Cold process soap is the second most popular way to make your own soap. To make cold process soap you combine oils with caustics (usually lye). Other additives can be added late in the process. While this is a popular choice for soap making, there are pros and cons to this process.
What Makes Cold Process Soap Cold?
Soap is actually made by combining oils or fats with caustics. A chemical reaction then happens to create the soap. To make cold process soap you must first melt your oils and fats. Then add your lye to water. The lye will warm the water and the oils will need to cool. When both are about 110 degrees Farinheit you will gently pour the lye into the oils and fats. You must then stir and stir until the soap begins to form thickening the mix. This differs from hot process soap that is cooked for hours after adding the lye to the oils.
Pros of Making Cold Process Soap
The first thing that makes cold process soap popular is that the process takes only about an hour from starting to melt your oils and fats to pouring the product into your molds. Hot process soap takes about six hours to cook. This means keeping an eye on it and stirring frequently.
Cold process soap cools dramatically before thickening up completely. This allows it to be gentler to fragrances and other additives. It will smell better and use less product to achieve that smell.
Cons of Making Cold Process Soap
The biggest con for making cold process soap is that it isn’t really done once your remove the soap from the mold. The soap will still take four to six weeks to finish the chemical change. If it is used before it is done curing it will burn the skin because the lye will still be present. This is a long time to wait if making a gift, for selling the product, and for general use. It can also take up a lot of space if you are making a lot of it.
Cold process soap can smell great, can have an amazing texture, and can make some amazing soap. However, there are pros and cons to other processes as well and one must take consideration when making their own soap. Cold process soap may be for you or you make prefer hot process soap. You can even use one now and another at another time!