Handcrafted Glycerin Soap

Soap and Cosmetic Ingredients and Definitions

There's a lot of misinformation on the Internet about common ingredients used in soaps, cosmetics, and detergent... so if you have any questions about what's in your soap, check this out.

Aloe Vera Gel - The pulpy, expressed juice of the Aloe Vera plant. Aloe Vera is famous for its moisturizing and soothing properties, as well as for its ability to aid in healing.

Emollient - A skin conditioning agent which helps maintain the smooth, soft pliable appearance of the skin.While the terms moisturizer and emollient are often used interchangeable, the two functions are different; however they often occur at the same time.

Exfoliant - A product or ingredient which is used to remove unwanted tissue or waste products from the skin and other body surfaces. Exfoliant's gentle abrasive action removes dirt, leaving the skin soft and radiant. Ground oats (Avena Sativa) are an example of an exfoliant used in soaps.

Glycerin – Natural humectant and emollient. A clear, sweet, syrupy liquid derived from vegetable oil. Non-irritating and soothing, can be used on even the most sensitive skin. It is considerd to have moisturizing properties. It is also used to improve the clarity of the soap. Also used in foods like candies and in medicines.

Goat's Milk - Milk has been used for centuries as a natural, soothing skin cleanser and softener. Goat milk is considered to have moisturizing properties.

Honey - Sweet, fragrant, syrupy substance produced by bees. Honey soothes and adds softness to the skin, an excellent natural moisturizer. Also believed to have anti-microbial properties.

Humectant - A skin conditioning ingredient in creams, soaps, and lotions whose function is to prevent water loss and drying of the skin. Humectants are hygroscopic, that is they attract and hold moisture.

Hydrating - The ability to restore or maintain the normal fluid proportion in the skin or body. Hydrating agents are used in cosmetics to keep the skin natural, moist, firm and young-looking.

Kaolin - Natural Clay. Finely textured, light colored clay. Pink, green and white clays are all members of kaolin family. Its excellent absorbent, tightening and toning properties make it valuable for face masks. Used in glycerin soaps to harden the bar and help it last longer.

Lauric acid – A man made cleansing agent and surfactant. It is the main acid in coconut oil and palm kernel fatty acids. Allows for better distribution of soap while cleansing, increase lather and helps cut greasy dirt. Aids in the rinsability of soap.

Moisturizer - Something which helps the skin retain, or adds to, its natural moisture. Usually a liquid, lotion, cream, or oil, but soaps can have moisturizing properties in addition to cleaning.

Oats (Avena Sativa)- Kind and soothing to the skin, oats can relieve the irritation of dry, itchy skin. Helps absorb oils, leaving a silky smooth feel to the skin. Acts as a gentle exfoliant.

Olive oil- Obtained from pressing ripe olives of Olea Europaea. It has been used by Mediterranean people for centuries both as a food and as a treatment for damaged, dry hair. Soothes, heals and lubricates the skin.

Propylene Glycol – A natural humectant that acts as a wetting agent for certain ingredients. It assists certain ingredients to mix with water. This is NOT the same as ethylene glycol (antifreeze). Propylene glycol is widely used in medicines, candies, toothpaste, etc. and is considered "generally recognized as safe" by the Food & Drug Administration.

Sodium Cocoate – A natural cleansing agent that is the result of the saponifying coconut oil with caustic soda in the soapmaking process.

Sodium Cocoyl Isothianate – Man made mild surfactant that is derived from coconut oil. It produces a dense creamy foam.

Sodium Laurate - A natural cleansing agent that is the result of the saponifying lauric acid with caustic soda in the soapmaking process.

Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) - A very popular ingredient based on lauric acid. Lauric acid is the main acid in coconut oil and palm kernel fatty acids and is believed to have antimicrobiral properties (kills germs). SLS allows for better distribution of soap while cleansing. It is a foaming agent (increases lather), detergent (compound intended to assist with cleansing) and surfactant (lowers surface tension thus a grease cutter). Aids in the rinsability of soap. Is not natural, but derived from natural ingredients.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS)- A very popular ingredient based on lauric acid. Lauric acid is the main acid in coconut oil and palm kernel fatty acids and is believed to have antimicrobiral properties. SLeS allows for better distribution of soap while cleansing. It is a foaming agent (increases lather), detergent (compound intended to assist with cleansing) and surfactant (lowers surface tension thus a grease cutter). Aids in the rinsability of soap. Is not natural, but derived from natural ingredients.

Sodium Myristate – Natural cleansing agent which is the result of saponifying coconut and/or palm vegetable fatty acids with caustic soda in the soapmaking process.

Sodium Stearate – Natural cleansing agent which is the result of saponifying palm vegetable fatty acids with caustic soda in the soapmaking process.

Sorbitan Oleate – A natural emulsifier for vegetable oils.

Sorbitol - A natural humectant that is used to improve the clarity of the soap. Also used in foods as a sweetener.

Stearic Acid (Vegetable Fat) - When a vegetable oil molecule is split in half, glycerin and fatty acids are the result. These fatty acids are reacted with borax, a natural salt, a natural emulsifier. Emulsifiers enable oils to be dispersed throughout a water base to form a cream or lotion that does not separate.

Surfactant - Abbreviation of the term, "surface-active-agent." Reduce the surface tension of oils, greases and other substances, allowing them to be broken into smaller particles or globules to facilitate cleansing.

Titanium Dioxide – A natural opacifier. It makes white soap white.

Triethanolamine – A man made pH adjuster. It aids in the clarity of the soap by neutralizing the excess free fatty acids in the soap base. Also helps to adjust the pH of the soap for optimal cleaning.

Water – A natural solvent for soap making and saponification process.

Also see: http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org


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All images copyright 2010 Kendra Harness/Lost Angeles Rubber Works