When it comes to making soap, there are many different methods you can try. Which one you pick depends on how long you have and how much money you are willing to spend on equipment, as some approaches require a lot more time and effort than others. Here’s a quick guide to help you make a decision., and don’t forget to check out p.48 of issue 16 to find out exactly what you’ll need to get started:
Melt and Pour Soap
Glycerin Soap is commonly used to refer to clear soap. Generally, the clear soap has extra glycerin added to it to produce a very nourishing, moisturising bar. Clear soap base can be purchased in large blocks to be melted down, coloured and fragranced, and placed into molds (or used to make loaves of soap to be sliced). This type of soap is called “Melt and Pour” and the artistry of melt and pour is called “Soap Casting.” Melt and Pour soap making is rising in popularity because of its ease of use. There are no significant safety measures (other than basic common sense) needed for soapcasting, and even kids can have a go.
Cold Process Soap
Cold Process soap is made by combining fatty acids and sodium hydroxide (lye) together. Fatty acids can be almost any oil – from beef tallow to olive oil to hemp oil. Cold process soapmaking is a combination of art and science. There is a certain proportion of lye (sodium hydroxide) and water to fatty acids that forms a chemical reaction called “saponifaction.” During saponification, the oils and lye mix and become soap – the process takes approximately six weeks to fully complete. This method reuires the use of lye and safety equipment, such as goggles and gloves. Please do not attempt to make cold process soap without researching the method thoroughly. Cold process soap is known for its hard, long lasting quality. Depending on the oils used, the bar can have great lather (coconut oil has excellent lathering properties), be incredibly mild (olive oil is renowned for its gentle qualities) or be very moisturizing (with the addition of oils, such as shea and cocoa butter or hemp oil).
Hot Process Soaps
Hot process soap is where you take all your ingredients, and add them to a pot that is then placed over a heat source, such as a stove, and stir frequently until the soap goes through various stages. The excess water is evaporated off and the soap is ready to use once cooled.
Rebatching is another form of cold process soapmaking. You make your cold process soap from scratch, grate it up, place it over a heat source, in a kettle, with a little liquid (water works very well), and the mixture melts down into a mushy mess that you add colorant and fragrance too. This method is often used to preserve the scent or the healing properties of some essential oils.
Find out more at teachsoap.com
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