Any Cold Process Soap Makers Out There ?

Posted by andrew sanderson on

If you make cold process soap or are considering making, this is worth a read. One of our amazing customers took time out to write this on our facebook group and I thought it was worth sharing
As a cold process (CP) soap maker, I've noticed a troubling decline in fragrance oil quality over the past five years—a perplexing trend that prompted me to investigate further. I reached out to various soap communities to see if others were encountering similar issues—disappearing scents and oils that fail to endure saponification and curing.
Over the last six months, I've immersed myself in testing oils from numerous suppliers, learning some valuable lessons along the way. I've come to avoid suppliers offering perpetual discounts and a dizzying array of cheap scents—perfect for melts but inadequate for CP soap, which demands robust fragrances that withstand rigorous testing and prolonged curing periods.
Despite my efforts, I struggled to find a supplier who rigorously tests their fragrances in CP soap and openly shares this crucial information with micromakers like myself. Candle-maker suppliers, while adept at creating stunning scents, these unfortunately often fell short in the CP soap arena due to the heat-intensive saponification process, which can compromise fragrance vibrancy.
This year, my frustration peaked, after I purchased a Flexi assessment from MAF Cosmetics, hoping to uncover six standout scents for my creations. Yet, my quest seemed fruitless until I crossed paths with Cheryl from Fragrance Oils Direct. Cheryl, a scientist by trade, not only shares my passion for fragrance but also understands the intricate chemistry behind her products—a level of expertise that left me in awe.
Initially sceptical, I decided to give Cheryl's oils a try, purchasing them out of pocket for a fair trial. To my surprise and delight, they surpassed my expectations. Cheryl assured me they weren't sourcing from mass-produced, low-quality options favoured by big manufacturers. Her commitment to quality over quantity shone through in every scent I tested.
The fragrances from Fragrance Oils Direct are a revelation—some of the best I've encountered, reminiscent of the high standards I enjoyed five years ago when I first embarked on my soap-making journey. I'm eager to share my experiences with fellow makers, especially newcomers seeking premium fragrances that excel in CP soap.
Here are a few scents I've tried so far [see below list], most delivering on durability and scent retention—essential qualities for any soap-making venture. I hope my journey inspires others to seek out reputable suppliers and share their own successes, fostering a community where quality and craftsmanship prevail.
Christmas Tree – Imagine being enveloped in the essence of a lush pine forest. This earthy pine scent is a delight, maintaining its rich, green aroma without a hint of discolouration. It's wonderfully behaved and seems to slow down acceleration, offering the perfect opportunity for intricate and complex designs, as it allows for extended working time. Even after two months, the fragrance remains captivatingly fresh and vibrant, exuding a robust pine scent that's nothing like a typical cleaning product. It's a crisp, invigorating aroma that holds strong, making it an ideal choice for creating beautifully white soap without any unwanted colour changes.
The overall fragrance is pine and wood but not overpowering and not like cleaning products. Top notes of bergamot, frozen eucalyptus, orange peel and laurel, mid notes of sparkling cinnamon, white camphor and cyclamen finishing with base notes of fir needle, white balsam, cedar, sandalwood and musky notes
Amber & Dahlia – This scent is truly captivating, radiating a warm embrace with intriguing top notes that are tantalizingly elusive. Straight from the bottle, it's intense and robust, sparking curiosity about its evolution. While it might lose some of those top notes over time, it promises a fascinating transformation. In a standard batch, you'll need to act swiftly as it does thicken the batter.
2-Month Update: The scent has matured beautifully, maintaining a delightful balance with its warm and vibrant aroma. It's an intriguing and unique fragrance that stands out. The soap has discoloured to a light to mid-cream shade, which will influence your colour choices. So hues like vibrant orange, dirty orange, and taupe could be complementary.
Top notes of grapefruit, mandarin, fuji apple and nashi pear followed by mid notes of dahlia flower, black fig and wild rhubarb finishing with base notes of sandalwood, mallow root, amberwood and vanilla
Amber Peony – This scent is a delightful blend of floral and fresh notes, creating an intriguing and vibrant aroma. Straight from the bottle, it's intensely fragrant, hinting at a clean freshness that complements the floral undertones. Anticipation is building, I look forward to how it will evolve. In a standard batch, quick work is required as it tends to thicken the batter.
2-Month Update: This fragrance has proven to be a favourite, with its strong scent retention and vibrant character surviving the saponification process. There's very minimal discolouration, resulting in a super light beige colour, offering plenty of creative options. It's a lovely scent, and the prospect of using it in a larger batch and experimenting further is exciting.
Top notes of lemon, sun-kissed bergamot and mineral water, mid notes of orange blossom, lavender and white thyme rounded off with base notes of African teakwood, sheer leather, tonka bean and fluid musk.
Silver Birch & Balsam – This scent is a refreshing and invigorating delight, exuding a cool and fresh aroma that's simply irresistible. The exact notes may be hard to pin down, but the overall fragrance is absolutely lovely.
2-Month Update: Holy moly, this scent has only grown more stunning over time. It's incredibly strong, fresh, and vibrant, leaving you in a state of scent heaven. Even better, it hasn’t discoloured, making it a perfect choice for all your creative endeavours. Yes, yes, yes – this fragrance is a winner!
Top notes of crisp apple, alpine eucalyptus and falling snow accord followed by mid notes of iceberg rose, silver birch and cinnamon, rounded off with base notes of balsam, sandalwood , oakmoss and crystal musk
Petrichor – This scent is very earthy and robust, reminiscent of that distinct aroma when rain falls on dry soil. It's a bit of a marmite scent—definitely an acquired taste. While I don’t dislike it, I’m not sure if it’s something I’d choose to bathe in.
2-Month Update: Wowzers, this one is incredibly strong in scent retention. True to its name, it smells just like Petrichor: deeply earthy. It remains a marmite scent in my humble opinion—some people will love it, while others might find it akin to cleaning yourself with dirt.
Top notes of green apple, orange zest, galbanum and cucumber followed by mid notes of lemongrass, star anise, coconut and jasmine rounded off with base notes of earthy accord, vanilla bean, cedar, oakmoss and musk

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