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Difference Between Cold-processed Soap Vs Commercial Soap

Isn’t it all just soap? Isn’t it a cleanser? Does any difference really exist between them?

These make great questions. Though both cleanse, there is not much similarity between them.
Their composition, effect on skin, effect on health, impact on environment, the process of making it makes the natural cold pressed soap different from commercial soaps.

Natural soaps are made from materials in nature, like, plant oil, honey, goat milk, charcoal and other materials. 

Difference Between Cold-processed Soap Vs Commercial Soap


Cold pressed soap

Commercial soap


Typically made with natural ingredients such as vegetable oil, essential oil and lye.

 Additives like herbs, clays, natural clays are used.

Includes Glycerin, a natural by product

Contain detergents, petroleum based products and chemical additives.

Artificial colours, fragrance and preservatives are used.

Glycerin is removed and used for other products.

Production process

Made by mixing oil and lye at room temperature.

Usually handmade and smaller batches are produced.

Uses hot process and continuation process to speeden up the process.

Uses industrial machines and created in larger amount.

Skin benefits

More gentle and suitable for the skin.  Natural oils and glycerin help in moisturising the skin

May contain harsh detergents and synthetic ingredients. Sensitive skin is prone to allergies.

Environmental Impact

More environment friendly. Sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

Synthetic chemicals contribute to environment pollution and packaging can generate more waste.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cold-processed and Commercial Soap

Advantages of cold-pressed soap

  1. Made with natural ingredients.
  2.  Retains glycerin in its saponification process. Glycerin keeps the skin moisturised.
  3. It is gentler on skin. Suitable even for the sensitive skin type.
  4. They are often handmade in smaller batches. Allowing focus on details and focus on quality.
  5. Sustainable and eco-friendly practices in both making and packaging.
  6. Allows customisation for all skin types and their needs.
  7. Has a longer shelf life than other soap-making processes.

 Disadvantage of cold-pressed soap

  1.  They may be expensive due to high quality ingredients and labour intensive work.
  2. Though they are customisable, they are limited to a range of colours, scents and formulation.
  3. They require a longer curing time. Which means, a wait period exists between their production time and their use.

 Advantages of commercial soaps

  1. Mass produced soaps maintain consistent characteristics from batch to batch.
  2. Allow a wide range of options to choose from. They have different scents, colours and formulations.
  3. Readily and easily accessible.
  4. Affordability. They are way more cost effective than hand made cold pressed soaps.

 Disadvantage of commercial soaps

  1.  They contain synthetic additives, fragrance and preservatives which makes it less appealing in the growing need for a sustainable and eco-friendly world.
  2. They get harsh on skin, leading to dryness and irritation.
  3. Glycerin which is a main component for soaps is removed.
  4. They impact the environment, with concerns over their packaging and non- sustainable ingredients.


It is important to note the ingredients and their quantities can vary widely depending on the recipe and the desired final product. If you are new to soap making you are advised to follow a trusted recipe and stick to the guidelines.

Cold-processed Soap Ingredients

Cold processed soap uses a combination of fat, oil and lye. The basic commonly used ingredients are:
  1. Base oil or fats: for example, olive oil, castor oil, coconut oil, palm oil.
  2. Lye: a need for a saponification process. A chemical reaction which turns oils and fats to soap.
  3. Liquid: water or milk is used as a liquid base for the lye solution.  Milk is used for more creaminess.
  4. Additives: Ingredients like clay, herbs, charcoal and natural colourants are used for silky texture, exfoliation, detoxifying and colours respectively.
  5. Essential oils: Oils derived from plants are used for natural scent to the soap.
  6. Glycerin: It is a natural by-product of the saponification process which helps in moisturising the skin.
  7. Commercial Soap Ingredients
Commercial soaps have a wide range of ingredients and the specific formulation of soaps can differ based on the brand.
Specific ingredients and their quantities may differ even between product lines of the same brand. Reading product labels can provide information about the specific ingredient used in the particular soap.

The basic ingredients used in the commercial soaps are:

  1. Surfactants: They create lather and help in cleansing. They can be derived from coconut oil but are often synthesised. For example, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate.
  2. Moisturisers: Various oils like palm oil and mineral oil are used for moisturising properties.
  3. Thickeners and stabilisers: Sodium chloride and Tetrasodium EDTA are used to harden and stabilise the soap respectively.
  4. Preservatives: Synthetic preservatives like parabens and phenoxyethanol are used to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  5. Fragrances and colours: Synthetically processed fragrance and dyes are used.
  6. Humectants: It helps in retaining the moisture in the soap.
  7. Fillers and additives: Titanium dioxide id used as a whitening agent while talc or Kaolin clay is used to improve the texture of the soap.

Which is best?

Concerning the advantages/ disadvantages and the ingredients, it Is impossible to escape the fact that handmade natural cold pressed soaps are the best. With Inria purchase your best eco-friendly, natural cold pressed soaps for better moisturising and cleansing experience.


1. What is the difference between cold-processed and commercial soap?
The major difference between them is the presence of glycerin. The handmade cold processed soaps contain glycerin while the commercial soaps don’t.

 2. Can we use cold process soap on the face?
It’s clearly evident that cold processed soap has no chemical content and proves to be the best. This makes it very safe to use it on the face. 
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