What Does Saponification Mean?

October 06, 2015

What Does Saponification Mean?


You see the word "saponification" in the ingredients list but you don't really know what it means. 

Saponification refers to the process by which a vegetable oil is turned into soap! It's a simple reaction that occurs when an oil, like coconut, olive or jojoba is mixed with an alkali and results in two products: soap and glycerin. 

Literally, saponification means "soap-making" and oils are chosen based on what final properties of soap is desired. For instance, if you saponify coconut oil, the result is a very bubbly and glycerin-rich soap. Glycerin is an important product for its usefulness in helping retain moisture and prevent dry, itchy skin. Olive oil creates a very creamy soap that is rich with antioxidants. 

The alkali that are used to mix with oil to make soap have changed a lot in the last 300 years. Modern day alkali are naturally occurring sodium hydroxide, which creates a soap bar or naturally occurring potassium hydroxide which creates a soft or liquid soap. You run the chemical reaction long enough to verify that all of the alkali is used (zero left in the batch) and add the glycerin back into the base and voila!  The purest, most natural product that you can find. 

4-Legger uses the highest ingredients to produce the purest soaps. Not only will your 4-Legger feel the difference in their skin and coat, but YOU will feel the difference too. That's what sets our dog soaps and shampoos apart from all the others.

In case you wanted to know the INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) of our saponified oils, here they are:  

Base Oils

  • Avocado Oil = Persea gratissima 
  • Coconut Oil = Cocos nucifera 
  • Hemp Seed Oil = Cannabis sativa 
  • Jojoba = Simmondsia chinensis 
  • Olive Oil = Olea europaea
  • Palm Kernel Oil = Elaeis guineensis 

Saponified Oils

  • Coconut Oil = Sodium cocoate (bar)
  • Coconut OIl = Potassium cocoate (liquid)
  • Olive Oil = Sodium olivate (bar)
  • Olive Oil = Potassium Olivate (liquid)
  • Jojoba Oil = Sodium jojobate (solid)
  • Jojoba Oil = Potassium jojobate (liquid)
  • Palm Oil = Sodium palmate (bar)
  • Palm Kernel = Sodium Palm kernelate (liquid)

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