I've moved from handcrafting MP soaps to also making CP soaps, and now I've drifted over into CPHP (crock pot hot process) soaps. All three of these soapmaking methods are enjoyable. With MP, I get to play with awesome designs and really creative designer soaps. With CP (cold process), I have the ultimate say on exactly what goes into my soaps and how much. I get to lovingly tend to the freshly-poured soap, insulating it, keeping it safe, then waiting more-or-less patiently as it sets up. Then I get to cut it, revealing each slice and in the weeks it takes the soaps to cure and harden, our entire downstairs smells wondrously of the curing soaps.
Once I got comfortable with CP, I decided on a whim to experiment with CPHP. Hot process is actually where soap began. Settlers didn't have weeks to wait for soap to cure. Just imagine a woman standing over a black iron kettle stirring soap with a long wooden spoon over an open flame. That's the root of HP. HP is like CP, only I use heat to speed through the gel phase, so when the soap is ready to pour into the mould, it's actually fully saponified soap. Several hours later when it's completely hardened and ready to unmould, it's ready to use. In short, HP is ready to use immediately, but it takes a week of curing and hardening before it's ready to sell.
HP is fun, because I have the ingredient control of CP, but the more instant gratification of MP. HP doesn't set up pretty, though. It's very glumpy when it's still loose, so the top doesn't look very smooth like with CP. That's OK to me, though. As a fellow soaper said in an online forum we're both on, the rough top just makes it look more homemade. My first batch was Aloe and Tea Tree. The batch I'm working on as I type this is going to be Lemon Verbena. I'm experimenting with an infusion of dandilion flowers as my colorant. As far as I know, it's never been done before. The challenge is finding enough of them to infuse, as well as finding some that haven't been chemically treated. Roadsides are good for this, though I understand that some city and county police officers aren't always so understanding of crafters harvesting wildflowers (read: weeds) on the side of the road, though I didn't have any trouble the day I harvested mine. Once I get this batch done, I'll take some pictures to post.
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