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Marina's versions of double boiler and oven hot process soapmaking methods (DBHP, OHP):
Pro and cons of cold process vs. hot process soap
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Deciding whether Cold Process is better than Hot Process, or viceversa, is just a matter of personal preference and soapmaking "culture" - a bit like deciding whether holidaying at the beach is better than mountain trekking, or whether black tea is better than white tea!
Both methods offer specifical advantages and disadvantages, and in our experience, the best way to choose is for you to read through the instructions and warnings for both basic soapmaking methods (Cold Process, or CP, and Hot Process, or HP), evaluate pros and cons, make up your mind based on your expectations and skills, and then apply the "golden rule": try for yourself, and see if you're happy with the results!
The advantages of Hot Process soap are, by general agreement, basically three:
- Soap is completely saponified quicker than in Cold Process soap.
- Essential and fragrance oils, superfatting oils, and other additives are added at the end of the cook and are not affected by the saponification reaction.
- Hot Process soaps are easier to slice and do not crumble. For this reason, they offer a better alternative for those soapmakers who prefer to cut their soaps "on request".
There are however a few disadvantages, including the following:
- At the end of the cook, the soap paste is less fluid than with Cold Process, and not as easy to work with for moulds designed for larger batches (such as divider soap moulds, for instance).
- Soapmakers disagree on the effects that cooking might have on the base oils, and some argue that cooking will reduce or destroy altogether the "live" properties of the oils. If it's true that even Cold Process soap must undergo an exothermic reaction, the difference between the highest temperatures reached by Hot Process and Cold Process is approximately 30ºC, which appears to justify these concerns.
- Although it's true that Hot Process soap can be used as early as a few hours after the end of the cook (and this is because the saponification process has been completed during this phase), no handmade soap can be considered truly ready to use in less than 4 weeks. As a matter of fact, because it uses a larger amount of water than Cold Process , Hot Process soap tends to require longer curing (drying) times than Cold Process soap.
- Cooking represents an energy waste, which can be avoided with Cold Process soap.
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