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.What is Soap?
All soap is made with two ingredients: oil (fatty acids) and lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide in a solution with water). Lye on its own is a harsh, caustic and highly corrosive compound, but when lye and oils are combined a chemical reaction called saponification occurs. In the reaction oil and lye are spent and the outcome is soap and glycerin. This means that even though lye is used as an ingredient in soap, it does not remain in the final product.
All soap is made like this. If a product is not made from oil and lye it is not, by definition, soap.
Well-made handcrafted soap is formulated with a specific purpose in mind. Different oils, amount of super fat and additives all bring different characteristics to soap and the artisan soapmaker will compose a blend of oils and additives suited for the intended use. Bath and toilet soap is formulated to be mild and conditioning for the skin whereas laundry or cleaning soap is formulated to effectively remove oil, dirt and stains. Because handcrafted soap can be made in small batches it is also possible to custom formulate the soap to meet the specific needs and preferences of an individual user.