Melt and Pour Soap. Glycerin Soap is commonly used to refer to clear soap that you can heat up and melt before pouring into moulds. Generally, the clear soap has extra glycerin added to it to produce a very nourishing, moisturizing bar. Glycerin is a “humectant.” It draws moisture to itself; so if you wash with glycerin soap, a thin layer of glycerin will remain, drawing moisture to your skin. Some people prefer glycerin soap to cold process, because it does tend to hold the fragrance more efficiently. The down side is that it doesn't last as long, being much softer and with more water content.
M & P comes in two types. Clear or white. White has the addition of titanium dioxide. The safest way to melt the soap is over a double boiler on the stove, place the soap chunks in a stainless steel bowl placed over a pan of simmering water. Alternatively, you can melt it in the microwave but this usually only works well for small quantities and you must ensure you don't overheat or burn the soap.
Once melted, you simply stir in colour and fragrance and pour into your chosen moulds. M & P is a very simple easy way to make your own soap. Remember that certain fragrances do tend to discolour to brown, specially if it contains vanilla. A good fragrance supplier will usually specify if this will happen.
Tip: Don't be tempted to use non stick metal moulds. The soap will pop out of these just fine for the first few go's, but the chemical reaction with the non stick has the effect of eventually making the soap stick like glue to the moulds. Use silicon moulds or plastic moulds instead.
Cold Process Soap
There are many resources on the internet for in depth information on this method, with so many good video tutorials. One of our favourites is Soap Queen.
Basically, this method requires the mixing of oils with sodium hydroxide (lye) which undergoes a process called saponification, which renders the lye inert and soap is created. But it's not that simple. Different oils have different soaping qualities. For example: coconut oil produces a great hard bar with lots of bubbles, but can dry out the skin, so only a small percentage of coconut oil should be used for your soap. It really is a science. Our advice is to read up as much as you can about this method from as many sources as you can. Start by making very small batches and take it from there. You will have disasters. CP can be quite temperamental, even for experienced soapers. Feel free to ask us your questions and we will do our best to help.