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Friday, January 27, 2017

Does Your Soap Have Lye In It?

I'm asked this question a lot; does your soap have lye in it? The answer is quite simple; no. Now if the question is, do you use lye to make your soap? Well the answer to that is yes.

By definition, soap is made with lye. If you're cleaning your body with something that didn't start out with lye, then your not using soap. Most likely, you're using detergent and it was probably made with petroleum ingredients.

The making of soap is a centuries old technique that involves combining a base (lye; aka sodium hydroxide) with an acid (the fatty acids in oils). The chemical term for the reaction of these chemicals is called saponification.

As is the case in chemical reactions, and how they differ from just mixing ingredients together (like in cooking), what you start with isn't what you end up with.

Through the process of saponification, our original base and acid yields soap and glycerin. That's right, glycerin, the ingredient that is added to most body detergents, forms naturally in soap.

Because the process of making soap literally is centuries old and well defined, the FDA doesn't require ingredient labels for soap (as of this writing). Most soap makers, however, are proud of the ingredients they use in their soaps and choose to list the ingredients.

The way in which ingredients are labelled, since not regulated, varies. Soap makers have choosen to label products by what they "put into the pot" or by what "comes out of the pot".

Most consumers who don't know the chemical process of saponification (and seriously, if you're not in high school chemistry class, why would you?) would be concerned if they saw the word 'lye' or 'sodium hydroxide' on an ingredient label for a handmade product.

For this reason a lot of soaps are labelled by "what comes out of the pot". The problem with this is you don't know what amount of glycerin, water, and unsaponified oils remain.

Therefore, going forward, Lora's Beauty has decided to provide both sets of ingredients on our website. You will now see "what goes in the pot" (starting ingredients) and the final product, after saponification, which is saponified oils of olive, coconut, soybean, cocoa butter, and shea butter, glycerin, water, healing herbs, and tantalizing essential oils.

Paper labels due to space, will show "what comes out of the pot"; what touches your skin.

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