The Functional Advantages of Natural Waxes in Traditional Soaps

A. G. McMahon, B. M. Lemieux

Humans have been manufacturing soap since at least 2800 B.C., modifying and perfecting their recipes over the centuries. Today’s traditional soap bars are made via saponification of triglycerides: the alkaline hydrolysis of fatty ester bonds, leading to mainly C16-C18 fatty acid soaps and glycerol. In this paper, we explore the use of Natural Waxes from Koster Keunen, Inc. as starting raw materials in soap formulations, both alone and as additives to traditional triglycerides. Twelve Natural Waxes were blended with olive oil at 50/50 ratios, each blend was fully saponified, and the reaction products were evaluated for different properties and compared to a standard olive oil soap bar. It was determined through experimentation that each Saponified Natural Wax or Saponified Natural Wax Blend made a chemically complex finished soap, with different properties from the control and from each other. Some of the benefits encountered included improved bar hardness, a longer lifespan, more hydrophobicity, and innovative INCI declarations.

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