Saponification is as Natural as Nature itself!
Once we started selling our soap, we quickly began to understand how much the process of making soap and LYE are seriously misunderstood. So, lets cover the basics of saponification, soap, and lye.
What is Saponification? "Saponification is a process that produces soap, usually from fats and lye." (Source) Tallow is the name used in the soap making process for animal fats. Yes, it is the norm to use animal fat to make soap, in fact many are still made with Tallow. Tallow goes rancid! Tribal Mama uses NO Tallow, all products are Vegan Safe, they all are 100% Tallow Free. Many people believe the soap they use is tallow free but most are not. One example is Dove by Unilever. Look at the ingredients on the plastic wrapping (not the box), "Sodium Tallowate" is um, tallow. The screenshot below is from Dove's Website.
Soap Making: There are only 2 base processes to make soap. Cold Processed Soap and Hot Processed Soap. Both use lye.
And then there is the super misunderstood Lye: Yep, lye is caustic and will burn you if it touches your skin. It is neutralized by fats and oils, which is what is happening when it burns your skin. It can be quickly neutralized, stopping the burn with vinegar. Lye can be made by simply running water through wood ash! Before the industrial age most soap made was by wood ash and water with the animal fats coming from the farms.
All True Soaps use Lye: Tribal Mama does not list lye as an ingredient because there is NO lye in it! If there was no one would buy more than one bar! So, we list saponified oils instead because that is what is in it. When lye reacts with oils/fats it is a chemical reaction that is compared to the chemical reaction of burning wood. To help you understand, when you burn wood and are left with nothing but ash, do you call it wood? Is the ash a living tree? Some interested customers who are confused about the soap making process have shown their fear of trying new soaps saying they have been burned by other soap. While if made incorrectly lye can be left over in soap because there was not enough oil/fat for it to react with. With that said, ALL of Tribal Mama's Soaps are made to replenish and rejuvenate your skin. Which means we make it in a way to make sure that there is excess oils to not only clean but to also protect your skin. The process of making sure there is un-used oils is called "super fatted" or "super fatted soap" but since we are not using animal fats I guess we should call it "super oiled soap".
Still not sold on "Saponification is as Natural as Nature itself!": Are fires naturally occurring? Are lighting strikes that start fires naturally occurring? Volcanoes? Do forests burn down leaving tons of wood ash? Does it rain after forest fires? How much water run off is there from a burned forest during a rain? OK, so we have Lye. Do animals die in fires? Do animals hunt and kill leaving remains of the animal, yet alone die of old age? Do certain plants that produce oils die? Does wind blow over and destroy oil producing trees/plants that can and will react to any naturally occurring lye?
The process of saponification has and will happen with or without man.