Updated: Jun 17, 2021
Have you read Mo Willems' "An Elephant and Piggie Book" collection?
One of our favorites from the series is named Waiting Is Not Easy. In this book, Piggie has a surprise for Gerald the elephant, and he is very excited. The only problem is that Gerald literally can't deal with waiting, and he gets more and more anxious and impatient about the surprise. Of course, the surprise at the end is beautiful!
This book does not just remind our kids that Waiting Is Not Easy, but also a great reminder for us as adults. In this blog post, we would like to share with you how frequently we have to remind ourselves that Waiting Is Not Easy during the cold process soap-making process.
Cold process method - Soap is the end result of a chemical reaction mixing oils, lye (sodium hydroxide) and water.
"Wet soap" - The combination for the heat from the melted oils and the heat from the lye water provides all that is needed to saponify, and such process results in what we called the "wet soap". Hence, the waiting starts here!
The soap will be ready to unmold after 1-2 days once it is firm to touch. In some cases, we may have to wait for longer than 2 days if we use more of the 'soft' oils (such as olive oil, canola oil, avocado oil) than the 'hard' oils/ butters (such as coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter). So, what happen if we unmold the soap too soon? Well, imagine if you were to unmold your baked product too soon, it would likely get stuck with the pan or crack easily (and potentially turn it to a waste)!
Once we unmold the soap, it's also the time for cutting!!! This is an exciting time because we would never know how the design might turn out until we cut them! Let's keep in mind that, soap is the end product of a chemical reaction, and there are often changes to the states of the soaps that cannot even be explained. Often time, the design may not turn out as expected; however, we often see surprises of how beautiful the end products would turn out. Further, they are great soaps with ingredients that will benefit our skins!
Soap-making is a test of patience. After we cut the soaps, they need to be cured for 4-6 weeks (in some cases, the cure time could be at least 6 months to a year)! During this time, the water used in the recipe evaporates, and no lye would remain in the final bar of soap. Cured soap has a firmer texture and longer cure time generally improves soap life.
So, with all these waiting, what are the benefits of cold process soaps? One of the main benefits of cold process soap making is having complete control over ingredients. Cold process soaps have no added detergents, made with simple ingredients like plant oils and butters, and hence create a creamy lather for deep moisturization.
While there is no claims that handmade soaps can cure skin conditions, this is one of the main reasons why we started our soap making journey - which we will share with you more in another blog post (i.e., the struggle of a mom with kid suffering from eczema!).
In conclusion, we highly recommend you try cold process soaps. They are not just better for the environment, but healthier for the skin and can be made incredibly moisturizing with limitless designs and recipes!
P.S. Special thanks to the grandparent of Zuri and Emma for creating this beautiful rack for the curing of these cold process soaps. :)