CP vs. HP

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Well-Known Member
Nov 18, 2007
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Tampa, FL
Hi everyone - I'm new here, and have gotten hooked on soap making after reading Susan Miller Cavitch's "The Natural Soap Book" and "The Soapmaker's Companion." I've made several CP batches and am very happy with the results. My only problem is that I prefer essential oils over fragrance oils to scent my soaps, and many of the ones I would like to use are very expensive, especially in the quantities needed for CP batches.

I've haven't read much about other soap making processes because I've only just gotten started with CP, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that you can use significantly less EO to scent HP soaps. Yet it seems that CP is the more popular soap making method. What are the differences between the methods, and what are the benefits and pitfalls of each one? Thanks!
There is a discussion about this recently. You can look in the Search area for it. This is a heated debate (ongoing for years)
So, reminder.. everyone who answers this thread, be mindful and respectful to others.
I started soaping with the CPHP method about 1 1/2 years ago. Just within the last couple of months did I try CP.

I found using the crock pot to cook the soap batter to be very convenient. It was so cool to watch the soap go through all the stages. I like to cook and "play" in the kitchen, so CPHP was fun for me. I think it's a great way to use additives that don't like the excess heat of saponification, too. You've just gotta wait a bit for the soap to cool down some before adding your goodies. I also like that you can use it immediately, as sap is done.

That being said, I've found that CP is much less time consuming, especially if you master batch your lye and oils. CP is much easier to get into a "soap on a stick" situation, though. I just barely got my last batch into the mold;)

My advice is to give CPHP a try and see if it's for you. I think the stove top HP is comparable results wise. From what I can see, OPHP is just CP stuck into the oven to force gel and hasten curing (Correct my if I'm wrong!) so your EO's would still be needed in equal measure with regular CP.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you find the right solution for you. Let us know what you try and how it works out for you.
I prefer CP because I like the smooth look of the finished bar. But I do HP when a batch is tricky, or I'm using a fragrance that seizes the soap fast.

Here's a pic of two batches I made; on the left is the HP, which turned out considerably smooth for my attempts, and on the right is CP - same eo.


It's true; I use less essential oil in the HP bars.

but you can watch for good buys on the various supplier sites. They sometimes have sales. And buying larger quantities saves you in the long run if you make a lot of soap.
OTOH, my vanilla 'layers' with one layer scented with eo, and the second with fo......didn't work out, cuz as I was pouring the first layer, scented with essential oil, the second half cooled too much, and when I added the vanilla fo, it seized.

I had to scoop the entire mess into a pot and HP it. This is how it turned out:


and this is another vanilla fo made CP method:


It's all good soap in the end, and with HP you can use the soap sooner, but it depends on what look you prefer. Some people claim that they can get a smooth soap with HP, but I haven't been too successful at it.....I'm too spastic, I think.
I like HP very much - I do the whole thing in one dutch-oven pot on the stove. The only pitfall I've found is this: HP can't be layered. I tried to make a HP soap once with a pomace layer on the bottom and superfatted soap on top. The two pieces didn't stick together. I've been experimenting with adding more water at the end of the cook to get a more fluid soap... I may try layering again at some point.

I use the same amounts of eos whether it's hot or cold process.
I love reading this board. I did two batches of hp soap and love that I dont have to wait to use it. I do wish I could take pictures but.... At any rate when I saw what it looked like in the mold, I thought wow I am gonna have holes in my soap. So I dropped it on the floor a couple of times then wrapped it just a little and put a weight on the top to help mash it a bit. My bars come out looking just as good as my cp soap.
I started off making CP soap this spring and then heard about HP...I tried it and I was so excited to see the changes in the soap while I cooked it in my crockpot that I've only done one batch of CP since!

I also have the patience of a gnat, so the lack of waiting time to test out my HP soap is a BIG bonus for me!

I love the way the top of my soaps are rough and bumpy...I think it makes them look slightly 'rustic' and suits my company name "McLeod Naturals"...I also hand cut each of my bars (I don't have a fancy cutter yet!) so they are all slightly different sizes...obviously I'm not one of those people who are too concerned about perfection! HA! Then I wrap them with raffia and a folded hanging tag with my name, ingredients and what the soap is good for.

Anyway, just my two cents worth!~ :wink:


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