How Does Soap Work?

How Does Soap Work?

A sudsy chemistry lesson on the miracle of soap.
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Soap plays a large role in most of our lives. It keeps us clean, makes us smell good, and is lots of bubbly fun. There are tons of different types for washing all different kinds of things. From hair to cars, there is soap for almost everything. It's strongly integrated into our lives, yet for many, if they were asked how it works, they couldn't tell you.

Why is soap so much more effective than plain water?

The answer lies in chemistry.

Above is our friend Bob The Dirt. Bob and most of his oily and greasy friends are non-polar compounds. What does this mean? Well, in order for a molecule to dissolve in another molecule, they must have the same polarity. So, since water is a polar molecule, Bob and his non-polar friends will not dissolve in it. This is why trying to wash your hands without soap after eating a greasy burger isn't very effective.

How do we solve this problem and avoid dirty hands? Soap!

The structure of soap is what makes it work. Soap molecules have two different ends on them. One end is a hydrocarbon chain which is non-polar and binds with the Bob and his friends. This end of the soap molecule is hydrophobic, meaning it is repelled by water. The other end of the soap molecule is a polar ionic end which will bind with water and polar food particles. This end is hydrophilic, meaning it's attracted to water.

The magic starts to happend when you mix soapy water with grease and dirt as you begin to wash your hands. During this, the soap molecules arrange themselves into clusters around Bob and his friends. These clusters are called micelles. The hydrophilic heads of the soap molecules form the outside of the micelle and allow it to suspend in water. The hydrophobic ends of the soap molecules trap Bob's gang in the middle of the micelle where they can't come in contact with water. With the oils trapped in the center, the micelle is soluble in water. So, as the soapy water gets washed down the drain, Bob and every other greasy bit of dirt on your hands gets washed away with it.

Magic.

So now you know, if you didn't already. Next time you're washing your hands in a public restroom, you can lean over to the stranger at the sink next to you and give them a mini chemistry lesson on the miracle that's happening in front of them. Who knows? Maybe you'll make a new friend.



Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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What To Expect For Your First Brazilian Wax

Be informed and do it right the first time!

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It's going to hurt like hell, you're going to swear to yourself you're never going to go through with it again, and that you've betrayed your razor. Just like the pain, these feelings will subside.

Before The Appointment.

First things first girl, you must let your hair grow out very long. Ideally, it should be longer than a grain of rice. Absolutely do not shave two to three weeks before since the wax will have a harder time gripping onto short hair, likely leaving it behind. When I hear Brazilian, I think bare. Hairs left behind defies the whole point of a Brazilian, so please just wait.

Next, you should exfoliate the area a day or two before your appointment. Exfoliation will remove the dead skin around the follicle, making hair removal a tad easier.

Right Before.

Now, it's the day of your long-awaited Brazilian appointment. Shower, which is self-explanatory and a nice gesture for your dignity and much appreciated from your esthetician, though do not exfoliate. That will irritate the area before the waxing even begins. It will help to take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen. Yes, it will still hurt, but it will help.

During The Wax.

During the session, relax. Your esthetician should guide you in deep breaths and knows techniques to minimize the pain.

Personally, I love going to the salon because it's like a free therapy session. You can vent and talk about anything and they'll likely listen and give you their opinion, or silently judge. They're already seeing every bit of you, so nothing seems off the table, but proceed with caution and just be yourself.

When the wax is over, they will apply a cooling crème, gel, oil, or other product to soothe the stressed skin.

After Care.

After the appointment, it's crucial to be aware that everyone's skin heals at different rates. It's also likely you will develop little white bumps from waxing. To inhibit ingrown hairs from forming, I've found that applying Thayer's witch hazel, or another witch-hazel toner without alcohol helps the healing process immensely. Then, top it with a hydrocortisone cream. It helps with redness and swelling. If you don't have witch hazel, that's perfectly fine. Just proceed with hydrocortisone cream and an ice pack if needed.

I'm aware that these after-care instructions make a Brazilian sound like a terrible self-inflicted experience, but I can assure you'll be going back for more. After the bumps subside, you will love the smooth skin, the ability to hit the pool without the worry of "Did I shave?" In a way, I'd compare the experience to giving birth, but way less painful. Yes, it hurts, but women are strong. They become pros at childbirth, and soon, you'll become a pro at Brazilians.

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