Glossary of Soap Terms (listed alphabetically)
Also referred to as Aduki or Azuki Bean, has been used in Japanese skin care regimens for centuries. Ground azuki beans exfoliate skin leaving a soft, radiant glow. They are probably the closest thing to a face lift without the need to undergo surgery. Grind the bean to a powder and use in soaps, facial blends and body wraps.
A new generation of nonionic surfactants that are widely applicable and simultaneously ecologically compatible. Alkyl polyglycoside surfactants are environmentally safe and have excellent toxicity and biodegradability profiles.
An anitfungal preservative used in many cosmetic applications, including our whipped soap.
Used as a thickener in lotions, creams and gels. It is also used to stabilize, suspend, and control the release of pharmaceutical products.
Cetyl Alcohol is fatty alcohol derived from palm oil used to give emulsions more stability, body and viscosity. It is white flakes with no or faint odor. It is soluble in water and alcohol. Also found in waterless products like lipsticks. It is an, emollient, moisturizer (attracts moisture), foam booster. It is often used in lotions, creams, hair shampoos, hair conditioners, body washes, and makeup products.
Extract derived from citrus and used primarily to adjust the pH of products to prevent them from being too alkaline.
A natural coconut derived surfactant, a foaming agent. You can't get much more natural than cocomidopropyl betaine
A soap making technique that uses a blend of oils mixed with a simple solution of lye and water. It is stirred until it thickens and then poured into a mold. It is called cold-process because no cooking is involved.
Color Bleeding (color migration)
The type of colorant used in a soap base determines whether a color will eventually bleed. An example of bleeding: You embed a royal blue heart in a white soap base. After several days, you notice that the blue heart has started to bleed (migrate) into the surrounding white soap. The white area around the heart has now taken on a pale blue color. Over time, the blue color eventually penetrates and bleeds (migrates) into all of the white soap making the edges of the embedded heart fuzzy and indistinct. The term "bleeding" does not mean that a color will come off onto your skin during bathing or showering.
If you want non-bleeding soap colors, you will need to use our Liquid Gel Colorants (neon brights, ultramarines and mineral/oxides, metallics, and certain jewel tones ). Most, though not all, are non-bleeding and the color does not migrate. All are non-fading and color intensity is exceptional. We have posted "non-bleeding" next to colors that will not migrate.
D & C
The acronym for Drugs & Cosmetics. An identification that indicates a coloring agent has been approved as safe in drug and cosmetics products, but it does not apply to food.
Common type of preservative found in cosmetics (Source: Contact Dermatitis, December 2000, pages 339–343). Despite some claims, there is no higher level of skin reaction to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives than to other preservatives (Source: British Journal of Dermatology, March 1998, pages 467–476). In fact, there is a far greater risk to skin from a product without preservatives, because of the contamination and unchecked growth of bacteria, fungus, and mold that can result if no preservatives are used.
Acronym for ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, a stabilizer used in cosmetics to prevent ingredients in a given formula from binding with trace elements (particularly minerals) that can exist in water and with other ingredients to cause unwanted product changes to the texture, the odor, and the consistency. The technical term for ingredients that perform this function is chelating agent.
Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate
Used in cosmetics as foaming agents, emulsifiers and humectants. In general, these surfactants have been used in the cosmetic industry to improve the mildness of personal care products.
A preservative that is highly soluble in water and adaptable enough for a wide range of personal care products and detergent based products.
A preservative for use in aqueous-based personal care products with action against bacteria. It is used as ant-microbial and for the preservation of product such as shampoos, hand soaps, face creams, sunscreen, lotions, bubble baths and wipes.
Has properties that condition or sooth the skin.
Natural concentrated aromatic liquids derived from plants. They carry a distinctive scent of the plant. Often used to fragrance soap.
A synthetic preservatice used in cosmetic formulations.
Substance typically found in plant and animal lipids (fat). They are used in cosmetics as emollients, thickening agents, and, when mixed with glycerin, cleansing agents.
The acronym for Food, Drug & Cosmetic. Type of coloring agent. According to the FDA, when FD&C is followed by a color, the color is certified as safe for use in food, drugs, and cosmetics.
Fragrance oils are a combination of ingredients that unfold over time with an immediate top note, deeper middle note and final base note. Top notes are the aromas that are immediatly perceived on application. Middle notes are the aromas that emjerge just prior to when the top notes dissipate. Base notes are the aromas that appear close after the middle notes and evaporate slowly forming the main depth of the scent.
Fragrance oils can contain both synthetic and/or natural essentials oils. Fragrance oils can be formulated at different concentration levels. In general, fragrance oils used in soap are formulated to be added at 3% per pound of soap base.
An ester used as an emulsifier (to help combine oils with water). It is a clear, oily liquid readily able to penetrate the skin, made by combining Glycerin and Stearic Acid.
Glycerin (sometimes spelled glycerine)
A humectant ( attracts moisture to skin) and emollient (softens and soothes skin) used to improve the clarity of soap.
Glycerin is also hygroscopic. This means that it easily absorbs water from the air. If you were to leave a bottle of pure glycerin in the open, it would absorb water from the air to eventually become 20% water and 80% glycerin. If you were to place a small amount of pure glycerin on your tongue, it would cause blistering. This is because it is dehyrating, although when diluted with water, it softens the skin.
Unwrapped glycerin soap will attract moisture from the air. This causes a beaded effect or what is better known as "glycerin dew" to appear on your finished soaps. If you wrap your finished soap, you will create a barrier between the soap and the air, thus preventing this problem. Placing your soaps in the freezer to expedite set-up time can promote "glycerin dew". We do not recommend placing soaps in the freezer. The freezer method will also diminish the life of your molds (causes them to become brittle and crack over time).
Also referred to as rebatching or French milling. A method of soap making where a pre-made soap bar is grated and then melted in water. The grated soap is melted in water over a double boiler on the stovetop. Preserved additves, oils, fragrances, dried botanical and colorants can be added. Often fresh ingredients such as carrot juice, cucumbers, or avocados are added to the rebatched soap.
Hand-milled soaps require up to 4 weeks to cure and can be packaged without wrapping. The longer they cure, the harder the bar of soap.
Repels water; incapable of dissolving in water.
More readily dissolves in water than in oil or other hydrophobic solvents. Soap is considered hydrophilic. Soap dissolves in both waters and oils, therefore allowing the soap to clean a surface.
Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate Disodium EDTA
One of the most advanced preservatives available to date, providing a high level of anti-microbial activity, especially against yesast and mold. It also has one of the mildest safety profiles of a preservative.
This ingredient is often used as a preservative. There has been some theorizing that isobutylparaben in deodorants may migrate to breast tissue and become a cause of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society states that there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
A brand name anti-microbial preservative. It is effective against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria as well as yeast and molds.
The main acid in coconut oil and palm kernal fatty acids. It allows for better distribution of the soap while cleansing, increases lather and helps cut through grease and dirt. Assists in the rinsability of soap.
It is one of the most common preservatives in the world with activity against bacteria. It is used in most cosmetic formulations.
Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters are water soluble and provide outstanding emolliency and conditioning with virtually any product---lotions, creams, shampoos, conditioners, scrubs, facial cleansers, etc. In addition, Olive Oil PEG 7 Esters have qualities which allow them to be used as a co-emulsifier (HLB 11) and solubilizer.
PEG 80 Sorbitan Laurate
A surfactant that p romotes mild cleansing in soap fomulations. Surfactants degrease and emulsify oils and fats and suspend soil, allowing them to be washed away.
PEG- 150 Destearate
A mild and extremely gentle wetting agent used for its emulsification and foaming properties and as a cleanser in our shampoo formulations to help dissolve oils.
PETG is an acronym for Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol. A plastic material commonly used in manufacturing bottles, containers, and thermoformed molds. It exists in both a clear and white material.
A common cosmetic preservative.
Commonly clled oxides, ultramarines and titatium dioxide, and are considered inorganic colors. Cosmetic grade pigments are always man made. This is a requirement of the FDA. Pigments are popular because they do not migrate or bleed in soap.
Polysorbate 20 a nonionic surfactant. It is an excellent oil in water emulsifier/solubilizer. For use in body mist, room spray, skin cleansers. It is an amber, viscous liquid and is odorless.
Commonly called a caustic potash. It closely resembles sodium hydroxide in its chemical properties and has similar uses, e.g., in making soap, in bleaching, and in manufacturing chemicals, but is less widely used because of its higher cost.
You will often find this ingredient in fragrance oils. It is used as a carrier for the fragrance. It is commonly used in a variety of consumer products and food products, including deodorants, pharmaceuticals, moisturizing lotions.
Propylene glycol is considered a safe and appropriate ingredient not just for cosmetic products, but also for ingested products like food and pharmaceuticals. It is on the US Food and Drug Administration's list of ingredients which are Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) and is recognized by the World Health Organization as safe for use.
A preservative powder that is soluble in warm water. A common ingredient in cosmetic formulations.
PVC is an acronym for Polyvinyl Chloride. It is a plastic polymer that is used in a wide array of products including the manufacturing thermoformed molds and life saving medical devices.A plasticizer (softener) is often added to make the PVC more flexible.
The process of converting a fat or oil into soap by combining with an alkali such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.
Expressed from the pits of the fruit of the African butter tree (grown in Central Africa). This butter is used in soap and body care to moisturize and nourish the skin.
The basic components that form proteins in all living organisms. More than 200 different types have been identified in nature. Amino acids are necessary for the production of the cellular skin structure and when added to skin care products acts as an active moisturizer, creating beautiful, smooth, and supple skin.
Also known as common table salt.
The result of saponifying coconut oil with caustic soda (lye; sodium hydroxide).
An amber liquid with a faint fruity odor. In cosmetics and personal care products, these four ingredients are used in the formulation of shampoos and other hair products, and skin cleansing products. This ingredient was assessed by Cosmetic Ingredient Review and it was determined safe as cosmetic ingredients in the present practices of use.
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
A mild surfactant derived from coconut oil. It produces a dense creamy foam and is found in many melt and pour soap bases. It is an anionic surfactant, meaning it reduces surface tension, making water 'wetter'.
According to a test by the Journal of the American College of Toxicology, repeated insult patch tests did not produce a sensitization reaction. The CIR Expert Panel concludes that SCI is safe for use in cosmetic formulations at concentrations of 47.5% in rinse off products, and at 17% in leave on products.
Also known as caustic soda or lye. Sodium hydroxide forms a strong alkaline solution when dissolved in a solvent such as water. Caustic soda is highly corrosive and reactive. Caustic soda can be irritating to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract. It should be handled with extreme care, including the use of rubber gloves and protective eyewear. Used in Cold Process (CP) soap making where the fats react with the lye.
The result of saponifying lauric acid with caustic soda (lye; sodium hydroxide).
Naturally derived from coconut oils and is used as a cleanser and counter-irritant. Often used to make a tear-free product. Also used as a lathering agent.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agen (increases lather)t naturally derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil. SLS has a long history of safe use in a variety of consumer personal care products.
Through the years there has been widespread Internet rumors regarding SLS and its use in shampoos and other products. These widespread rumors have been investigated by respected publications such as The Washington Post and The Berkeley Wellness Newsletter, both of which have called them a "sham" and a "hoax." The American Cancer Society has also created an information page debunking the claims. So rampant are these rumors that they are even addressed on the Urban Legends website, which provides additional reputable sources of information about SLS research.
A cleansing agent which is the result of saponifying coconut and/or palm vegetable fatty acids with caustic soda (lye). A myristate is a salt or ester of myristic acid.
A cleansing agent which is the result of saponifying palm vegetable fatty acids with caustic soda (lye). It is one of the main compounds in common soap.
Sodium Trideceth Sulphate
A wetting agent for shampoo and shower gel formulations. Particularly recommended for non-irritating and non-eye stinging preparations.
A humectant (moisturizing) that is used to improve the clarity of glycerin melt and pour soap. It is also used to increase the viscosity (thickening agent) in cosmetics and tolietry bases.
Sorbitol has been used safely in both skin care and oral care products for almost 100 years. It is listed by the US Food and Drug Administration as an ingredient that is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).
Stearic acid is a natural fatty acid occurring in vegetable fats. It is supplied in white to yellowish flakes with an oil-like odor. It is insoluble in water, soluble in oils & alcohols. Stearic acid has good emulsifying & thickening properties (stabilizes emulsions), gives soft waxy, pearly & cooling feel on the skin. Stearic Acid will impart a soft feel to lotions and creams. It is widely used basic ingredients in personal care products including soaps, creams, lotions, foundation creams, liquefying creams, protective & shaving creams.
Wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid, allowing easier spreading when dissoved in water. Detergents and soaps are surfactants, short for surface-active agent. The hydrophobic end of the molecule attaches to grease, fat, or oil on the surface, aiding in the spreading of surface tension.
Tetrasodium etidronate is used as a water softener in soaps to prevent soap scum and bathtub rings by locking up the calcium and magnesium in the water.
The tetrasodium salt of EDTA can be used in a wide variety of products. It is a chelating agent, which ties up metal ions in products, helping the anti-oxidant to work better and protecting other ingredients. Tetrasodium EDTA is easy to use and is added to emulsions in the water phase and added to improve product stability (preservative).
An opacifier. When added to clear melt and pour soap, it will make a white soap base.
Used as a pH adjuster and aids in the clarity level of soap base. It neutralizes the excess fatty acids in soap base.
A preservative; a sequestering (a removing/separating agent) and chelating agent (of sodium salt).
Vegetable Oleic Acid
Oleic acid is a fatty acid found in animal and vegetable oils. It is abundant in olive, peanut, palm, and sunfower seeds. Used as an emulsifying agent and emollient in soap.
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