Soap is a substance used for washing and cleansing, usually made by treating a fat with an alkali, as sodium or potassium hydroxide, and consisting chiefly of the sodium or potassium salts of the acids contained in the fat.
What is the difference between Cold Process v Melt & Pour?
There are a few methods of soap making but Cold Process and Melt & Pour are probably the most common, but what are the differences. Each method has both positives and negatives depending on the result you require.
Cold process is a manner of making soap from scratch. You have complete control over your base ingredients. By combining different types of oil (commonly coconut, olive or palm oil) with lye (sodium hydroxide) to make, what many consider to be, true natural soap. You do have to be careful to use the correct quantities or you may otherwise end up with mess of oily gloop or soap that is unusable. There are also serious safety issues to consider because of the chemical process. Not all essential oils and fragrances or colourants survive in cold process- testing is often needed beforehand.
It is still possible to have a bit of fun with cold process soap. You just need to be organised and understand what can and can’t be achieved. You also however must be a bit careful about the moulds you are using. Silicone and wood are more commonly used as it is easier to release the soap from them. After the soap has initially hardened (usually within 24/48hrs) it can be cut to the desired size, and then a further 4-6 weeks for the soap to fully cure, giving it longevity.
Melt & Pour
This is becoming more popular as a soap making method. Melt & Pour is a pre-made soap base that means you have not had to go through the process getting lots of equipment, buying ingredients, making everything from scratch and waiting weeks for the soap to cure. However, you are not truly in control of all the ingredients that have gone into making the soap. Anyone else can buy the same pre-made soap base and make a very similar soap bar.
It is easy to melt down and add colour, fragrance or essential oils and other ingredients. All sorts of things can be used as moulds and Melt & Pour soap can be removed from moulds a little bit easier. You can also have lots of fun embedding smaller bits of coloured soap into larger bars as it hardens quickly and doesn’t need curing, which also means that it can be used straight away.
It comes down to personal preference, but with both methods various techniques can be achieved, the fun part is experimenting!
For all soap making ingredients and supplies: www.thesoapkitchen.co.uk
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