TFM or Total Fatty Matter was traditionally used to grade soaps. TFM is a percentage of how much Fatty Matter a soap contains. On the lower spectrum you find detergents and on the higher end toilet soaps. While toilet soaps are graded among A, B, and C manufacturers in most jurisdictions are not required to state their grade. By itself, not knowing the TFM of what you’re putting on your skin should be a problem because you might be using detergents when you were sold a soap. People with sensitive skins will easily notice the difference between one soap and another. People with normal skin will tend to take longer before skin problems manifest.
So how can you identify a good soap from a bad one? Typically, the spectrum lists products in increasing order of quality: detergents come first, laundry soaps next, then bathing bars, and finally toilet soaps (Grade C, B), and at the very top toilet soap grade A. Technically, laundry soaps and bathing bars are not that far off when it comes to TFMs. A grade 1 toilet soap has a TFM over 80% and lower quality one a TFM above 60%. A bathing bar around 55%, and a laundry soap anywhere below 45%.
If you’re interested to know what you’re buying, either look for TFM on the label or try to guess by reading the ingredients. Typically, manufacturers are required to list their products by decreasing order of concentration (from the most concentrated to the least). If you read in the first 3 spots, Aqua, Sodium (under all its forms), Acids, or any ingredients you can’t pronounce, then you have a high chance of picking either a detergent or a lower quality bathing soap.
Share with us the ingredients you read, we’d love to learn more about what’s out there.