Just as there are countless methods for doing all types of activities there are certainly different methods to employ when making soap. Using the cold process soap method is one of the four soap making methods. To add to the many choices involved when considering a soap making project, there are thousands of cold soap recipes. The number of available resources is endless and can be overwhelming.
Add to the fact that the cold soap process is certainly a method that cannot be hurried and the confusion about which method to use can multiply. Before you throw up your hands in dismay, remember that for nearly every subject there is usually a variety of experts. One person may tell you that the pour and mold method of soap making is superior to the cold soap process. Others may tell you that it depends entirely on the type of soap you wish to make. However, many soap experts will tell you that the “purest” form of soap making is the cold soap process.
Once mastered, the cold soap process is remarkably simple as it calls only for the combination of lye, oils, some patience and time. The endless combinations that can be employed by varying the oils also make this a favored method for the purists and those who enjoy the challenge of creating countless soap variations. Because the time needed for the saponification process (the melding together of the oils and the lye) the cold soap making process is similar to the aging process of a fine wine. Time is necessary for a truly superior product. Additionally the long “cure” time required produces a very long lasting and exceptionally high quality product.
Cold Process soapmaking is the act of mixing fixed oils (common oils include Olive, Coconut and Palm) with an alkali (Sodium Hydroxide or Lye). The result is a chemical process called saponification, where the composition of the oils change with the help of the lye to create a bar of soap. One of the main benefits of cold process soapmaking is having complete control over ingredients. Depending on the ingredients you use, cold process soapmaking typically yields a long-lasting bar of soap. A downfall is that due to the chemical process, there are serious safety considerations to take into account and not all fragrance oils, essential oils, and colorants survive in cold process, thus limiting design options. Plus, patience is a virtue as this process involves a 4-6 week curing time.
If you want to utilize the most basic yet most versatile form of soap making this is definitely the method for you.
You will need the following equipment for the cold process method:
- Rubber Gloves
- Plastic Goggles
- Surgical Mask
- Stick Blender
- Candy or Oil Thermometer
- Tupperware Measuring Pitcher (with a lip for pouring, and a lid)
- Heat-Proof Stirring Spoons
- Measuring Cups & Measuring Spoons
- 1 Large Microwaveable Bowl
- 1 Small Bowl
- Electric Scale that measures ounces and grams
- Soap Mold(s)