The convenience of melt-and-pour soap base might keep you away from good old fashioned cold process soap-making. But why would you pick the longer, more challenging path?
Easy: you get better quality soap for less money!
Cold process soap is made by combining lye with oils and butters, in a chemical reaction known as ‘saponification’. This process gives you complete control over the ingredients, and it allows the use of fresh additions, such as milk or even fruit. It results in a highly moisturizing soap that’s good for both the skin and the environment.
Soap making process can be customized with swirls of frosting, among others, and it can also hold heavier additives due to its thicker texture. Through the long curation process, cold process soap will also keep for a long time – so while you do have to put it more effort, you’ll be reaping the benefits of your work for longer.
One more thing: buying the raw ingredients for cold process soap is generally less expensive than a melt-and-pour base! Scroll down for our best cold process soap recipes to get you started:
Pine tar has been used to nourish skin, soothe irritation and treat various skin conditions for over 2000 years. And just a little bar of pine tar soap can lock in moisture and relieve itchiness. If that doesn’t scream winter skin care, we don’t know what does!
You can use this soap on your face, body, and even hair, and you’ll be happy to hear it works wonders for BO and acne.
Scented with lemon and bergamot essential oils, this soap is basically an aromatherapy powerhouse. But it’s not just that: the poppy seeds make it lightly exfoliating, while the lye content adds moisture and healthy fats to the already impressive cleaning properties.
Shampoo bars have tons of advantages: they’re zero waste, they travel well and easily, and they last longer. But if you make your own? Even better! You can customize it for your hair type, whether that’s dry and frizzy, oily, or say, fine and thinning.
This extra-gentle turmeric soap is superfatted, meaning it contains additional plant butters and oils to help hydrate as it cleanses. The gentle bar can be used as a facial cleanser, hand soap or body wash thanks to its soothing hand-picked ingredients.
Castile soap in solid form? Yes, that’s totally something you can make at home. Creamy, gentle, and moisturizing, this olive oil soap, and it has a short list of ingredients, making it a great beginner’s project.
If you think your laundry deserves the same treatment, you’re not wrong! You can make a solid laundry bar soap using the cold-process method, lavender and lemon essential oils, and an improvised, upcycled mold.
Unlike some soaps that dry skin out and make it feel tight and itchy, glycerin soap is a humectant, which means it helps keeps skin hydrated [source]. When making soap at home, the glycerin is left in since it provides an extra boost of moisture. This recipe processes the soap a bit further to remove the oils and fats in the soap and end up with a clear glycerin soap base.
When you feel you’ve mastered cold-process soap-making and are ready to develop your own recipes, use this guide for the best way to naturally color your soaps.1