“Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavour.” ~William Cowper
“There are as many ways of loving as there are people, and that wildflower variety is the great beauty of this dimension of existence.” ~ Rumi
Making soap is science and to some it is art. One can focus on the science, acquire the knowledge of exactly what IS happening with a soap recipe. One can focus on the art, executing amazing swirls, embeds, layers, all kinds of impressive visual excitement.
I definitely fall in the middle, I like the middle, my comfy zone. The science interests me when researching ingredients. I look for the type of qualities the oils give to the soap, hardness, lather, etc; the oils are a team, all contributing something positive. I prefer quality ingredients, in all aspects of my life, ingredients that do the least amount of damage to our environment.(Look into palm oil to see the worst of the worst) I use organic, cold pressed oils because I feel ingredients are incredibly important. But, I really don’t have curiosity about HOW soap making goes down on a molecular level. I don’t NEED to know how it works as long as it works. Granted, with that mindset, if I cannot access my online soap calculator I won’t be able to make good soap. But I figure if the internet is no longer up and running my problems are going to be a lot bigger than not being able to make a good soap.
The artsy fartsy part of me enjoys adding herbs, flowers, and natural colorants to soap, it is fun. A little swirl here and embed there but I am no where near as gifted as some soapers. I mean, they create works of art. It is truly ah-mazing. I just cannot take the time, nor do I have the patience, to acquire the skill to achieve soap masterpiece status, I leave it to the pros. So here I am, nestled right in the middle of spectrum and I am happy here.
I’ll use the hot process method when I feel like taking my time, no rush, take it easy, is definitely my style. I enjoy adding buttermilk, yogurt, exfoliants, colorants, & super fatting with a specific oil, it makes the soap special. The result is a more rustic looking soap which I really prefer. Turn over time is a big draw for me to hot process, I can have a batch for sale within a week or two of making it. With HP I can keep up with demand a bit better.
Cold process on the other hand is great for creating a sleek, clean looking bar. I find CP to be more finicky. Sometimes the chemical reaction accelerates and I end up with soap on a stick. I may or may not find time to throw in additives. I do prefer to use CP for certain soaps, I feel the sleek look works with the personality (yes personality) of the soap. Swirls are more wispy in CP and sometimes I prefer that look.
So what IS the difference? The process is the only difference, HP adds heat, speeding up saponification, the reaction between the lye and fats. CP goes through saponification while in the mold and continues during its curing time, a slower reaction because additional heat is not provided. The end result is a different look of the bar: