4 Common Bar Soap Terms Explained
Posted March 2022
Written by Jamie Barrows
Triple-milled soap is exactly what it sounds like. Although, some may not be familiar with what the process of milling entails. After soap noodles are made for the base, they are mixed with fragrance, additives, and color. From there, they are milled. In the milling portion of the process, all the ingredients pass through stainless steel rollers, blending everything together, and drawing out excess moisture. If bar soap is milled too many times, it can become too dry. If it is milled too few times, it will be too wet. Three times is sort of the magic number. Triple-milled bar soap is ideal because it contains the least amount of water in a firm format that will be long-lasting and ultra-lathering.
Cold process soap making is a method of saponification. Saponification is a chemical reaction which occurs when mixing lye with fats or oils such as shea butter or coconut oil. This process is the foundation of all bar soap production. In cold process soap making, all ingredients are blended together and poured into a mold. The mixture then sits for at least 24 hours to set and saponify. At this point, the soap is often taken out of the molds, cut into individual bars, and then stored for a minimum of 4 weeks. During that time, the soap cures. The lye helps to break down the fat/oil’s fatty acids, turning them into cleansing agents over these weeks, and water is evaporated to create a firm bar of soap. Because of its’ simplicity, small-batch soap makers often use this method of soap making.
In contrast to the cold process of soap making, the hot pour method uses heat to speed up saponification. Instead of using molds to cool the soap formula, the liquid ingredients are poured into a kettle and heated, causing saponification to occur at a much quicker rate. The process following saponification is much the same as cold process soap making. Contrary to popular belief, there is no better or worse method (cold or hot techniques) of creating bar soap. Both methods will result in safe and effective cleansing bar soap.
Glycerin itself is an all-natural byproduct of the saponification process. It is a sugar alcohol found in all traditional bar soaps. What we consider ‘glycerin bar soap’ is often identified by its translucent appearance. One of the best-known examples of this is Neutrogena’s Transparent Facial Bar. Glycerin bar soaps are made by taking full advantage of the glycerin produced during saponification. Most traditional bar soaps remove some of the glycerin, replacing it with other skin concern-targeted ingredients. Glycerin bar soaps are made by combining glycerin with alcohol and sugar, mixing and heating over a long period of time. Glycerin-rich bar soaps have been known to be gentle on sensitive skin, not strip away your skin’s natural oils, and lock in moisture.
Cherney, Kristeen. “Everything You Need to Know About Glycerin Soap.” Healthline, 8 Mar. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/glycerin-soap