Clear, Transparent or Opaque?

At recent craft show I was asked do I carry Glycerin Soaps? And the question got me thinking about how everyone views glycerin soap.  Since I love teaching others about soap and the craft show biz~  Naturally I went into details.  My customer didn’t realize she opened Pandora’s box.  First to clarify “all handcrafted soap is Glycerin soap”, but the one she was referring to was transparent soap.  Let’s go back to the question… yes.. I carry glycerin soap and I also carry transparent soap.  You ask…what’s the difference? Let’s first define what the terms are.
Glycerin- Is a humectant which is the by product from mixing oils/fats with lye.  It loves water and when used will draw moisture to your skin. Glycerin is used in many products including food, lotions and medicines. It is hygroscopic which means water loving and draws water to itself. It is colorless, odorless and has a somewhat sweet taste.
 
Handmade Soap- This is a soap that is made by a soapmaker that combines oils and fats with alkali such as sodium hydroxide (lye) or potassium hydroxide (potash use to make liquid soap).
Commercial Soap- This is a soap made on a large scale using the hot processed method and then using a salt in the end to separate the soap from the glycerin.  Commercial soapmakers can make more money from the glycerin by product than the soap itself.  Therefore commercial soap has no glycerin in their soaps. Most commercial soaps are not really soap at all.  If your grocery store “soap” is labeled as a beauty bar or something similar….it’s not soap at all. To read more about this go the FDA here.  Soap is regulated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.  It would need to be regulated by the FDA if it is advertised to be moisturizing or to cure certain aliments. 
Transparent Soap– Is soap made from a melt and pour base that has extra alcohols and sugars in it to make it clear.  Because natural soap is opaque it is not naturally clear.  We love things that look clear and it looks natural but it unfortunately it has more ingredients in it to make it clear  (namely alcohol which can be drying).   So the next time you consider buying a clear soap make sure you understand that just because it’s clear and you can see right through it…That in itself does not mean it is better for you. But on the same note you can designed them into some beautiful works of art!

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