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I completed my M.Sc. Organic Chemistry course at BHU, Varnasi in 1966. Between 1967 to 1969, I was at IIM, Ahmedabad, doing the post graduate diploma course in Business Administration - now popularly known as MBA. Marketing was my major area of study. I am a Hair Scientist since 1991
Some of the practices mentioned in some chapters of my book / this page are never taught in IIM or normally, in any Educational Institute. The Supreme Court had ruled that "the object is to bring honesty and truth in the relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer" - this is routinely violated with impunity. No one is ashamed. I may be silenced or face some difficulty for my critical views against companies whose combined sales would exceed 200 Billion Dollars. It does not matter.
Toilet Soaps - Deliberate lowering of the Quality
This page is based on Published Details. It provides the proof that the Soap makers Association / members have ‘breached the Trust’ that the Public placed on them.
Risking the skin
Toilet / bath soaps are meant for cleaning the outer layer / epidermis of the skin. Skin is the valuable protective cover for the inner organs of the body. It gives us the shape. We know how attractive we would otherwise be with x rays.
If manufacturers can roughen up our skins and get away with it, what stops them from fiddling with our hair too and make undeserved income. Can the Public trust such cheap companies ? No
Toilet bars, an inferior version of Toilet Soaps, are sold more in India after 1993
Why or how can we trust them or their other products?
Hindustan Unilever lowered the TFM of some high volume soaps - refer below
From Business World, 1993
Brands of Lever
TFM % in 1985
TFM % in 1993
Percentage drop in TFM /
Are not the buyers, who trusted these brands / company were short changed? Lever should know that it can affect the skins of the Users. If yes, it is cheating in a way. If not, why not convey the reduction?
The members of the Indian Soap Manufacturers Association are all guilty as per the details in this page. Renaming the inferior quality Soaps as 'Toilet Bars' does not absolve them of their responsiblity.
The BIS acts dumb. And lowers the standards / pleads helpnesses for sales of Toilet Bars. The perfidy continues for 20 years now. No one is ashamed.
Toilet Bars are inferior in Quality – Godrej accepts that
Proof: 'Godrej Soaps has always believed in providing its consumers with high quality products. The company has taken a conscious decision to manufacture & market only high TFM toilet soaps as against low TFM bathing bars which are being marketed by many FMCG companies in the Indian market'... [Godrej's website News release dated 16-9-1999]
[Dr. Godrej was the chairman of the Association in 1993. Godrej was part of the association / toilet bar brigade in 1992.]
Companies like Hindustan Unilever, Nirma, ITC and so on, make Toilet Bars. If a Company dupes me with an inferior soap, would I trust him on shampoo? No. It is your hair, your decision
What is a Soap?
Toilet Soap is the reaction product of a vegetable oil / glyceryl fatty acids, like coconut oil or olive and caustic Potash / alkali - roughly 5 kgs of oil reacted with one kg of caustic gives Soap / Potassium salt of a long chain Fatty Acid.
Oil is 5 part to 1 one part of Alkali. That is, Oil / Total fatty matter / TFM is about 83%.
Soap is a surfactant / emulsifying agent / anionic agent, helping oil to mix with water and make it water dispersible / washable. When we wash our face / cloth, dirt gets dispersed in water. Other solid substitute / cheap extenders in Soaps are clay, carbonates, silicate, talc and such other cheap fillers to give body and hardness. Mutton Tallow was a cheap and convenient additive to oils in earlier days.
Glycerin is a by product in Soap manufacture. It is a Moistursing agent / water holding chemical. It will lower the alkalinity and improve the transparency of the soap. Normally, Soap makers sell Glycerin separately. This sales, reduces the basic cost in soap making.
Emolliency / suppleness
Emolliency means the ability to soften, supple, smooth, lubricate, less itchy, etc. Vegetable Oils are very good Emollients. Low TFM means the emolliency is compromised
Oil and Fat mean one and the same thing chemically. What is solid at 20* Centigrade temperature is called Fat and if it is liquid, it is Oil. [oil means vegetable oil and not crude / petroleum derivatives]
Desirable Toilet Soap Standard
Business World 30-6-93 to 13-7-93 page 82 'Froth without Substance’
1. "if the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) implements its norms, nearly 80% of the Soaps produced in the country each year [3.8 lakhs tonnes in 1992] would be declared Substandard and fail to qualify as Toilet Soap.".... [Business World, July 1993]. Why norms and standards if you cannot implement / enforce them?
2. "Even today, Soaps exported to Russia must have at least 80% Total Fatty matter"...
And a Fall even from that level is toilet bars
Bathing and Toilet soap has to mean one and the same thing because the desired end use is the same. The Soap makers and BIS colluded to fool the Public.
Major Player leads in Cheapening Quality - Lever downs the TFM, others may have followed the lead
Hindustan Lever had 40% share of the Toilet Soap market. That is, they have let down 60 crores Indians deliberately. Want to give them a Medal?
Dove is a bathing bar. Check the label. Dove used to be advertised on TV in 1996 and 1997 as high quality soap. Dove used to be imported from Dubai also. Bombay Customs stopped one consignment and demanded 'higher duty applicable to Cosmetics items'. Lever confessed to the Customs department that Dove is a Toilet bar, convinced them and paid lesser duty to clear the consignment.
Are they not guilty of wrongly informing the Public on TV that Dove is a high quality Toilet Soap? Lie blatantly in public and confess the Truth in private? Duty case details will be with Bombay customs and not relevant now / here
Source: Page 162 of Business India, dated July 28 to August 10, 1997:
"Rexona is toilet soap, but the small print on Hamam's packaging proclaims that it is a "Bathing Bar". Hindustan Lever, which makes both brands, uses vegetable oils to make Rexona"
Synthetic oils are not permitted in the manufacture of bathing soaps, according to the Drugs & Cosmetics Act. In Hamam, however synthetic oils (which de-grease the skin / mineral oil) are used. It is a violation of the act.
Hamam: extravagant / unproven claim.
On 27th November 2012, I heard in passing that 'Dermatologists recommend Hamam' for pimple cure / prevention or something similar - If true, they should get Noble prize. Allopathy does not offer a simple cure for Acne / Pimples.
Dubious Double Standards by HLL in my view
1. I think Lever prevented Dettol Soap from using Red colour in their wrapper. Their argument before the Court was Lifebuoy has immense appeal amongst the Public and Red is associated with Lifebuoy. Court accepted the argument. Read it again. People trust even their colour. But Lever acts cheap and lets the public down
2. Lever prevented Ariel from using the term 'based on Natural products'. It was a false claim by P & G. Lever said in Madras High Court that they are misleading the Public with these phrases
Should not Hindustan Lever, as the largest Soap maker in India, set a Quality benchmark for themselves first?
The Shocking Reality – where are the Regulating Authorities?
Business World 30-6-93 to 13-7-93 page 82 'Froth without Substance’
." Most brands of Toilet Soap contain less 'Soap' than five years ago and instead use more Detergent and other substances like Clay and Talc. ......... [Detergents are not supposed to be used in toilet soaps.]
'Surprisingly however the 1800 Crores Toilet Soap industry is not worried. The reason is that the same BIS Technical Committee which set the earlier norms also provided manufacturers a loop-hole in September last year  when it created a new category of Soap called 'bathing bars' [ wonderful, is it not ?]
Why thieves cannot set a new standard for their activities like these companies who faced no punishments?
In March this year , the Health Ministry issued a Gazette notification making the quality norms mandatory for Toilet Soap manufacturers under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act. A final notification is expected soon.
Corporate Ethics – Hindustan Lever’s ex Chairman’s preaching
Shri Prakash Tandon - first Indian Chairman of Hindustan Unilever in India - Convocation address - IIM, Ahmedabad, 1969.
In Business and in Life, there would always be occasions for Hard Choices and Soft options. One should go for hard choices if it is ethical and socially beneficial - recollection from memory, in my words.
Where is Corporate Ethics / Shame / Responsiblity to Society, when you back stab them with Toilet Bars
Who will come to your aid ? Present recourse - handkerchief and head ache pills.
Sunlight and Lifebuoy Soap around 1958 – what a fall?
I used to buy Sunlight Soap in 1957-58 for 25 paise for washing my clothes. I think it used to be 100 gms. There will be a clear message, on the inside of the wrapper, which would say something like this "Sunlight Soap is made out of safe ingredients. Rs 5000/- reward will be given to anyone who finds something harmful in the soap". [The soap will be soft. Just with fingers, you can separate out a small part.]
Sunlight Soap was a washing soap. It would easily remove coffee and other stains on clothes - from eatables. Now in 2010, I cannot remove the routine stains with the so called quality / high priced detergents of Lever and P&G. The stain does not vanish with an extra additive. Occasionally, when I have the inclination, I use 'special chemicals' for stain removal.
Lifebuoy was my Toilet Soap from 1952 to 1969. The above message of Lever may have been in Lifebuoy. I do not use any of Lever's soaps after reading the Business World's article.
The term 'bar' was used for Tata Oil Mills 501 washing soap. It really used to come as a bar [say 10 soaps] without any outside wrapper. Shop keeper would cut a piece with butter knife. They were all soft, vegetable Oil based soaps at that time. Det of Swastik Oil Mills was the first detergent in India in 1959 / 1960. After that came Rinso from Lever, followed by Surf.
Law of the Land – differs for the rich and powerful?
The Supreme Court had ruled that ”the object is to bring honesty and truth in the relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer". And "if the general impression conveyed is false, the most punctilious and scrupulous accuracy in immaterial minutiae will not render the representations true"
Firms pass on Sub-standard Soaps to buyers - Times of India / PTI Jan 21, 2003, 07.35pm IST NEW DELHI:
Look at the heading. It is a news report put out PTI / Press Trust of India and given to all their subscribers - the newspapers and magazines. Nothing has changed in 10 years.
1. Crores of gullible consumers, nationwide appear to have been taken for a ride by leading soap manufacturers, with a study revealing that most brands are underweight [offence under weights and measurements act] and fatty content is less than declared.
2. Total fatty matter (TFM) in soaps is much less than declared, some like Lux did not even declare it, most branded soaps are underweight, bathing bars are unknowingly purchased as toilet soaps, comprehensive tests revealed here.
3. Hamam, Pears Oil Control, Lifebuoy Gold, Lifebuoy International, Santoor and Rexona are all 'bathing bars', not toilet soaps which have higher TFM, a survey by Voluntary Organisation in Interest of Consumer Education (VOICE) said.
'Lux', the most popular of all soap brands, stood fourth in the ranking of 12 brands, .....tests released today by Consumer Affairs Minister Sharad Yadav.
4. The survey revealed that quality of a 'swadeshi' soap Margo is much better than those brands manufactured by MNCs. Godrej All Care and Margo got first and second rank respectively. [I have used Margo from1961 to 1964 for the face - because of pimples.]
5. Even though it is mandatory for toilet soaps to declare their TFM content, the most important quality indicator for a soap, Lux did not declare it at all [ what action was taken ? ]
6. While Nirma Sandal and Chandrika claimed to have it more than was found in tests conducted by VOICE. It revealed that all the 12 brands in the 75 grams, 100 grams and 150 grams were underweight and many even crossed the three per cent tolerance limit prescribed by authorities. Those with weight below tolerance limit included Godrej All Care, Liril, Palmolive and Cinthol. [ under weight product sales is cheating in simple terms ]
7. Higher TFM ensures that soaps are least harmful to the skin and do not cause dryness, yet the actual content in Liril was only 72 per cent against the declared 77.5 per cent, in Godrej All Care it was 76 per cent against the claimed 82.5 per cent.
The percentage of fillers like talc is higher in bathing bars. They use detergents as bases and minimum TFM content is only 40 per cent.
Prostitutes renting the Flesh are said to be engaged in immoral trade
Where is Morality in this flesh cleaning trade?
We have to deal with cheap hypocrites in high podiums
[some soap makers also sell Shampoos. Soaps are for cleaning the outside skin. Now you know the fall in standards. Shampoo goes to the hair roots - sub cutis level. If the content is as good as the outer packing and shouts, hair loss and dandruff should have left the World at least about 70 years back.
On the contrary, they have only further worsened. This glaring market fact, a testimony to the shallowness, is overlooked by many. ]
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|Personal website of R. Ranganathan M.Sc., [ MBA - IIMA] Main / original content: around 2002: last minor modification, June 23, 2014|