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Is It Soap Or Detergent Bars?

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There are a few different types of soaps that we make and sell at The Soap Hut. And we are asked questions all the time about various soaps and their ingredients and how they are made.

One of the main types of soaps that we make are your traditional soaps.  This soap goes by many names: Traditional Soap, Old Fashioned Soap, Lye Soap, Real Soap, etc.  This is our favorite soap to make because we have more control over the ingredients that are included as opposed to purchasing a soap base to melt down and alter.  We start with a base of oils and butters that may contain one or more of the following: Olive, Sunflower, Castor, Coconut, Shea Butter, Mango Butter, Cocoa Butter, soybean, avocado, hemp seed, neem, and many others).  We then combine lye (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide or both depending on the outcome we are trying to achieve) with a liquid (distilled water, milk, vegetable or fruit puree, etc).  These two mixtures are combined and go through a chemical process to form soap.  Once the chemical process is complete there is no lye left in the soap (be sure to read our article about Soap Made With Lye).  Our traditional soaps are the most natural soaps we offer and we also use a variety of essential oils and herbal infusions with these soaps.  Some do contain fragrances but we are happy to product completely fragrance free if needed.  Traditional soaps are softer than a detergent bar and may melt a bit quicker if not stored properly between uses.

Melt & Pour Soap, also known as Glycerin Soap, is another type of soap that we make.  But you must watch out for the ingredients in glycerin soaps.  So, in reality, these soaps are also made with lye.  They just happened to have been processed more and have other additives in them.  Many are full of detergents.  We do use a soap base for this type of soap.  But we have selected a soap base that is free of detergents and other harmful chemicals.  We use this type of soap when we want something quick and novelty (such as holiday theme related).  We have a variety of "fun" soaps for kids as well as adults.  These bases are a byproduct of the traditional soap making process.  They are high in glycerin content.  They will sweat if left unwrapped.  

Detergent Bars are another type of "soap"'s not really soap actually.  This "soap" is made using detergents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (sls), and Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (slsa). It is these detergents that give them their bubble action.  And it is these detergents that are used in other non-soap bath products in order that they may produce the lather and bubbles you love. Many soap makers that are using a melt & pour (glycerin) type of base are actually making "detergent" bars. While the use of detergents may be ok for some, if you're looking for a natural soap this would not be your option.  However, there are detergent-free glycerin soap bases (such as what we use to make our glycerin soaps).  

Read your labels.  If you really want to know if you have a real soap, a glycerin soap or a detergent bar, read your labels.  Generally speaking, if you cannot pronounce half the words on the ingredient panel it's most likely a detergent bar.

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