Cold Process soap is made by mixing oils (referred to as 'acids') with an alkali solution base (Sodium Hydroxide and water). The reaction of this mixture results in a chemical process called saponification (which means 'turning into soap'). This process neutralizes the acids and alkali base and soap is born.
The balance of oils and alkali is the basis of a quality bar of soap. If more oils are added than needed for the saponification process, they are called 'free fatty acids'. This technique (also called superfatting) increases the moisturizing effect and is used in most high-quality soap making. On the other hand, if there is excess alkali remaining, called 'free alkali', the soap will tend to be harsh and will dry out sensitive skin.
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