Lye is used in all soaps at one point. To differentiate between soap makers who are using fresh lye and those who are not, the term "homemade lye soap" came about. This is to help those who are trying to explain their soap making process with lye, and help the rest of us out there who also know that lye is a normal ingredient in all soap.
People make lye soap in a few different soap making processes. There is the heated way, where everything is heated together. The other way is called the cool version, where no heat is required.
The reason why some people choose not to deal with lye is because it
is a dangerous chemical. Lye can cause a harmful chemical reaction to
your skin if it comes in contact with it. Because of this some soap
makers like to use base soap that has already been mixed with lye
instead of dealing with lye in its raw form.
The chemical lye can actually be made by people who would like to make soap. Homemade lye is often thought of as the only natural way of making soap. Homemade lye has been made by hand for hundreds of years from people around the world, and many people feel it should remain that way.
Others feel that commercial lye, or buying a block of the chemical, works just as well. Commercial lye is usually viewed as less natural. However, since both the commercial lye and homemade lye cause the same result when it causes a catalyst with the soap, it is up to the user which one they would rather use.
Commercial lie takes less time and effort than handmade lye. Commercial lye requires no extra waiting time, while homemade lye does. If you are planning on making your own lye plan on also adding a few extra days to your soap making process.
It can be a long process, but making your own soap can be very fulfilling. If you decide to try it out and want to buy commercial lye instead of making it on your own, look for online vendors. Most local stores do not have lye because of the danger it presents, but it is pretty easy to find online.