For those of you not quite ready to make cold process soaps using lye (sodium hydroxide), you can still make your own homemade soap.
I have made both kinds of soaps, and I prefer the cold processed soaps to the melt and pour variety. That is just my humble opinion, however, and you can get very creative in melt and pour soaps.
One thing I like about melt and pour soap making is that it is a bit easier than the cold process method. Melt and pour is a good method for beginners so they can get a feel for the soap making process in general.
If you do take up soap making, though, I recommend that you try both methods to see which you like best. Remember that lye soaps have to cure about 4 weeks prior to use, whereas melt and pour soaps can be used right away.
Whichever method you choose for making soaps, do proper research up front so you know exactly what is involved. Lye requires some very specific instructions regarding the amount used, the temperature, the utensils required, and so forth.
I keep a soap making notebook with all of my notes, recipes, fragrance oils used and amounts, review of the soaps after use, etc. It may take a little longer when making soaps, but it is extremely useful information I can refer back to whenever I want to repeat a successful recipe.
To make melt and pour soap, here is what you’ll need:
- melt and pour soap base
- container for melting – Pyrex measuring cup works well
- weight scale
- fragrance oil – make sure it is listed as “soap safe”
- measuring spoons, knife, metal whisk, rubber spatula
- dye for coloring – make sure it is listed as “soap safe”
- cutting board
- spray bottle of rubbing alcohol*
- soap mold of choice – these vary widely
- your soap making notebook