I don't think you should limit yourself to one or the other, but for starting out, I read the instructions for both and thought CP sounded easier so that's where I started.. HOWEVER sometimes the scents go bad in CP, and in HP it's easier to scent your soap.... BUT then it's harder to get it in the mold, so I guess it all depends what your doing, that's why it's nice to have a knowledge of both methods. I've only tried HP a few times I'm still quite new to soaping.
I started out with HP simply because I wanted immediate results. Once I had done a couple batches to get me through, I switched to CP. I prefer CP because I am limited on time.
In fact I am typing this at work. But at least I look busy while typing. :wink:
it really depends on what you prefer. if you find you like cp and only do that i would suggest you really should do at least one or two batches of hp, because at some point you may have to do hp to save a batch of soap, if it should seize. soaping at cool temps ( room temp or just barely warm ) will help with those finicky fragrances, especially most florals that want to run away with you.
cp: the look of the bar will be smoother, because the soap is pourable ( well this could depend on how long after trace you pour, if you do thin, thick or over done, lol ). the thinner trace you pour the finer and more delicate your swirls will be, middle of the road is probably best till you get to know how yor soap formula's will act, but sometimes you end up at the thick end of the spectrum because a fragrance may start to accelerate and cause the soap to thicken faster then you like, ( some soaping oils are also known to move trace faster as does the temp you mix at ), you may end up with soap on a stick and this is where knowing how to hp will save this batch unless of coarse you want to leave it and chunk it up later for a rebatch, but that's another thread. if you add things like ground oats and such having the soap on the thicker side will keep the addition of oats, botanicals ( most herbs will turn brown in finished product), suspended thru out the soap. pouring at too thin a trace may cause the emulsion to seperate in the mold. doing cp may cause the fragrance to rice or seize, your colorants may morph because it has come in contact with the lye. then there is the decision to gel or not to gel, and the unpopular partial gel. milk soaps may turn tan again, this depends on the gel or no gel thing. you use more fragrance oils because it is exposed to the lye, and the heat of the gel.
should be left alone for 4-6 weeks to finish evaporating out excess water. so if space is a problem hp takes less time. swirling is easier with cp.
hp: does take more time to do initially, because of the time it takes to go thru all the cooking stages. the look of the finished bar may be more rustic looking. you use less fragrance oils because they are added after the cook, as is milk or any superfatting oils. ( this way you know exactly what oils are doing your superfatting, with cp you can't pinpoint it exactly other then we know some oils contain more unsaponifiables.) and are not affected by the lye. the soap does not pour smoothly, it is more of a glop, and plop and smoosh. but once out of the mold the soap can be used right away but is better if left for a couple of weeks to get hard. swirls are more marbled then wispy. clean-up of soaping pot much easier.
Yeah, I expected it to be a lot harder than it was. maybe we just found it easy because we researched to the point of overkill before finally jumping in??!
I compare it to baking your first cake from scratch when you've grown up on box cakes. All your life you marvel at the mystery that is a "scratch cake" When you hear that somebody "made it from scratch" you're so impressed... Finally you try to make a cake from scratch yourself, and you realize DUH, that it's no more complicated than making a box cake, it just uses more ingredients!
I've started out with CP but had to rebatch one last week due to scale issues and one last night due to bad seize when fragrance was added. Some people hate to rebatch, but I love it...so I am going to start doing HP only for future batches that use fragrances that are known to seize. I think it's good to be well rounded and learn to do all processes.