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How Cold Process Soap is Made

Cal Petrusma

We only use the Cold Process method to make soap. So called because there is no external heat added to the process. (There's plenty of heat created tho' - this is an exothermic chemical reaction which means it produces its own heat!) Below are some progress shots of the making of the Spa Day Facial Soap. This soap contains only natural products.

The soapmaker & the photographer are the same person here, so no action shots as I couldn't figure out how to mix without dropping the camera into the soap!

First - we melt any solid oils

First - we melt any solid oils

Here are all the elements ready to go - the lye water, all the oils, & the additives. In this case an essential oil blend, sea clay & chlorella powder.

Here are all the elements ready to go - the lye water, all the oils, & the additives. In this case an essential oil blend, sea clay & chlorella powder.

The lye water & oils mixed together. They are mixed & blended until they emulsify, or thoroughly mix together with no chance of separation. This can take a few seconds to a minute or two depending on the blend & the weather conditions that day. (Side note: I also think it's dependent on how the soap gods feel, as it can seem pretty random sometimes!)

The lye water & oils mixed together. They are mixed & blended until they emulsify, or thoroughly mix together with no chance of separation. This can take a few seconds to a minute or two depending on the blend & the weather conditions that day. (Side note: I also think it's dependent on how the soap gods feel, as it can seem pretty random sometimes!)

The batter is nicely at 'trace' (Technical term that means the thickness of the soap batter, so it can be thin, medium or thick). The essential oil blend is already mixed in & the other additives about to be stirred in.

The batter is nicely at 'trace' (Technical term that means the thickness of the soap batter, so it can be thin, medium or thick). The essential oil blend is already mixed in & the other additives about to be stirred in.

All nicely blended in.

All nicely blended in.

In the mould, ready to be tucked up into bed, to turn into soap over the next 24 hours! The process the batter goes thru' is called saponification. This generates lots of heat so the soap gets pretty hot during this time and often the soap will 'gel' or turn gelatinous. This doesn't harm or help the soap in any way, except the colours will often brighten because of gel phase.

In the mould, ready to be tucked up into bed, to turn into soap over the next 24 hours! The process the batter goes thru' is called saponification. This generates lots of heat so the soap gets pretty hot during this time and often the soap will 'gel' or turn gelatinous. This doesn't harm or help the soap in any way, except the colours will often brighten because of gel phase.

Here are 2 soaps fresh out of the mould ready to be cut. (Not the soap I just made. I'm too impatient to wait for that one)

Here are 2 soaps fresh out of the mould ready to be cut. (Not the soap I just made. I'm too impatient to wait for that one)

Being cut. Then the bars sit around for about 6 weeks 'curing' until they are ready to be used. The curing time is important to get the soap as hard as possible so it lasts as long as possible. This soap is called Gentle Whispers & will be ready for purchase in a few weeks.

Being cut. Then the bars sit around for about 6 weeks 'curing' until they are ready to be used. The curing time is important to get the soap as hard as possible so it lasts as long as possible. This soap is called Gentle Whispers & will be ready for purchase in a few weeks.

So that is the basic process. Making soap the old fashioned way calls for lots of patience (which I don't have), waiting the first 24 hours until I can unmould it, and then having to wait another 4 weeks until I can try it! (I never can wait the full 6 weeks).

Hope you enjoyed this little look into the life of soap :-)

Cal