About Soap

Any soap is a mixture of:

water + fats + an alkali,
usually to that are added
+ scent substances (such as essential oils, perfume compositions, fragrance chemicals, etc.)
+ coloring substances (such as mineral pigments, synthetic colorants, etc.)

The type of soap depends on an alkali used. For instance, sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is used to get solid soap whereas potassium hydroxide (KOH), liquid one.

The quality of soap depends on the method of preparation and on the quality of ingredients.

Soap can be made industrially or by hand, handmade soap being crafted either “from scratch” (i.e. from the very beginning) or from a pre-made soap base. If made from the pre-made soap base, some scent and some color are added by hand to industrially made soap. Cheap ingredients such as animal fats, petrochemical fats, preservatives and other synthetic detergents that lower cost and extend shelf life are used in industrial low-cost soap production intended for mass-market customers. By contrast, high quality ingredients can be selected for handmade soapmaking.

In handmade soapmaking, unlike industrial one, additional skin-friendly oils and substances can be added to soap mass after a chemical reaction of basic oils and an alkali been initiated. This additional mixture of oils, known as “superfatting”, makes up 3% to 10% of basic fats mass in handmade soap (KARALI are 10% superfatting handmade soap). Oils and other superfatting substances are active ingredients having an additional beneficial effect on skin.

As mentioned above, soap can be handmade either from the very beginning (from scratch) or by adding scents and colors to pre-made soap (from a soap base). Therefore, different kinds of handmade soap are not equally healthy for skin. The following chart compares different methods of soap production and relevant ingredients.

Handmade production
From a soap baseFrom scratch
  • Soap is made from low-cost, often artificial, fats in large volumes.
  • Various substances are added to soap to increase its shelf life and to decrease its cost of production.
  • During production, some skin-friendly substances, e.g. glycerin, resulting from a chemical reaction between fats and the alkali, are often artificially extracted from soap mass for further use in production of more expensive cosmetics, e.g. creams.
  • Soap is made from an industrially made soap base, which is ready soap made from low-cost, often artificial, fats without color and scent.
  • The production process includes melting the base, adding some color and some scent by hand and pouring soap mass into molds.
  • Soap is handmade from the very beginning by mixing fats, an alkali and water and by further adding some scent and some color.
  • There are two production processes:
    • traditional, or cold, process: the ingredients having been mixed, soap takes at least 1 month to get ready at room temperature
    • rapid, or hot, process: the ingredients having been mixed, soap is heated in an oven for several hours. It is ready for use right after being cooled.
  • NIVEA Baby Soap ingredients:
    Aqua, Sodium Cocoate, Glycerin, Paraffinum Liquidum, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium, Parfum, Tetrasodium EDTA,
    Lanolin, Alcohol, Sodium Sulfate, Olive oil, Disteardimonium Hectorite, СI 77891
  • PALMOLIVE Liquid Soap ingredients:
    Water , Ammonium C12-15 Pareth Sulfate , Magnesium Isododecylbenzenesulfonate , Lauramidopropylamine Oxide , SD Alcohol 3-A , Sodium Xylenesulfonate , Sodium Chloride , Fragrance , Pentasodium Pentetate , DMDM Hydantoin , Sodium Bisulfite , D&C Orange No. 4 (active ingredients: Triclosan 0.12%)
  • STERDERS Cherry Cream Soap ingredients:
    Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Stearate, Sorbitol, Sucrose, Sodium, Laurate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycerine, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Sodium Chloride, Tetrasodium EDTA, Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Glycol Stearate SE, Stearyl Heptanoate, Stearyl Caprylate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Avena Sativa, Cetyl Alcohol, Triethylene Glycol, Tricitum Vulgare Gluten, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Dehydroacetic Acid, Parfum (Fragrance), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Coumarin, Benzyl Salicylate, CI 16255, CI 77891.
  • Crystal Soap Base ingredients:
    Aqua, Propylene glycol, Sodium stearate, Sodium laureth sulphate, Glycerine, Sucrose, Sodium cocoate, Sodium xylene sulphonate, Stearic acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium etidronate
  • KARALI Valoški Luxury Handmade Soap ingredients:
    olive oil*, water*, palm oil*, palm kernel oil*, caustic soda, castor oli*, coconut oil*, shea butter*, cacao butter*, fragrance composition, mineral pigment blue*.
    * Natural product, no chemical components and additives.