When it comes to making bar soap from scratch, like we do, there are two methods to choose from: hot process or cold process. The difference between the two is; how each process uses external heat, the time required for saponification and curing, and the finish of the soap (appearance). Hot process speeds up the saponification process and “cooks" the soap before it goes into the mold. This cuts down dramatically on the wait time. Additionally, additive ingredients are mixed in when making hot process soap. The finish of making hot process soap is often less aesthetically appealing.
We don't like cutting corners, nor use additives in our soap. That's why we make cold process soap. The cold process method ensures there is no damage to the scent or medicinal properties of the soap we make. This is really important to us, because we make most of our bar soap with a purpose. The ingredients we choose are often used for healing properties or to spotlight a particular scent we've created!
HOW DO WE MAKE OUR COLD PROCESS BAR SOAP?
We make all of our soaps with oils made with natural ingredients. We do not use any stripping agents, drying detergents or fillers. To kick the soap making process off, we heat each of our base oils up and then combine them together in a large mixing pot. At this stage we add in our solid natural ingredients if our soap recipe requires them, such as oatmeal, lemongrass, coffee grinds, etc. We stir our ingredients together and then pour them into our molds.
After the base oils are heated and mixed together, the soap must sit in the saponification stage in our soap molds for 24 - 36 hours. Making bar soap the cold process way relies solely on saponification. While the hot process method relies on a crock pot or oven to cook the soap, the cold process method uses saponification to heat the soap. In addition to all of the benefits in making cold process bar soap, we geek-out at the incredible powers of natural elements, science, and saponification!
WHAT IS SAPONIFICATION?
Saponification is a chemical reaction that occurs when soap is made. Soap is a product that results from mixing an alkali with a triglyceride (vegetable oils). Saponification is a process by which triglycerides are reacted with sodium or potassium hydroxide (lye) to produce glycerol and a fatty acid salt which in turn produce soap.
The process of saponification creates glycerin, which some soap makers remove to sell as an ingredient to be used in other products, such as cosmetics. We, however, keep all the glycerin in our soaps. This is because glycerin is ultra-moisturizing. Glycerin works by attracting moisture to the skin where dryness and irritation often occur. Glycerin is beneficial because it traps in any moisture that might otherwise evaporate.
After 36 hours, our team removes the soap from our molds and we cut it into rectangles. At this time, we stamp our soap bars because they're still impressionable. We then put our hand-stamped and cut rectangular bars of soap onto trays and let them cure for 6 weeks. During this time, any saponification that needs to occur can. The curing process, although long, results in harder, bubblier bars of soap!