Why MELT and POUR?

Why Melt and Pour? (as know as hot process method)

Glycerin soap is often transparent, with ribbons of bright color and a nice slippery feel. Cold process soap is always opaque, usually with more natural color and a creamy, often rich, lather. Beneath physical appearances, what really is the difference?

Cold Process Soap
Cold process soap is also sometimes called Lye Soap. It is created by mixing lye & water with fats & oils, then mixed briskly. The lye reacts chemically with the oil mixture in a process called saponification, meaning to turn into soap. The batch is said to have reached light trace when it reaches a pudding-like state in which the spoon leaves a brief trail. When trace is reached, scents, colorants and exfoliants can be added. The mixture is stirred more and then poured into molds. The batch continues to heat and complete saponifying in the molds. In 24-48 hours, the soap can be turned out of the molds and sliced into bars. The bars then must cure for about a month before they can be used. This allows the bars to harden, making them last longer, and ensures that the bar has completed the chemical process.

If the ratio of lye to oils is too high, then the soap will be what is called lye heavy. Lye heavy soap is generally crumbly and cannot be used on skin because it will cause a chemical burn. If the ratio of lye to oils is too low, the soap is said to be superfatted. Some of the oil stays in the soap, unmodified by lye. While it is generally a good practice to superfat soap (usually 3-7%) to ensure that no lye is ever left in the soap; too much and the soap will be greasy and have a drastically shortened shelf life.

One of the reasons that fewer people make cold process soap than melt and pour soap is the fact that lye is a very dangerous substance. It’s very important not to get lye on your skin when making soap, and you must use containers and utensils that are reserved exclusively for your soap-making projects. It can eat through metals and damage surfaces. And if not mixed properly, lye can explode.

Melt and pour soap is a good way to get started in soap making, and it allows some flexibility in the finished product. Furthermore you can make your soap to be unique or have a specific combination of ingredients like cold process soap. Either method can be used to produce beautiful, sweet smelling soaps for yourself, to give as gifts, or to sell.