12-08-2012, 11:32 PM
#1
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Something I've noticed...

OK, when I was a child I learned that soap was saponified fat or oil. Now I'm traditional shaving and I find that creams which are saponified fats with a higher percentage of water aren't soaps. Neither are croaps "soap". Yet both creams and croaps are saponified fat or oil, meeting the definition of a soap.

To compound the confusion there are also liquid soaps in use at the sink, for hands, in a pump bottle. I also make a liquid soap for the wife to use for our laundry, yet it's still in it's essence, soap.

Am I nuts or should the folks who use the term "soap" actually be writing "hard soap"? Is the technical definition of "soap" at odds with the contemporary shaving definition of "soap"?

FWIW, when I write "soap" I mean saponified fat or oil, which can mean hard soap, cream, or croap, but when it actually matters (as in a review/description) I'll write cream, croap, or puck/stick (hard soap).

Am I wrong? And if so, why?

This is something that has confused me for quite some time.

FWIW, the "why" above is the most important part of the question. W/O the why it's just an opinion IMO.

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 12-08-2012, 11:50 PM
#2
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You make a very logical argument. However, etymology defies logic. Words will mean whatever everyone agrees they mean. In our case, soap = hard soap.

The history thereof may be lost in time.

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 12-09-2012, 12:03 AM
#3
  • CMur12
  • Semogueiro de Coração
  • Moses Lake, Washington State, USA
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Hi Brian -

I personally consider soaps and creams two different categories, based on performance characteristics.

Soaps come in many different forms: Triple milled (DR Harris, Trumper, Institut Karite, ...), hard soaps that aren't triple milled (Valobra Shave Stick, Art of Shaving, Mitchell's Wool Fat, ...), semi-hard soaps (Mike's Natural Soaps), and soft soaps/croaps (Cella, P160, Mystic Water, ...). I look at all of these as "soaps" because they behave essentially the same. Creams are formulated a little differently and they behave differently.

I think most people see soaps and creams as distinct categories. It's when we get to soft soaps or "croaps" that we run into some confusion, as some see them as soaps, some see them as creams, and some see them as a separate category.

- Murray

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 12-09-2012, 03:41 AM
#4
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I agree with the logic you present, Brian. They are all, in the technical sense, soap. Just labelled differently based simply on the consistency of the finished product. They have similar characteristics, they do similar things, just different physical states. I view shaving cream as, essentially, soap that you squeeze out of a tube. Just my 2¢.

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 12-09-2012, 05:16 AM
#5
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I'm a cream and croap kind of guy Wink

I have tried 5-6 soaps and they tend to dry out my face a bit more for some reason, maybe because they contain some of actual cleaning ingredients from a regular soap, maybe because I have a vivid imagination Wink

The soaps I have tried are:

Speick soap stick
Tabac in the pot
MDC in a small tester sample
Pre de Provence in a small pot
Cella in the red pot
DR Harris Arlington soap
Truefitt & Hill 1805 shaving soap

All these tend to dry out my face more than when I used a shaving cream.....
So to me they have an ingredient or two in them that differs them from actual shaving cream. I could be wrong though, has happened before Shy

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 12-10-2012, 08:27 PM
#6
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Interesting line of thought, Brian. My oh my, what the mind does when in the grip of those Maine winters!

When I think of soap, I typically think of hard soap; you have put a whole different spin on things. And when I think of cream, I perceive it to be soap with water added plus a couple ingredients to enhance shelf life.

Bottom line - your logic seems sound to me. At the end of they day, they are all soaps of one sort or another.

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 12-11-2012, 11:36 AM
#7
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i tend to view hard soaps and malleable soaps as one, creams as another entity and croaps as a third.

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 02-07-2014, 01:05 PM
#8
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Shaving
I'm more confused now than I was 30 min ago. Interesting subject.

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 02-07-2014, 02:18 PM
#9
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Some "soaps" are actually classified as detergents.

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 02-07-2014, 04:32 PM
#10
  • v4257
  • Always chasing the perfect shave
  • Boston, USA
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I suppose it all comes down to the definition of soap you use; if one accepts your definition of soap i.e. "...soap is a salt of a fatty acid" (also see the very informative soap page on Wikipedia) - then most shaving creams, croaps and hard soaps fall under that umbrella.

However - if you use a more colloquial definition - where only something that is 'hard' and used to wash is soap - then you will end up with a different classification.

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 02-07-2014, 06:01 PM
#11
  • evnpar
  • Super Moderator
  • Portland, Oregon
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Everything we learned as a child doesn't necessarily turn out to be true.Tongue

If someone were out of bath soap and used the only thing available to them for their shower, shaving cream, would it then be called a soap? Kind of like a tree falling in the woods? Is it defined by form, function, ingredients, or something else? Personally, someone can call it whatever they like.

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 02-08-2014, 12:34 AM
#12
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(12-09-2012, 12:03 AM)CMur12 Wrote: Hi Brian -

I personally consider soaps and creams two different categories, based on performance characteristics.

Soaps come in many different forms: Triple milled (DR Harris, Trumper, Institut Karite, ...), hard soaps that aren't triple milled (Valobra Shave Stick, Art of Shaving, Mitchell's Wool Fat, ...), semi-hard soaps (Mike's Natural Soaps), and soft soaps/croaps (Cella, P160, Mystic Water, ...). I look at all of these as "soaps" because they behave essentially the same. Creams are formulated a little differently and they behave differently.

I think most people see soaps and creams as distinct categories. It's when we get to soft soaps or "croaps" that we run into some confusion, as some see them as soaps, some see them as creams, and some see them as a separate category.

- Murray

I like this and it is nice that there is grey areas in what a product really is. It gives variety and conversation.

I do believe it is personal preference in terminology as well. I call soft soaps soap sometimes and other times I will specifically say soft soaps and in my opinion creams are not soaps. Some choose to call them that which is fine as well. Is it a car or a sedan? Is it a sedan or an automobile?

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