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David Fisher

So What is Glycerin Soap Really?

By February 11, 2013

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Glycerin Soap
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I'm always a bit bothered when a soap maker boasts, "Our products are all natural glycerin soaps." Or, "Our soaps are better because they're made from glycerin." While I want to, I generally refrain from saying, "You don't know what you're talking about." Well...they're a little bit right...but the term glycerin soap is really a misnomer.

Remember...all real soap is glycerin soap.

I repeat, all real soap (not made with synthetic detergents) is essentially glycerin soap, because glycerin is a byproduct of the chemical reaction that makes soap.

Oils + lye (with some water) = soap + glycerin

Now, what many people think of as "glycerin soap" is actually transparent soap. Transparent soap is real soap too...it just goes through a cooking process where sugar and/or alcohol are added as "solvents" to keep the soap crystals from becoming opaque. Without this crystallization, the soap remains clear. You could take just about any of your soap recipes and adjust the process to make them transparent. (Naturally, some recipes will work better than others...but that's basically the case.)

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