What is the difference between handmade cold process soaps and commercially available “soaps”?

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    Many commercial “soaps” are not soaps at all. If you look carefully, they are often labeled as beauty bars, deodorant bars, or body bars. These commercial bars often use surfactants such as SLS (and a wide variety of other chemicals) to perform the same function as soap. These bars will cleanse your skin, but these surfactants work so well that they will also strip your skin of its natural oils. Handmade cold process soaps are full of glycerin (a byproduct of the soap-making chemical reaction) as well as excess oil to keep your skin moisturized. Be careful; once you use handmade cold process soap, it can be challenging to go back to the commercial variety.