Ever wondered what the difference is between CPOP, HPOP, and CPHP? I’m hoping to set the record straight when it comes to various methods of using heat to aid in the soapmaking process. Or, at the very least, I’ve set out to tell my own accounts of what happens when I attempt these different methods. First, let’s take a look at CPOP.
CPOP: Cold Process Oven Process. Basically, CPOP is forcing a hot, extended gel phase with the help of an oven. Gel phase is temperature phase. After soap is in the mold, the process of saponification can cause the soap to heat up. Gel phase is beneficial to soap because it can intensify colors in the soap. Professor Kevin M. Dunn, author of Caveman Chemistry and Scientific Soapmaking, mentions that heat and gel phases also speeds along the saponification process. However, not going through gel phase doesn’t detract from soap in any way. In fact, some soapers prefer the matte look of soap that has NOT gelled, or gone through gel phase, and take special steps to prevent gel phase. The warmest part is in the center of the soap (the most insulated section), which is where gel phase starts. Insulating soap after molding will also promote gel phase, although CPOP will pretty much guarantee a full gel (as opposed to a partial gel, which can appear as a dark ring in the center of your soap). Cooling the soap as quickly as possible will deter gel phase from happening, which is why some soapers put their soap into the fridge or freezer directly after molding. To gel or not to gel is a matter of personal preference, but CPOP is all about the gel phase, baby! There’s a Q & A at the end of the tutorial for commonly asked questions.
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