What is Glycerin?
I've been making soap for a good 15 years now, and I will tell you, the more you learn about the process, the more you discover how much more there is to learn.
Glycerin is a by-product of the saponification process, which is the process which turns the liquids, oils, and lye into the wonderful product we know as natural soap.
It is a humectant, which means it actually attracts moisture to your skin. Getting your hands on natural soap, especially with glycerin rivers, is a wonderful, skin loving experience! However, not everyone likes the look of glycerin rivers, but it is more an aesthetic like or dislike; it is not about quality. What does it look like? It looks like translucent rivers running thru a bar of soap. It seems to occur more with the use of titanium dioxide (a white colorant) usually used to make other colors pop.
Studies show it can occur when soap goes through the gel phase, which I normally like to do because it's an additional way to help color pop and ensure a more even look to the bars. And since soap will normally try to gel anyway, it helps prevent a bulls-eye look to the bar.
Water usage is also a factor, because fragrance, colors and temperature all have their effect on how quickly the soap will 'set-up' or stay fluid enough to be able to do pretty designs, which we like at Earthangel Soaps.