Neutrogena = glycerin soap base?
January 14, 2013 1:38 PM   Subscribe

What's the difference between Neutrogena and glycerin soap base?

I've been using plain Neutrogena soap for years, store-brand when I can find it, but I generally can't find it. It's the only thing that doesn't make me break out, but it doesn't last long, and is pricey.

A recent AskMe got me thinking about less-expensive alternatives to my favorite Neutrogena. A little googling led me to glycerin soap base, cheaply available at craft stores. Is it basically the same thing, minus perfume and color? Can I just buy a big block and slice off what I need? Sure, one day I might try adding sandlewood and clay or cherry blossoms or something and mold it in fancy shapes, but right now I'm just looking for good, cheap soap that won't make me break out like a 15-year-old.
posted by MrMoonPie to Shopping (4 answers total)
IIRC Neutrogena (and generic versions) also includes anti-bacterial agents that a plain soap base probably doesn't.
posted by sexyrobot at 1:46 PM on January 14, 2013

I assume you mean the transparent facial bar. Here are the ingredients:

Triethanolamine, TEA Stearate, Sodium Tallowate, Glycerin, Water, Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Ricinoleate, Sodium Oleate, Cocamide MEA, Sodium Stearate, BHT, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Trisodium HEDTA, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Fragrance (Scented option only).

Here's one brand of glycerin soap base, and the ingredients:

Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide (saponifying agent), Sorbitol (moisturizer), Sorbitan oleate (emulsifier), Soy bean protein (conditioner)

As you can see, completely different. I assume different brands of glycerin soap base all have different ingredients.

Perhaps your skin would be just as happy with any type of glycerin-based soap, perhaps not. But it wouldn't be exactly the same as the Neutrogena.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:52 PM on January 14, 2013

All soaps have some glycerin in them. It is clear due to adding alcohol and then they add more glycerin for a bit of moisture.

All that "sodium tallowate" is a fancy way of saying "lye mixed with tallow" or whatever fat they are using to make the soap.

I say try a bunch of different soaps and see which one your skin likes best. For instance, Kiss My Face is pretty moisturizing. But some people might do just as well with Dove.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:55 PM on January 14, 2013

Yes, you could just use a chunk of glycerin soap base, straight out of the package; you can find soap makings at most craft stores. There are also goat's milk soap bases available; I use that to make an oatmeal soap for a friend with psoriasis, she says it really helps (run plain old edible oats through a blender to pulverize them first; toss in a little cinnamon for scent).
posted by easily confused at 2:00 PM on January 14, 2013

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