Coconut acid, tallow acid in commercial soap?

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Anstarx

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I'm not sure if I should post this question here. If not, please notify me.

I looked up some common soaps' ingredients, trying to analyze it for a friend and was a bit confused by the oil acids I see.
Take ivory soap for example.

I can see that the soap is basically made of coconut, palm kernel, tallow, and palm oil reacting with lye, plus some additive like fragrance and EDTA. I was not so sure about the coconut acid, tallow acid, and other acids that I see. Are they just the fatty acids from the oils?
I checked another common soap I can think of: Irish Spring.

This one also have oil acids like hydrogenated tallow acid.
I looked up these ingredients in google and could only find these are derived from the corresponding oils and are emollients.
I have a hypothesis: are these the superfats? It's kinda funny to think about but maybe the commercial soap industry also use superfat or lye discount during manufacturing like us? Really curious ;)
 

TheGecko

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I looked up some common soaps' ingredients, trying to analyze it for a friend and was a bit confused by the oil acids I see.

I looked up these ingredients in google and could only find these are derived from the corresponding oils and are emollients.
I have a hypothesis: are these the superfats? It's kinda funny to think about but maybe the commercial soap industry also use superfat or lye discount during manufacturing like us? Really curious ;)
First of all, commercial soap, as in the examples you provided, are not real ‘soap’, they are detergents.

No, they are not ‘super fats’. Super fat is unsaponified oils/butters and commercial processing of soaps don’t allow for it because it’s a waste of money.

Commercial soap is made using the “continuous process” method. Molten fats are put into a tall ‘cooker’ in which extremely hot water and pressure are introduced with separates liquid fat into fatty acids and glycerin*** which are pumped out into separate containers as more fats and water are added in (hence ‘continuous’).

The ‘soap’ is then poured into blocks/slabs and flashed cooled. The blocks are then tossed into a machine and makes noodles, the noodles go to the mill where they noodles are pressed between rollers when color, fragrances, preservatives, additives and SOME glycerin in added back in. The product is then put into another machine where it is extruded, cut into ‘bar’ size chunks and each chunk is hard pressed into the bars that you buy at the store.

“Soap” like Ivory is actually whipped to incorporate air so that it floats.

*** - Glycerin is a valuable “by-product” which is why it is removed.
 

DeeAnna

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"...First of all, commercial soap, as in the examples you provided, are not real ‘soap’, they are detergents.... No, they are not ‘super fats’. Super fat is unsaponified oils/butters and commercial processing of soaps don’t allow for it because it’s a waste of money...."

I respectfully must disagree. Read the ingredients lists more carefully. Both of the examples are indeed soap. They aren't syndet (synthetic detergent) cleansers, and they aren't combo cleansers either (meaning a blend of soap + syndets).

And yes, they are superfatted with fatty acids, not fats. Many commercial soaps have a small % of superfatting, either as fat or as fatty acid to ensure the soap has zero excess alkali and is sufficiently mild to the skin. This isn't a waste of money -- it's a purely selfish, economic decision. They want consumers to buy again, so the soap has to perform well.
 
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Dawni

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I just noticed the Irish spring one's first item is "soap" then only followed by water, superfat, etc.

Why is that?
 

Anstarx

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I just noticed the Irish spring one's first item is "soap" then only followed by water, superfat, etc.

Why is that?
My guess is that the soap part is the active ingredient, other ingredients like water and sodium chloride doesn't really contribute to the cleaning purpose so they are kinda extra there.
 

paragon

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I just noticed the Irish spring one's first item is "soap" then only followed by water, superfat, etc.

Why is that?
It's good marketing for the first ingredient to be "soap". If there's more water than sodium tallowate (fair chance), the sodium tallowate can still be listed first if it's plausibly part of a group ("soap") that does have total mass greater than water. It would be the same as listing "nuts (...), sugar" on a snack label even though it had more sugar than any individual type of nut.

Actually in this case, it's probably less sinister. I think they didn't want to list the soap chemicals without the "soap" name attached, so they grouped them all together.
 
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