When I first started in the soap biz, I started out with Melt & Pour, like most beginners do. When I learned of the CP way of making soap, I was immediately turned off by the idea of putting lye into something that came in contact with my skin. I was actually telling my co-workers/customers that I made 'soap with no lye'. Foolish me, didn't quite understand the concept of saponification and that technically, I had been putting 'lye' on my skin for years! With no lye, there is NO SOAP! Lye is needed in order for the process of saponification to take place. What is saponification you ask? Saponification is the chemical process that produces soap from fatty acid derivatives. Combine the precise amounts of lye, water, and animal/vegetable fats and viola, you have soap!
I eventually got over my fear of lye once I had an understanding of how the whole process worked. Besides, I wanted to create more natural products, and starting from scratch is the best way to achieve natural in my opinion! Will I abandon my M&P process? No. After all, you can be more creative with the M&P process. I'll just switch over to an all natural 'base'.