A different approach to soap making is using The Cold Process which doesn’t require using a heat source to begin saponification. As opposed to the hot process, using the cold process means making the soap from scratch using fats, water, and lye and is considered to be the most basic and purest form of soap. Formulating the soap to hold essential oils for conditioners and other fragrances, or otherwise known as superfatting, can easily be done using this method.
Whether you use the hot process or cold process to make soap, the one common requirement you will need is a good quality oil. At first, the best oils to use were in the form of animal fats, such as, lard or tallow, but now with the rise of vegetarianism and the use of more non animal based products, the more popular oils are vegetable oils. The favorites among soap makers being olive oil, palm and coconut oil. Keep reading for an extended list of more oils you can use.
One important necessity when using the cold process to make soap is a lye calculator. It’s with this tool that you will be able to determine the exact quantity of lye that is required for any given amount of fat. Just keep in mind that lye can be a very dangerous chemical so it’s important to read the instructions and warnings on the back of the container.
If the lye becomes too hot to handle you can do one of the following:
1. Instead of using luke warm water use cold water
2. Make the lye solution the day before
If you decide to use option 2, just keep in mind that the lye and fat needs to be a similar temperature about 100 F, so you may then need to re-heat the lye solution. The next step is to carefully combine the lye solution with the fats.
What about if you didn’t want to use water to dissolve the lye? Is there an alternative? The answer is yes, of course! Here are a few alternatives you can use to dissolve the lye and create more unique and decorative soaps that you can give away as gifts or even sell and build a business:
1. Soy or Goats Milk
2. Herbal Infusions
3. Vegetable Juice
4. Fruit Juices
To prevent from any additional lye remaining in the soap, add up to an extra 10% of oil. After 30 days the lye would have completely combined with the oils and the final result would be a good quality batch of homemade soap. With the soap finished, all of the oils have been saponified and no longer contain any lye, only the glycerin and soap.
The list below are the most widely used oils for soap making. They are considered to be the best oils to use with the first two being the most common:
1. Coconut Oils
2. Palm Oils
3. Olive Oils
4. Almond Oil
5. Canola Oil
6. Sesame Oils
Why even make your own soap as opposed to buying the commercially made soap? Apart from saving yourself some money you also get the extra benefit of better skin. Homemade soap tends to be fresh, contain more natural elements, and is also more versatile so you can even use it to wash your hair.
The adding of natural ingredients like fruit juices, vegetable juices, and natural herbs is what makes your soaps more unique and better quality. Using ingredients like these results in the formation of natural glycerin being formed in the cold process that is extremely less drying to the skin. It’s for reasons like this that using homemade and hand crafted soaps with natural elements that will leave your skin feeling soft and looking healthy.
The dangers of handling lye is what has caused most soap makers to frown upon the cold process method. Now its is true that lye can be an extremely dangerous chemical, but taken the right precautions minimize the risk and resulting in unique and decorative soaps that you can be proud of.