The Difference between Hot Process and Cold Process Soaps

The Difference between Hot Process and Cold Process Soaps

There are two basic ways to make solid bar soap; hot process or cold process.  The difference include using external heat, the time it takes to saponify, curing time and the finish of the soap. External Heat and Saponification Time Cold process soaps uses the exothermic heat reaction that is created from the acid and base reaction of the fatty acids (soap making oils ) and the lye solution. When making cold process soaps you may have initially melted your solid oils down to a liquid form so that you can adequately mix the lye solution with the soap recipe fatty acids. No additional heat is used to actually facilitate the saponification process. Saponification takes about 18 to 24 hours to complete. With hot process soap making an external heat source is used to accelerate saponification. The external heat source can be a crock pot, a double boiler or the oven. Saponification will be complete in approximately 2 hours. Cure Time Soaps made using the cold process method take about three to four weeks to cure. This of course depends on where you live. If you live in a region where the humidity is very low such as Colorado it could take your soaps one to two weeks to cure. If the soaps were made using the hot process method one week of cure time is sufficient. Aesthetics  Another difference between the two methods is how the soaps look. Cold process soaps have a more smooth finish to them. Whereas, hot process soaps have a more textured rustic finish to them. This is due to when the additives are...
The Why of Curing Soap

The Why of Curing Soap

The one pressing question that new students want to know about soap making is if they really have to wait four to six weeks before they can use their soaps.  In their faces and voice I can tell that they don’t want to wait so long to use their soaps and I fully understand how they feel. So why does soap need to cure anyway? There are a few reasons why this step is necessary. Reason # 1: Evaporation of the excess water Water is necessary to make soap but the extra water in the soap is not needed. We all desire a hard bar of soap. Your soaps will not dissolve as easily once most of the water evaporates. Reason # 2: The soap get’s better with time Soap is like wine it get’s better with time. As it ages saponification has a chance to complete. Yes, a majority of saponification has happened within the first 24 hours but after you unmold and cut your soap there are some saponification left and this will happen during the cure time. This makes the soap milder and of course luxurious on the skin. Reason # 3: Richer Lather The lather factor of the soap will be better. Your soaps will lather instantly after you make your soap of course but you will find that soaps that you use six months after curing will lather quickly and last longer. So the purpose of curing is a necessary torture to age the soap so it can perform at it’s highest potential. We craft beautiful handmade soaps that we sell to the public. Use...
The Art, Beauty and Chemistry of Soap Making

The Art, Beauty and Chemistry of Soap Making

For me soap making encompasses three things; art, beauty and chemistry.  I tell my soap making students that they can use soap making as a creative medium. It is a way for them to express their own personal styles and preferences into each wonder batch of soap they make. A piece of them is in each bar of soap they create. From the most simplified to the most exquisite, each bar of soap is beautiful. That is why all my students can do a swirl soap and each one will look different event when using the same colors. As for the beauty of soap making, you can choose different vegetable or animal fats based on what they will do for the soap as well as for the skin. If you want a more moisturizing soap you may choose to formulate a Bastille soap which has a least 70% olive oil in the soap. The options are limitless with all the awesome oils to formulate with. Not only do we have the oils but you can choose herbs, clays, essential oils all for the wonderful benefits they contribute to the beauty of our skin. Lastly chemistry, for me when I made my first batch of cold process soap I was amazed at the transformation of the vegetable oils being converted over to soap. Once I saw what happens when an alkali and an acid mix to create soap I was hooked. Some people think, “Oh, it’s just soap,” but for me it is more. It is tool for creative expression which includes love and thought into the final soap that...
Titanium Dioxide: Water or Oil

Titanium Dioxide: Water or Oil

  In order to make your soaps whiter you will need to add titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is a natural pigment sourced from rutile, anatase, and brookite minerals.  To make your soap colors brighter you can add the titanium dioxide to the soap base before adding in the colorant. Titanium dioxide mainly comes in a powdered form and needs to be diluted before mixing the soap making ingredients. There are a couple of ways to add the titanium dioxide which mainly depends on which type of titanium dioxide you are using. If you are using the water dispersable titanium dioxide you will need to add it to water. In soap making you will add it to your lye water solution. If you are using the oil dispersable titanium dioxide you can add it to your soap making oils and mix in the pigment using the stick blender. This will help break up the powdered pigment so that it will disperse into the oils. The main reason for dispersing the titanium dioxide in either water or oil is that if the powdered titanium dioxide is added directly to the soap making base it most likely won’t disperse well and there will be white clumps and streaks in your soap when you go to cut it after unmolding it. If you are interested in purchasing titanium dioxide you can purchase it from the following suppliers: Brambleberry From Nature with Love Wholesale Supplies...
Soap Making Safety: Respiratory Protection

Soap Making Safety: Respiratory Protection

Lye is the one ingredient in soap making we don’t want to play around with. It is a caustic soda which means it has a high pH of 12 and can burn certain materials when in contact; especially our skin. When handling lye to create awesome soap there are a few things to keep in mind. If these things are followed your soap making experience should be a safe one. Use of proper soap making equipment The only metal that lye will not react to is stainless steel. You can use plastic or silicone equipment but when it comes to metal stainless steel only. This would can include your soap pot, slotted spoon and stick blender shaft. Mixing the lye with water properly The golden rule of making your lye water is pour your lye into your water and never water into lye. Lye loves water. It even loves the water in the air. Using the proper protective gear There are a few things you can wear that will help protect you from any contact with the lye. Be sure to cover your hands since this will have the most exposure to the lye. You want to have on gloves that go past your wrists if at all possible. Wear a long sleeve shirt. This helps with protecting the wrists and forearm. Wear a mask. Some wear the dust mask and others get the heavy duty makes that handle fumes. Choosing to wear the heavy duty mask may be because you want to go all out for safety and you should. But you also may choose it because you...
The Good Side of Hearing No

The Good Side of Hearing No

Confidence is a belief in one’s self. Often this belief is not one that an entrepreneur possesses when it comes to their business. They believe they have a great product or service but when it comes to marketing their businesses confidence often times hides it’s pretty face. It is no wonder our confidence is low. We live in a society where no is a negative thing. If someone tells us no when we want to hear yes it makes us upset and is not a good feeling. So, when we start our businesses we now have to sell our product or service to strangers. It could be an individual or a company that we desire as a new customer. We want them to see our product and immediately make a purchase because we know they will be extremely happy with our great product. But what happens when we hear that no. Or if you heard what I used to hear when I vendored “I’ll be back.” No you are not Arnold Schwarzenegger!! You won’t be back. Hear this statement or a hard no can be devastating especially for a new business. But even if you have been in business for a few years you want to grow your business and you are looking for growth opportunities. As you begin taking a leap of faith and approach a potential wholesale customer go with the confidence that your product is the bomb.com. Have your presentation tight. When you follow up with the potential wholesaler hopefully you will hear the melodic sounds of harps as they decide they want to place an order....
Taking a Bite Out of Soap Not Crime

Taking a Bite Out of Soap Not Crime

Well, if this has not happened to you in your soap making journey then please tell me the secret. There has to be one person whether they were a customer or a friend who has eaten a piece of your soap thinking that it was food. It is a sign that the body cleansing items we make are definitely appealing to the eyes but believe me if ingested it is not tasty at all! Blah!! One incident I clearly remember was it was during the grand opening of one of our stockists, Pooka. We thought it would be cool to have soap sample slices for the customers to try after they used the scrub bar. Well, one of the attendees saw people going over and cutting pieces of soap throughout the day. They thought they go over and cut a piece for themselves and sample the soap slivers that resembled pieces of cheese! Let’s just say, they quickly found out that it was not cheese but soap and had to excuse themselves quickly to get the not so tasty soap out of their mouths. This was definitely one to remember and now laugh about. Recently one of my students sent me an email about the soaps she made during class. She cut them into squares and mailed some to relatives out of state. They informed her that she should write the word “Soap” on things that smell sweet and look like candy. Someone accidentally took a bite. I have heard many funny stories about customers thinking the soap displayed on their vendor tables were samples cakes and desserts where...
Top 5 Soapmaking Books for Beginners

Top 5 Soapmaking Books for Beginners

When I first started making soap back in 2002 I purchased books from the mothers and fathers of soapmaking. I believe every soapmaker should have a collection of books for different soap makers. There are various theories that will remain consistent among soap makers but there are some unique tips, tricks and techniquest that will vary from each soap maker. You can learn from every soap maker some new. To this day I still go back and review those books whether it is recipes, formulation or help with troubleshooting Here is my list of soap making books that will always remain in my soap book library: The Soapmaker’s Companion by Susan Cavitch – One of my all time favorites. It’s a keeper. Essentially Soap by Dr. Robert S. McDaniel – Love the FAQ’s scattered throughout the book! The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grosso – The layout is simple and easy to read full of recipes. Soap Naturally by Patrizia Garzena and Marina Tadiello – Australian soap makers. Cool to have a different perspective of soap making from another country. Scientific Soapmaking by Kevin M. Dunn – though this book is not a soap making books with recipes it is a go to book if you want to learn the chemistry of soap making. It takes a bit to digest so I do suggest that you find a section you want to learn more about and read it in pieces. This way if you don’t understand the concept you can go back and read the previous section so it will make sense. So here is my list. What soap making...
SoapCamp Teacher Spotlight: Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking

SoapCamp Teacher Spotlight: Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking

In a nutshell, what is your current role/position at Modern Soapmaking?  Jane of All Trades. 😉 Like most of my clients and soapmakers in the industry, I’m also a solo-entrepreneur. I handle everything from graphic design to marketing to customer support, and then all the real fun: teaching soapmaking & business workshops, and mentoring soapmakers to help them take their businesses to the next level. How did you get into the natural soap industry? I’ve been making soap for eleven years now, and would consider myself a serial entrepreneur from the perspective of throwing myself at a lot of my ideas and seeing what sticks. Before I started my first soapmaking company, I was freelancing graphic design and print work for small business owners on Etsy. I wanted to find a new outlet for my creativity and energy that didn’t involve graphic design, so I turned to soapmaking and opened my first company in 2011. What are you currently working on that has you all “tickled pink”? Right now, I’m finalizing the last of my live events in 2015. While I love the ease of connecting with thousands of people around the world online, live classes and events are the bee’s knees because I really get to know the soapmakers I serve online. What about your business makes you loose sleep at night? Keeping up with email! I receive hundreds of emails every week asking for help with soapmaking, formulating, and business, and I can’t physically keep up. I hate not being able to respond to everyone right away, or knowing that there are tons of emails in my inbox...
Image is Everything

Image is Everything

I recently ordered some colorants I use for one of my soap making classes. The supplier will remain nameless. The box had nine bottles. The colorants are liquid FD&C dyes. This is one of my regular suppliers for liquid soap colorants. This time as I took each bottle out of the box one stood out from the rest, the ugly duckling. What made it the ugly duckling was the fact that the label was handwritten, as pictured to the left.  This is unusual for this supplier. They have always had a printed professional label on all the bottles. I was actually very surprised as this is a well known national soap making supplier. How often have you done this to a customer? Be honest. I can remember times in which my packaging may not have been up to par. In my early business days there have been times when I printed the label with the template outline. Instead of reprinting the label I used it. I have a new way of thinking about packaging. Since then I have decided that I need to have brand consistency.  If I have these expectations then why wouldn’t I think my customer deserve the same. Seeing this handwritten label is just a reminder that as you build your beauty brand you want to make sure that you create an image that is consistent.  That is how the professional brands operate and we have come to expect it from them every time we purchase from them. Will I continue to purchase from this supplier? Yes, I will. As the label has nothing to do with...