Saponification, or the making of soap, occurs through a chemical reaction between vegetable or animal fats, water, and sodium hydroxide (or lye). Glycerin, a natural byproduct of this process, is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture on your skin like a natural skin lotion. Commercial soaps are manufactured in large factories where glycerin is often removed from the soap and sold to manufacturers of high end cosmetics.
In a bar of handmade soap, the naturally occurring glycerin remains in the soap and provides natural moisturizing properties. Handmade soap makers pride themselves on formulating recipes using the finest quality oils and butters, whereas commercial soap manufacturers generally use the most economical ingredients available. If you have never experienced the beauty and benefit of handmade soap, you and your skin are in for a treat!