There are two main ways of producing natural soap: the cold process and the hot process methods. At The Cool Projects we use these two methods. However, big soap manufacturers use shredded hot processed soap that are transformed into pellets. These pellets are then melted in order to be pressed into soap, having gone through heavy-duty rollers and shaped into different sized soaps. This inevitably means these soaps are of lesser quality, particularly because they are produced in very large quantities.
The Cold Process Method
Cool Soaps Essentials are made with the cold process, which means that the oils are heated to very low temperature until melted and mixed. This way the oils are not cooked and retain all their soothing and caring properties. In the second stage, they are mixed with water and sodium hydroxide or (caustic) soda (or lye) until the saponification process begins. This is when the essential oils are added. Then the thick mix, with the consistency of a very thick soup, is poured in moulds for 24 hours, after which they are taken out of the moulds, cut, stamped and then left to mature naturally for a period of 4-6 weeks.
This maturing period allows for the reaction of the oils and the soda to complete naturally, for the Ph to reach its normal level for a natural soap, and also allows the soap to dry and become hard so that it lasts longer. This process produces by far the best quality soap there is, not only a very good cleaning soap but one that also takes care of our skin, allowing it to breathe properly and naturally moisturising it. It is not very productive as it involves a long period of waiting for the soap to mature, which is why it is not popular with mass produced soap makers.
In this soap process method, the glycerin produced as a result of the saponification is not taken out of the soap. Glycerin is very good for the skin as it is a humectant, which means it helps the skin mantains its own mopisture.
*Note – Soaps made with the cold process method have a slightly alkaline Ph (between 9 to 10), as opposed to our skin which has an acidic Ph (between 4 to 6). The whole craze about neutral Ph is probably nonsense, and once again a marketing tool to sell.
The Hot Process Method
Cool Soap Elements & Mood of the Soaps are made with the hot process, which is basically the same, the only difference being that the oils are cooked together with water and soda in high temperatures for hours, in order to speed up the saponification process and avoid the maturing period which is not very productive. It produces a good quality soap but the oils, having been cooked for longer, lose some of their beneficial properties, producing a soap that is a very good cleanser but not as good a conditioning product as the cold process soap.