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Cold process vs. hot process soap: which is better?

Soap making is a very delicate art, one that is both incredibly time-consuming and very rewarding. Not many people know that the trick to nailing this craft is through numerous techniques. This article explores why cold process soap is more beneficial to hot alternatives and why.

The difference between the two

There are two main soap making techniques: cold and hot process. Each of these has individual pros and cons that are important to consider when deciding which method to opt for. The main factors that distinguish the two are time, heat, and the product’s final appearance – which obviously makes all the difference if you’re planning on selling them.

The main ingredients universal to this craft are a lye solution and oils. A lye solution consists of water, sodium hydroxide, and optional additives such as silk and salt. Meanwhile, oil mixtures are made through melting fats and combining these with an assortment of oils.

A cold process soap is made by combining lye and oils at a similar temperature. They are then mixed, and this product is poured into a mould. They are generally made with oils in a liquid form.

The defining feature of cold variants is that there is no additional heat transferred to aid the saponification sage). This means that the overall method takes 18 to 48 hours to complete. Unfortunately, this lengthy method can be a downside to many.

On the other hand, hot process soap involves external heat when crafting the product. This causes a reaction that speeds up saponification, which significantly reduces the time taken to only two hours. The additives are then added after the gel phase, whereas they are added simultaneously in the cold technique.

Another feature that differentiates the two is the final look. Cold process soaps have the bonus of having a smooth, silky finish. On the other hand, hot ones are much rougher. A bonus of including the additives during the cooking stage (done in the cold method) is that the end product is much smoother. On top of this, adding designs and swirls is much easier when making cold variants, as these designs can be created before pouring the batter into the moulds. This can still be done with hot process soap; however, it is much more difficult.

Is cold or hot process soap better for your skin?

There is no singular answer to this since the technique you use can ultimately be tailored to include whatever ingredients you want. If you use natural ingredients to make these products, you’ll end up with many benefits. This will mean that it is much better for your skin, eliminating the risk of including unhealthy additives and chemicals.

However, it’s important to note that there’s no easy way to dictate which one is better as a hard and fast rule; everyone’s tastes are different. We recommend testing out a few variations to see how your skin reacts to the product, and what result you see after usage. Remember that your individual skin type will change how the soap works with your body, so it’s important to note any irritation or other symptoms. If a specific product does create issues, it’s crucial to stop using it immediately.

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