So, if you've been to our store and seen our little signs by our bar soaps, you've probably wondered to yourself, what the heck is cold process soap? Don't worry, I've wondered the same thing too. So, what the heck is cold process soap? Let me break it down for you.
When it comes to making soaps from scratch, like we do, there are two methods to choose from: hot process or cold process. We have obviously chosen the latter of the two. The cold process method is great for ensuring there is no damage to the scent or medicinal properties of the soap.
In order to fully understand what the cold process is, it's good to first understand what saponification is. Saponification is a big fancy word for the chemical reaction that occurs when soap is made. Soap is actually a salt that results from mixing an alkali with a triglyceride. NaOH (sodium hydroxide, also known as lye) is mixed with a liquid, then poured into fats or oils (in our case, olive oil, coconut oil, and rice bran oil) to begin saponification. 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 so they are extra moisturizing. Glycerin works by attracting moisture to the skin where dryness and irritation often occur. Adding glycerin to a slippery body is beneficial because it traps in any moisture that might otherwise evaporate.
Now that we've got that out of the way, we can return to our original question: what is cold process soap? The cold process, simply put, relies solely on the process of saponification to complete the soaps. While the hot process method relies on a crock pot or oven to cook the soap, the cold process method uses saponification to actually heat the soap. This means that after the base oils are heated to a low temperature, the soap must sit in the saponifcation stage for 24-36 hours rather than being cooked and ready to go quickly. The block of soap then sits for up to 6 weeks to cure and finalize any saponification that needs to occur, and to allow any extra water to evaporate. This results in nice, hard, bubbly bars of soap! Now, while this is happening, we don't just sit back idly and twiddle our thumbs--this is when we have time to make all of our other fun products!
When the oils are heated to a slightly higher temperature, or reach a slightly higher temperature in the mould during the saponification process, the soap ends up brighter in colour. That's why our Man Soap bar sometimes ends up looking different from batch to batch. We don't know about you, but we think it's fun to experiment and spice things up a bit!