Cold Process Soap - Starting From ScratchIf making melt and pour soap is akin to using a cake mix, "cold process" is making your cake from scratch. You control everything that goes into the pot, and you can make it as "natural" as you want. However, your setup is a little more complicated, and you’ll need to learn a few techniques of the craft first.
To make cold process soap, you heat the oils in your soap pot until they’re approximately 100 degrees. Slowly add the lye-water mixture and blend the soap until it thickens to “trace”. After the mixture reaches trace, you add your fragrance, color and additives and pour it into the mold. The raw soap will take about 24 hours to harden, and about four weeks to cure before it’s ready to use.
To get started making cold process soap, you’ll need:
- A flat, uncluttered workspace with a heat source and access to water
- Some animal fats or vegetable oils
- A pitcher of lye-water
- A soap pot and some other easily found tools and equipment
- Fragrance or essential oil, as desired
- Natural or synthetic colorant, as desired
- A mold to pour the raw soap into
- A cool, dry place to let the soap cure
Pros of Cold Process Soap Making
- Your soap is truly made from scratch
- You control all of the ingredients in the soap
- You can tailor your recipe into unlimited variations
Cons of Cold Process Soap Making
- You need to learn how to safely work with lye
- You’ll need more ingredients and tools to start
- It takes longer to make and there is more cleanup involved
- You need to wait several weeks before your soap is ready to use
Whichever method you choose, you can make great soap. Work patiently, and follow the instructions closely to start with. Once you’re familiar with the basic steps, you’ll be able to let you’re creative inspirations flow and make all sorts of wonderful soap creations.
For more information about Cold Process Soapmaking, see my Cold Process Soapmaking Videos