Cold Process Soap vs Commercial Soap

  • By: Carl
  • Time to read: 6 min.

It’s essential to understand the differences between cold process soap and commercial soap with so many options available. This article will provide an in-depth comparison of these two popular types of soap, and the factors you should consider when making an informed decision. So, let’s dive into cold process vs commercial soaps to help you make the best choice for you.

Cold process soap boasts natural ingredients, customization, and eco-friendliness, while commercial soap offers consistent quality, wide availability, and affordability. Consider personal preferences, skin type, and skincare needs when choosing between the two for clean, healthy, and nourished skin.

When exploring your options, it’s essential to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both cold process and commercial soaps. Cold process soaps can be gentler and more suitable for sensitive skin, whereas commercial soaps provide convenience and accessibility.

Keep in mind that everyone’s skin is unique, so don’t hesitate to experiment with different brands, ingredients, and formulations to find the soap that works best for you. Let’s take a closer look at the comparison below.

Comparing Cold Process and Commercial Soap

Cold process soap often contains natural ingredients that nourish your skin. Essential oils and plant-based oils like olive or coconut oil can provide hydration and soothe irritation.

Commercial soap, on the other hand, may include harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances that can strip away natural oils and cause dryness or sensitivity.

Cold process soap has a smaller environmental footprint. Handmade with eco-friendly ingredients, it typically uses less packaging and fewer resources.

Commercial soap production can generate more waste and pollution due to mass manufacturing processes and non-biodegradable ingredients. Commercial soaps are usually cheaper because they’re produced in large quantities. Cold process soaps may cost more since they’re made in smaller batches with high-quality, natural ingredients.

However, the benefits of cold process soap can outweigh the price difference for some consumers. Cold process soap offers more customization and variety. Artisans can create unique combinations of scents, colors, and textures.

Commercial soap, in contrast, tends to have more limited options due to standardized production methods.

Allergies and Sensitive Skin

Common allergens in soap include synthetic fragrances, preservatives, and artificial colorants. Cold process soaps often have fewer allergens because they use natural ingredients. Commercial soaps, however, may contain harsh chemicals that can trigger allergies or skin reactions.

When choosing soap for sensitive skin, opt for cold process soap with gentle ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, or chamomile. Avoid commercial soaps with strong fragrances or chemicals that can cause irritation.

Both cold process and commercial soaps can offer hypoallergenic options. Look for soaps labeled as hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, or specifically designed for sensitive skin. Always patch test new soaps on a small area of skin to ensure they won’t cause a reaction.

Cold Process Soap

Cold process soap is handmade soap crafted through a technique that involves combining oils, lye, and water. The mixture initiates a chemical reaction called saponification, transforming the ingredients into soap.

The absence of heat application during this process preserves the natural properties of the ingredients, making it ideal for sensitive skin.

Advantages of cold process soap

Natural ingredients

Cold process soaps often contain plant-based oils (such as olive, coconut, and almond oil), essential oils, and other natural ingredients like herbs and botanicals.

These ingredients are gentle on your skin and provide various benefits, including moisturization, soothing, and nourishment without the use of harsh chemicals.

Customization possibilities

Artisans can create one-of-a-kind cold process soaps with a wide range of colors, textures, and scents. This level of customization ensures there’s a soap to suit everyone’s preferences and caters to specific skincare needs.


Cold process soaps are typically more eco-friendly than commercial soaps. They require fewer resources to produce, often use sustainably sourced and biodegradable ingredients, and have minimal packaging, reducing waste and environmental impact.

Disadvantages of cold process soap

Longer curing time

Cold process soap requires a curing period of 4-6 weeks before use, ensuring it hardens and lasts longer. This waiting time can be inconvenient for those who want immediate access to their soap.

Limited shelf life

Cold process soaps contain natural ingredients without chemical preservatives, which may result in a shorter shelf life compared to commercial soaps. Proper storage, such as in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, is essential to prolong their use.

Commercial Soap

Commercial soap is mass-produced using a mixture of fats, oils, and chemicals like sodium hydroxide.

It typically undergoes a hot process, which accelerates saponification, allowing for faster production, a smoother texture, and a longer shelf life.

Advantages of commercial soap

Consistent quality

Commercial soap offers consistent quality due to standardized production methods and stringent quality control measures. This consistency ensures that each bar performs similarly, providing a reliable experience for consumers.

Wide availability

Commercial soap is readily available in various retail outlets, including grocery stores, pharmacies, and online retailers. This widespread availability makes it a convenient option for everyone.


Commercial soaps are mass-produced, leading to lower production costs. This makes them a budget-friendly option for many people compared to handmade cold process soaps.

Disadvantages of commercial soap

Synthetic ingredients

Commercial soaps often contain synthetic ingredients, such as artificial fragrances, colorants, and preservatives. These chemicals can cause skin irritation or sensitivity in some individuals, especially those with delicate skin.

Environmental concerns

The production process of commercial soaps can contribute to pollution, waste, and depletion of natural resources. Non-biodegradable ingredients and excessive packaging can also negatively impact the environment.

Potential skin irritation

The chemicals found in commercial soaps can strip away natural oils from your skin, leading to dryness, irritation, or other issues. Some people may experience adverse reactions to these ingredients, making it essential to choose soap based on individual skin needs.

Making an Informed Choice

Choosing the right soap depends on your personal preferences and skincare needs. Consider factors like scent, texture, ingredients, and skin type when making a decision.

Some people may prefer the natural ingredients and unique properties of cold process soap, while others might opt for the consistent quality and cost-effectiveness of commercial soap.

Tips for selecting the right soap

  1. Identify your skin type: Understanding whether your skin is oily, dry, sensitive, or combination will help you choose a soap that meets your specific needs.
  2. Examine the ingredients: Look for soaps with gentle, natural ingredients if you have sensitive skin. Avoid soaps with harsh chemicals, artificial fragrances, or colorants that may cause irritation.
  3. Consider ethical factors: Choose eco-friendly, cruelty-free, or fair-trade soaps if these values are important to you.
  4. Read reviews: Learn about other people’s experiences with a particular soap to make a more informed decision.
  5. Consult a dermatologist: If you have specific skin concerns or conditions, seek professional advice to find the best soap for your needs.

Experimenting with both types

To determine which type of soap is best for you, consider trying both cold process and commercial soaps. Experiment with different brands, ingredients, and formulations to find the one that works best for your skin.

Keep in mind that everyone’s skin is unique, and it may take some trial and error to discover the perfect soap for your needs. Once you’ve found the right match, you can enjoy the benefits of clean, healthy, and nourished skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are cold process soaps better for sensitive skin?

Yes, cold process soaps generally contain gentle, natural ingredients that are suitable for sensitive skin, while commercial soaps may contain harsh chemicals that could cause irritation.

Do commercial soaps have a longer shelf life than cold process soaps?

Yes, commercial soaps often have a longer shelf life due to the inclusion of chemical preservatives, while cold process soaps contain natural ingredients without preservatives.

Are cold process soaps more environmentally friendly than commercial soaps?

Generally, cold process soaps are more eco-friendly as they require fewer resources to produce, use biodegradable ingredients, and have minimal packaging.

Can both cold process and commercial soaps be hypoallergenic?

Yes, both cold process and commercial soaps can offer hypoallergenic options. Look for soaps labeled as hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, or specifically designed for sensitive skin.

Can I make cold process soap at home?

Yes, you can make cold process soap at home by following a recipe, using the right ingredients, and adhering to safety precautions during the process.

How can I determine which type of soap is best for my skin?

Consider factors like your skin type, personal preferences, and any specific skincare needs. Experiment with different brands and formulations to find the soap that works best for your skin.


In conclusion, the choice between cold process and commercial soaps comes down to personal preferences, skin type, and skincare needs. Cold process soaps offer natural ingredients, eco-friendliness, and customization, while commercial soaps provide consistency, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness.

To find the perfect soap, experiment with different options and consider factors such as ingredients, ethical considerations, and your skin’s unique requirements. By understanding the differences between these two types of soap and making an informed decision.

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