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Topic: Soap soap soap, where to start?!  (Read 4445 times)
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« on: October 07, 2011 12:54:09 PM »

Hello hello!

So I've been lurking on soap sites for what feels like forever now, I've been scanning recipes and reading up on tutorials,  checking out suppliers, read the getting started threat etc but I still feel like I'm in the dark about a few things!

My ultimate plan is to maybe sell some soaps at my gym. I train at a mixed martial arts gym, and I was kind of inspired by Defense Soap - a soap company thats kind of aimed towards fighters, especially since hygiene is extremely important - gotta avoid MRSA and staph infections, yuck! BUT - their scents are limited, and as a girl I'd love to have some variety in soaps, and I'm sure the guys would buy into it!

Here's my little problems/questions

1. Cold process or melt and pour?
-I'm semi-impatient and I'd like to see my end product - especially since curing takes awhile from what I've read and I don't want to wait 4-6 weeks to have a million messed up batches until I get it right. But - can I still add things melt and pour soaps to make them really nice? Like - should  I just buy a shea butter M&P base, or can I add shea butter to another base?

2. For those of you that sell, how long did you practice making soaps before you got it perfect and felt like it was ready to be sold? I don't want to do a half-job and not be 200% ready! I want something simple, looks nice, smells great and makes you clean!

Thanks lots!!
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2011 02:05:31 PM »

Hi there! Definitely check out all our FAQ and getting started posts. Found here.

1) You have a third option: Hot Process soap! Melt and pour is, imo, for doing fun arty things, but not if you want a soap that's great for skin and natural. Hot process is cooked and ready to use immediately, so it sounds like it would fit you better.

2.) For all things selling related, please post here, as we don't talk about selling on the regular boards. I'll be sure to chime in over there if you get a post going Cheesy

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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2011 02:50:26 PM »

Awesome, thanks! I peeked at Hot Process but I didn't look at it as much as CP and melt and pour. I -thought- the melt and pour looked a little more fun and arty, I wasn't really fond of how they kind of looked clear and not quite so handmade as I'd like, so I'm glad to know I was kind of right!

I'm sure I'm far far away from being close to getting things started but once I get everything figured out, I'm sure I'll pop on over to the selling board, thanks so much!!
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2011 02:23:00 PM »

Melt and Pour soap is definitely the easiest way to start out in soaping Smiley There are several different types of bases you can check out... SFIC bases are a bit more natural and there are several "syndet" type bases out on the market, too. I prefer SFIC, but find I need to add an oil to the clear base 'cause it can be a bit drying. I've not had a chance (or the want) to try the syndet type bases, so I can't comment on those. If you're planning on adding fragrances, you may want to hold onto the bars for about 6 months, to see if the scent fades or colors morph. You never know how long your customers are going to hold onto the soap before using it, so you want to make sure your bars are good to go almost forever Smiley

For CP soap, you may want to take a year (at least) to start coming up with your own recipes and again, check for fragrance/color morphing, and DOS. It also gives you a chance to test your soaps with friends and family to see which recipes are more well-received (lather, bubbliness, moisturizing, etc. etc.). Also, the 4-6 weeks curing time... you can actually cut your soap a couple days after you make it. But, the longer it cures the milder and better it gets!

I started making soap April this year and fell in love. I've been planning on setting up a business in the future, but will probably be a couple more years while I get schooled on the business side of the business while continuing to work on my craft and understanding all the ins and outs of soaping.

Oh- and insurance! Before you sell anything, make sure you have business insurance!

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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2011 11:08:21 PM »

I second the melt and pour suggestion..that would at least give you a feel for whether or not this is what you want to do..and get a feel for soaping without a bunch of $$ invested..

always remember..that soap is something that people are putting directly onto their skin..yes its wash off but still people are trusting you and expect you to be knowledgeable about what you make and whats in your product..be confident and learn all you can about your ingredients..

if being in business is your goal longevity will only happen through product knowledge..learn all you can..good luck and cant wait to see what you come up with..

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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011 11:37:03 AM »

Thanks for all of the advice!
I absolutely plan on learning everything and anything I can learn about it, because I COMPLETELY agree. I want it to be as safe and professionally made as possible. I probably won't be using any of my own recipes for a very long time either!

I'm going to try out the Hot process and see how it goes, and I might do some fun melt and pours but there's lots and lots of research to be done yet SmileySmiley thanks!!
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« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2011 01:35:17 PM »

Hi Chelsea,
MP is lots of fun! I can recommend that you take notes whenever you make a batch of soap. Make sure you date it and keep it as a record. Then you can refer back to it over time and see your progress!

Happy Soaping!


Lisa Maliga has been writing ever since she learned how to put crayon to paper back in kindergarten. Since then, she has learned to type and uses a laptop, citing it as way more convenient. She still makes and uses her own soapy creations and bath & body products. Late at night she bakes.
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2012 08:09:33 PM »

I am new to soap making too. I had read a lot about it, but hadn't made the leap yet. What tipped me over was that there is a soap making supply shop in my city that offers classes. I am so glad that I spent the money on a class.

I took one on CP soap, in which there was some discussion time, where we went over the basics, and discussed a lot of the science behind soap, etc. Then we all got to make a 1 lb loaf, using the recipe and materials provided. Which was great, because I didn't have to invest in a lot of supplies for something I wasn't sure I would want to continue.

It was great having that experienced person there to confirm when we got to trace, to provide advice and suggestions about things I had never considered (such as base, middle and top notes when choosing fragrances and essential oils.) Even better was that having met the staff and knowing how experienced and helpful they are, I have gained an on-going resource for help when I need it.

I found out about the classes as they were listed on the stores website. They had a ton of others as well, for hot process, melt & pour, liquid soap using KoH, as well as other bath/beauty products. If there is something like that in your area, I cannot say how highly I recommend taking advantage of something like that.
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2012 06:22:41 PM »

I have only been making soap for a bit over a year and it is trial and error. I have made both cold and hot process and I enjoy both.
Hot process can be used sooner and cold process can be made into much prettier colors. There are different ups and downs for each one depending on what you are trying to get out of it.

For me the coloring and knowing how much fragrance to add has been a challenge. I am interested in trying to add other ingredients next. Some people are naturals at it lol I just struggle but practice makes perfect.  Smiley

« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2012 10:38:46 PM »

I recommend starting out with bath scrubs, bath salts or lotions. A much easier start in my opinion  Wink or melt-and-pour if your heart is set on soap making. In your own time you can experiment with CP or HP soap-making and you can later add it to your range when you have it down to a tee.

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