made through a process called saponification where the blending of oils/fats with the alkalized water produces soap.
Soap is a completely different chemical structure than when it began and no longer contains sodium hydroxide. That necessary ingredient is only a catalyst for saponification to occur. Over time the soap will also lose a large percentage of its water via evaporation while the soap cures for 4-8 weeks. Then, it will be ready for use.
Along with the "base" ingredients such as tallow or olive oil, most bar soaps found in stores contain fragrances, colorants and synthetic chemicals that produce desired effects such as more lather, moisture or hardness.
Some bar soaps, like the ones found on this website, are made with all natural ingredients such as shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils, and herbs.
With natural soap, it is the artisan's recipe, as opposed to added ingredients, that produce the desired effects. More coconut oil leads to more bubbles whereas more castor oil creates more moisture.
If it is important to you to use truly natural bar soap, it is highly advisable to read the ingredients on soap packages before purchasing. Even soaps labeled "natural" can contain ingredients that are still created in a lab due to loose labeling laws for the word "natural".
Also, unwrapped or unlabeled soaps, natural-looking or not, can also contain ingredients not made by nature. Ask a store clerk to assist you in getting a list of the ingredients or simply purchase bar soaps from a reputable company such as Nefertem.
How is soap made?