Glycerine is a commonly used additive in bar soaps.  Additionally, it often finds its way, either by design or accidentally, into soaps as a byproduct of the historical saponification process.

The presence of glycerine in bar soap formulations can have a number of functions and effects:

  • To provide a transparent or translucent appearance
  • For skin-conditioning effects
  • As a processing aid
  • To enhance product appearance

The use of glycerine in the manufacture of transparent and translucent soaps, usually classified as specialty soaps.

Transparent soaps have often been referred to as “glycerine soaps.” In the mid 80s, manufacturers added glycerine to some mass-marketed opaque bars to endow them with skin care and skin feel properties, as well as to improve the foam characteristics of the bar.