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Soaps, syndets and everything in between!

Soaps, syndets and everything in between!

There are an innumerable amount of face and body hygienic products available for purchase ranging from traditional bar soaps that require lathering and rinsing to cleansers that don’t even need to be rinsed off. Because it’s easy to get lost in all of these terms and concepts, we are going to equip you with a basic road map about soaps to help you navigate the endless amount of advertisements online and the lengthy personal hygiene aisles at the store.

First, here is some basic information about the major categories:

True soaps

  • How they are made: Saponification

    • Fats are hydrolysed into fatty acids. Fatty acids are mixed with alkali to make the base for soap.

    • Glycerin is produced as a byproduct and can be removed or left in as it can soften the soap.

    • The amount of fat will determine how much is lathers.


Syndets - ‘synthetic detergents’

  • How they are made: chemically synthesized

    • Synthetic detergent are essentially made of surfactants, which have hydrophobic components that insert into dirt and fat that then gets washed away by water.

Combos (Combars)

  • How they are made

    • They are a combination soap and syndet

By mixing and matching these ingredients, manufacturers can produce all sorts of products! Here are just a few examples of the major categories.

Basically, given such a degree of variation, you can pretty much find any product you want if you search hard enough. While proponents of true soaps may argue that syndets are ‘fake’ and that natural products are ‘always superior’, and supporters of syndets may label true soaps as harsh and drying, keep in mind that such generalizations are usually not applicable for the majority of the population. When trying to find the right soap for you, look beyond the label and find one that best fits your skin type. If you are unsure, your physician (especially your dermatologist) can usually provide a few recommendations as a starting point.

That's all we have to say today folks! See you next time!



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