Cold Process vs Melt and Pour Opinions

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Carly B

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This is a question for those of you who do, or have done both. What are your preferences, and why?

I started with M&P 15 or so years ago. I was nervous about using lye, so I bought M&P bases and had a lot of fun for a couple years.
I always had admiration of those who made CP--I preferred using CP, back then in my mind it was "real soap", and superior to M&P. SFIC was the
only base I used back then, and choices were limited. Nothing like the detergent free M&P bases available today.

Anyway, I moved from M&P to rebatching--there was a woman who had a goat farm in PA, and she made blocks of goatmilk soap which
she sold for that purpose. I could add all the goodies to rebatch that I had to limit in M&P, and I loved the results. To this day, my face
soap is one of my own rebatched soaps with added oils and skin loving things which don't saponify out.

Anyway, life got in the way and I stopped soaping for several years, but I missed it. I went back to M&P, but I was trying to come up with
something new and different to do with it, because I wanted more involvement than just melting and pouring. Then, in summer of
2019, I decided to take the big jump and try my hand at cold process. It's been educational and fun, but it made me realize that there
is a place for M&P in my soap gifting too, especially with some of the nice bases available. It also gives me a chance to use fragrances that
accelerate or have a low IFRA, something I never was aware of until I started CP.


TL;DR version:--if you've done both CP and M&P soap, what do you prefer to make, use, and give/sell?
 

Zany_in_CO

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I've done both. I love both. M&P has limitations but I love the sharp details on molds and clear soap with funny embeds -- like goldfish. When they were little, grandsons liked the ones with snakes! 😅
 
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TheGecko

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When I first looks at making soap, I explored all the options.

HP was a no-go because I didn't want to have to purchase an expensive separate crock pot or be limited by how much soap I could make in say 8 hours...without purchasing additional expensive crock pots. Plus you are limited in the designs given the limitations of the process.

I have seen some absolutely gorgeous M&P soap designs, but I have never enjoyed glycerin based soaps...they always feel 'sticky' to me and never last very long. You are limited by the base of the soap and I like swirls and you can't do swirls like you can with CP.

I have absolutely zero interest in rebatching as a soap making process. Unless you are making your own base, it's like M&P. And you have similar design limitations with HP. I won't even rebatch my own soap...if something doesn't turn out right, I have a donation box.

CP gives me the world...it's like owning a complete set of Crochet Hooks...there is nothing I can't make. I can completely customize my recipe, and I am only limited by amount of ingredients I have on hand and my back by how much soap I can make in 8 hours.
 
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I have not used M and P but to me it's not soap making. I can see the appeal for children and those who don't want to use lye and indeed for the types of things you can do that you might not do with cold or hot processed soap. I agree with @TheGecko that the consistency of the soap is 'sticky'. If you were only interested in soap design and fancy pours M&P could be just the ticket. BUT it's still not soap making.
A woman who makes cold processed soap came up to my stall at a recent market and went ga-ga over my soap colours/designs/different molds and patterns etc and then asked "are these melt and pour?". I was secretly a bit insulted that she would think I would claim melt and pour soap to be handmade soap. Afterwards I thought it was probably a compliment in a way - she makes soap and couldn't fathom how i could possibly make such a different array of designs. Later I passed her stall and saw all her soaps were plain with no swirls or patterns and they were 30% more in price than mine for approx the same size.
I would like to add there's nothing wrong with plain soap - the quality is no different. i make one plain soap myself even. I make it under duress though - I find it incredibly boring to make (me being a creative type) so I make it only for its 'properties' ( oat milk and oatmeal) that some of my customers prefer, not because I get any creative stimulation or satisfaction out of making it.
 

TheGecko

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I have not used M and P but to me it's not soap making. I can see the appeal for children and those who don't want to use lye and indeed for the types of things you can do that you might not do with cold or hot processed soap. I agree with @TheGecko that the consistency of the soap is 'sticky'. If you were only interested in soap design and fancy pours M&P could be just the ticket. BUT it's still not soap making.
A woman who makes cold processed soap came up to my stall at a recent market and went ga-ga over my soap colours/designs/different molds and patterns etc and then asked "are these melt and pour?". I was secretly a bit insulted that she would think I would claim melt and pour soap to be handmade soap. Afterwards I thought it was probably a compliment in a way - she makes soap and couldn't fathom how i could possibly make such a different array of designs. Later I passed her stall and saw all her soaps were plain with no swirls or patterns and they were 30% more in price than mine for approx the same size.
I would like to add there's nothing wrong with plain soap - the quality is no different. i make one plain soap myself even. I make it under duress though - I find it incredibly boring to make (me being a creative type) so I make it only for its 'properties' ( oat milk and oatmeal) that some of my customers prefer, not because I get any creative stimulation or satisfaction out of making it.
I don't look down on any artisan endeavor because M&P, and by your definition Rebatching, may be the only option available to someone for any number of reasons...like not being able to make CP/HP soap because their town prohibits the use of Sodium Hydroxide in a residential area (this happened to Katie at Royalty Soaps) or they don't have the space in their home to cure soap or to store more than a laundry basket's worth of ingredients in a closet (which is expensive). Heck, if I didn't have a garage that I could stuff two large shelving units and small unit that hanging on the inside wall next to the door, I'd be SOL for anything outside of a "hobby" endeavor.

And as someone who makes single-color soaps, they are often times harder to make because there is nothing else to distract one from the texture and perfection of that single-color, especially if you don't gel your soaps.
 
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I haven’t been at soap making for too long, but also started with M&P. It was fun and easy, and got me confident enough to pivot to CP, which was my goal. Still gotta get me a farm and goat so I can get off the powdered goat milk - life goals LOL 😉
My mom thought she might enjoy making soap, too, but after watching me make CP, we both agree she really wants the fun of decorating soap with colors, fragrance and fun molds, without the safety gear, supplies and focus.
The moral of my story? There is a place for both, depending on what you are looking to do:
Make soap and do science - CP or HP
Decorate and embellish soap - M&P
My too cents for what it’s worth…. As long as you have fun and enjoy it 🌸
 

MrsZ

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I personally don't like melt and pour. I do buy it to help my small children "make soaps" for their use without worrying about lye safety.

I have never found a melt and pour that my skin can handle. They are all extremely drying to me, but I may have just never found the right one. :)

I love CP soap for my skin, and I both love making the swirls and formulating recipes.

I do know of a few people with very successful businesses that sell a lot of MP soaps, and people love them.

For me personally, MP doesn't have any appeal.
 
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I did melt and pour for years but it was too drying -- maybe I never found the right base. Once I started doing cold process, I never looked back. I find that cold process engages both sides of my brain and I like both the science, math, and design elements. The other factor was the profound change in the health of my skin.
I'm pro-choice and support everybody's creative outlet. To each their own.
 
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I have not used M and P but to me it's not soap making. I can see the appeal for children and those who don't want to use lye and indeed for the types of things you can do that you might not do with cold or hot processed soap. I agree with @TheGecko that the consistency of the soap is 'sticky'. If you were only interested in soap design and fancy pours M&P could be just the ticket. BUT it's still not soap making.
A woman who makes cold processed soap came up to my stall at a recent market and went ga-ga over my soap colours/designs/different molds and patterns etc and then asked "are these melt and pour?". I was secretly a bit insulted that she would think I would claim melt and pour soap to be handmade soap. Afterwards I thought it was probably a compliment in a way - she makes soap and couldn't fathom how i could possibly make such a different array of designs. Later I passed her stall and saw all her soaps were plain with no swirls or patterns and they were 30% more in price than mine for approx the same size.
I would like to add there's nothing wrong with plain soap - the quality is no different. i make one plain soap myself even. I make it under duress though - I find it incredibly boring to make (me being a creative type) so I make it only for its 'properties' ( oat milk and oatmeal) that some of my customers prefer, not because I get any creative stimulation or satisfaction out of making it.
I just realised I make two plain soaps - IMG_9786.JPG the other is ZNSC
 

Zany_in_CO

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Going off topic... but this seems the perfect opportunity to ask...

I've often wondered how well the plain soaps sell vs your beautiful colorful creations?
 

basti

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I like to see the two as two different art mediums. Like perhaps oil paint and watercolor paint. They're ultimately still paint, but they have their own unique features, limitations, and possibilities. Some people are great at oil painting but flood the paper while trying to do watercolors. Some people are brilliant at watercolor but make a muddy gloppy mess with oil paints. At the end of the day, you still get a painting.

That analogy is of course ignoring the fact that soap has functional properties and people have different preferences/needs for those properties. But I personally like the way both CP and MP (detergent free, that is) feel, so I have no qualms about using either.
 
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I started with CP. it took a while for me to do it, and that was due to concerns over lye safety. Once I watched what seemed like an eternity of videos, I felt comfortable giving it a go. It took a year or so into making CP when I finally tried M&P. To be frank, I wasn’t impressed. Was it cool to have clear soap? Yes, but I almost find it more temperamental when it comes to heating to pour it. I have used it to make candy cane striped soap, but that’s the extent to which I’ll use it. It’s not true soaping to me. It doesn’t give me the satisfaction that lye soap does.
 

TheGecko

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I like to see the two as two different art mediums.
Many, many, many years ago I used to golf with some guys and whomever had the lowest score bought drinks. Usually that was me since I wasn't a fantastic golfer...I just enjoyed the game. So anyhoo...this one time I wasn't in last place and the guy who was...refused to pay for my drink because my having a better score than him didn't 'count' because I shot from a different tee. Pissed me off to say the least, but I played it cool (I specifically asked the other guys to stand down). So we're enjoying our drinks and the guys are talking about boxing and I noted that this guy is a big fan of Sugar Ray so I pointed out that there were better boxers and named a heavyweights who would kicked his butt. That was when the guy started to 'educate' me about the different 'weights' of boxers blah blah blah and thus Sugar Ray was just as good, if not better boxer than some of the others I named. That was when I said, "So even though Sugar Ray hits from the Red Tees, he's just as good as the guys who shoot from the Black Tees because he's in a different 'weight'?" He stared at me for a good minute then went to the bar and bought me a drink.

Artistry and creativity comes in all forms. I crochet, loom knit and needle knit...I don't think one is better than the other, they each have their place in the fiber world, but I've sadly watched all three groups put each other down for various reasons. And then there is the fiber itself...yarn snobs for whom 'acrylic' is a dirty word. Same with 'superwash".
 
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Many, many, many years ago I used to golf with some guys and whomever had the lowest score bought drinks. Usually that was me since I wasn't a fantastic golfer...I just enjoyed the game. So anyhoo...this one time I wasn't in last place and the guy who was...refused to pay for my drink because my having a better score than him didn't 'count' because I shot from a different tee. Pissed me off to say the least, but I played it cool (I specifically asked the other guys to stand down). So we're enjoying our drinks and the guys are talking about boxing and I noted that this guy is a big fan of Sugar Ray so I pointed out that there were better boxers and named a heavyweights who would kicked his butt. That was when the guy started to 'educate' me about the different 'weights' of boxers blah blah blah and thus Sugar Ray was just as good, if not better boxer than some of the others I named. That was when I said, "So even though Sugar Ray hits from the Red Tees, he's just as good as the guys who shoot from the Black Tees because he's in a different 'weight'?" He stared at me for a good minute then went to the bar and bought me a drink.

Artistry and creativity comes in all forms. I crochet, loom knit and needle knit...I don't think one is better than the other, they each have their place in the fiber world, but I've sadly watched all three groups put each other down for various reasons. And then there is the fiber itself...yarn snobs for whom 'acrylic' is a dirty word. Same with 'superwash".
What a beautiful and inclusive comment! I have to say that one issue I have with this forum is how some feel only their way of doing things is correct. I, too, think any form of creativity in this field is fun, relaxing, and beautiful. Kudos to all of us for our efforts to make something we and others enjoy- no matter the process.
 

TheGecko

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What a beautiful and inclusive comment! I have to say that one issue I have with this forum is how some feel only their way of doing things is correct. I, too, think any form of creativity in this field is fun, relaxing, and beautiful. Kudos to all of us for our efforts to make something we and others enjoy- no matter the process.
Thank you, but you do understand that you can't be truly "inclusive"*** unless you include everyone...even those that you may not agree with.

There are folks here who are horrified and make the sign against evil when I enter the room because I toss my scraps instead of making Confetti Soap or that I'm not above tossing soap instead of Rebatching...and I'm okay with that. You have folks that think Mica and Fragrance Oils are 'bad' and that natural colorants and Essential Oils are 'good'...and I'm okay with that. And let's not get started on the 'evils' of using Palm Oil or how 'gross' it is to use Lard/Tallow. I had a lady at a craft fair get upset with me because I used goat milk in my Goat Milk Soap. The snarky part of me wanted to ask what other milk I was supposed to use, but instead I offered her a simple solution...don't buy it. Seriously...move along, the world does not revolve around you.


*** - I really dislike that word. Along with 'social distancing', 'social justice', 'diversity', 'disproportionate', 'jiggy' and several others. ;)
 
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What a beautiful and inclusive comment! I have to say that one issue I have with this forum is how some feel only their way of doing things is correct. I, too, think any form of creativity in this field is fun, relaxing, and beautiful. Kudos to all of us for our efforts to make something we and others enjoy- no matter the process.
I agree with that to a point. But sometimes there is only one right way - such as pouring lye into water, and not the reverse. Those kind of safety and GMP issues are where I can tend to dig in my heels a bit. But that comes out of concern for safety and also a desire for people not to waste their ingredients on something that won’t work.

For instance, a recent post recommended blending commercial LS with EOs and extra FCO (from a member who happens to sell EOs on their website, which is their avatar name as well so they have a self- interest in making such posts). I’ve tried that before and it always separates. I believe it is a kindness to others to let them know this before they try it and waste ingredients. That doesn’t mean I’m non-inclusive - it means I care about others here.

So with that clarification, I completely support everyone’s right to soap as they wish: M&P, CP, HP, LS, etc. And I didn’t read anything in @KiwiMoose’s post that said otherwise - she just expressed which she preferred, and why. I don’t see that as non-inclusive.
 

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