When I first started formulating recipes for The Natural Beauty Workshop I had just one solid soaping method under my belt. While I still adore cold process soap making I was so excited to try something new. Over the past few months I have been experimenting with hot process soap making and it has been a blast!
From one beginner to another, here are some observations from my own hot process experience:
- Never leave your hot process soap alone while it is cooking. As the recipe moves through phases of cooking the soap can actually grow and expand. It needs to be stirred down often. If you aren’t keeping an eye on it, the soap can actually overflow the crock pot – creating a volcano of raw soap!
- I was surprised by how long my hot process soap remained soft. Even when I used stearic acid in my recipe, which typically yields a harder bar, it took up to a week for my soap to fully harden.
- My finished bars were a lot smoother than I expected! I have always heard of hot process soap having a “rustic” look, but my bars looked quite refined. The top was not quite as smooth as my cold process soaps but I suspect that they could be altered quite a bit with the help of parchment or plastic wrap.
- Air pockets can be frustrating. After a few batches I began to perfect my technique for avoiding this hot process pitfall, but I am still finding the occasional hole in my soap here and there.I found that it helps to evenly distribute the soap in the mold by pushing to all corners and then tamping it down well. I used a spatula to get into the corners and also tried good old elbow grease (just banging the mold down on the table to release air pockets). I would love to hear some more advice on eliminating air pockets in hot process soap.
- Each batch of hot process soap behaved a little differently – even when the same recipe was used! This part really surprised me. Even when I used the same recipe I noticed differences in the phases the soap went through and in how long those phases took.
- Hot Process soap making is so much FUN! The whole staff would gather as I made batch after batch. Each time, we marveled at the stages the soap went through.
I can’t wait to make more hot process soaps. Stay tuned for hot process soap recipes coming soon! In the meantime, we would LOVE to hear from all of our HP soaping experts with your tips and tricks. Share your best advice in the comments below.