Up until the 1900's, soap was probably second nature for moms, who would make their soap from saved up fats they got from cooking or butchering. But due to war and the economic needs of the time, companies began to make soap as a synthetic detergent.
Animal fats, such as lard and tallow (fats from pig and cattle), are still used today in making handmade soap, but back in the day, ALL soap was made with this type of ingredient. However, over time, vegetable oils from grains or nuts, were becoming the new alternative to making soap.
Even though animal fats do have their own unique quality, producing a hard, mild soap, they tend to clog your pores, whereas with vegetable oils, these tend to better absorb into your skin.
Sources for my research: Handcrafted Soap, 2002, by Delores Boone
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