Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Saponification... and Glycerin

    Saponification is a process (chemical reaction) that produces soap  from fats and lye. Depending on the nature of the alkali base used in their production, soaps have different properties. Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) gives "hard soap", whereas, when Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) is used, a soft soap is formed. In our soaps we use Sodium Hydroxide. The harder bar lasts longer and keeps its shape better.
   Basically, saponification is the chemical reaction between an acid and a base to form a salt. Yep, Soap is a salt. ;) When you make soap using a cold process method you mix a  fat (which is your acid) with Lye (which is your base) to form soap.

   As you mix, and stir the carefully measured acid and base together, they start to react.Within the fats are a single glycerol molecule  (which turns into skin nourishing glycerin) allowing the fatty acids to combine with the hydroxide ions within the base, forming soap. Two reactions occur. The first reaction is glycerol turning into beneficial glycerin, and the second reaction is the acid and the base combining to form a salt which is your soap.

  In most 'soaps' you would buy at the store the glycerin has been removed. (And sold separately for more profit) Or they are not even soaps but rather detergent. If your soap is void of its natural glycerin it is not going to be skin softening.  And can even be drying. A homemade natural bar of soap will have it's glycerin still in tact.

   In the Saponification process the glycerin becomes chemically separate from the soap. Yet still part of the soap. Glycerin is a Humectant. Meaning it ATTRACTS moisture to your skin. It is a great thing!  And to think it is a byproduct!

 If you have skin problems from rashes to posion ivy to dry skin in the winter. Natural Homemade soap is a great choice! I welcome you to try ours!


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