When you buy Noir Naturals‘ soap, you get real, old school soap. We use the cold process method. That means we take time to mix oils, lye, and goat’s milk or coconut milk until the mix is almost ready, then add fragrance, natural colorants, and any additional ingredients to help soften and soothe the skin. When you buy a soap made from a melt and pour soap base, you’re buying soap made from glycerin that’s removed from commercially processed soap, a byproduct. While it is natural, it’s a little scary.
Glycerin occurs naturally during the soapmaking process. In natural soaps (like all of Noir Naturals’ goat’s milk and coconut milk vegan soaps), the glycerin remains in the final product. A glycerin soap base is the glycerin removed from the commercial soap making process with added ingredients. After the oils, lye, and liquids blend and before colors or fragrance is added, salt is blended with the mix. The soap solids curdle and the liquid left behind is glycerin. Think of it like Little Miss Muffet’s curds and whey. The curds are the soap and the whey is glycerin – glycerin and salt that is. The glycerin is processed to remove the salt and repackaged for processing in other products.
Glycerin itself is pretty versatile. It’s used in food as a sweetener or thickener, added to commercially manufactured soaps and lotions as an additional moisturizing agent, in antifreeze, and used to make nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin is both and explosive and a treatment for angina. It’s a little disconcerting that an explosive is also used for the heart, but that’s another story.
Since it is added back into soap as a moisturizer, why remove it from the soap in the first place? When we say our soaps are natural, we mean it. The glycerin made during the soapmaking process remains in the finished product. We don’t use a manufactured soap base nor any byproducts in our soaps. We make each batch of soap by hand, just like it was back in the day.
What it comes down to is this: do you want soap with natural ingredients and minimal processing or do you want a soap made from a heavily processed byproduct?