Types of soap

Tuesday, June 23, 2009 |

There are a number of ways soap is created by hand...here are a rundown of the most popular techniques:

Cold Process
als fruit stand

Al's Fruit Stand by Metropolis

Cold Process is the method that is most popular by seasoned soapers. It involves using lye and a combination of oils and fats to create the process of Saponification, or turning the oils into soap! The fresh soap must cure for a period of 4-6 weeks before being used safely. This method allows for a number of artistic designs and can be vegan or use tallow and/or lard.

Hot Process

Tangerine Pomegranate Soap by Soapy Blessings

Hot Process is the oldest method of soap, dating back to the middle ages! It involves using lye and a combination of oils and fats, but unlike Cold Process it involves using heat to speed up saponification, usually resulting in ready-to-use soap! It has a different texture than Cold Process because the soap solidifies so quickly that it usually has to be "glopped" into the molds. This method is a little less giving than cold process, but some have been able to create beautiful artisan soaps using Hot Process.

Melt and Pour

Floating Dots Soap by Soapy Love

Melt and Pour is created by melting down a soap-like base, adding colorants and additives, then pouring into molds. The soap is usually ready to use as soon as it cools. Melt and Pour is usually how a lot of artisans get into soap-making because it's very easy to use. It is great for starters but there are some really advanced techniques that lend to some highly advanced artistic soaps.

Whipped Soap

Lemon Sugar Creme Soap by Cozy Moments

Whipped soap, like melt and pour, comes from a base and involves adding coloring and fragrance then glopping into containers. Whipped soap is pretty fun and there are some great layering techniques that can be used.

Liquid Soap

Spring Blossom Liquid Soap by Vibrant Naturals

Handmade Liquid Soap can be created either from a base like Melt and Pour, or from a process similar to Cold Process soaps involving oils and a form of lye called Potassium Hydroxide. Since it's liquid it has little give for artistic variations, but it can be colored and fragranced.

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An obsession with all of the bath and beauty products out there, we will catalogue and display the amazing work soap artisans are doing out there (and maybe show some soapwrecks? One can only hope!).