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essential oil soap making. making soap with essential oils, soapmaking with essential oils.

Essential Oil Soap Making Glossary


When a soap mixture starts to thicken and come to trace very quickly, sometimes so quickly that it becomes difficult to work with.


A white, crystalline substance that can form on the outside of melt and pour soap. This happens due to the water loss commonly associated with melting the soap base in the microwave or leaving it out uncovered.

Cold Process

A soap making method in which the oils and lye are separately prepared, mixed and allowed to react without any additional heat sources.


The period after soap is made before it can be used. Cold process soap should be left for four to six weeks before use. During this time, the soap becomes milder and the bar hardens.


A cleaning agent similar to soap, but is made of chemical compounds rather than lye and oils.


A substance that can soften or smooth the skin.


An abrasive substance meant to remove dead skin cells and dirt and debris from the skin.


The lowest possible temperature at which the vapors of a liquid will ignite into flame if introduced to a source of ignition. Flashpoints can be found on an ingredient’s SDS.

Gel Phase

A part of the saponification process that happens after the soap has been poured into the mold where it heats up and becomes more translucent in appearance.


A viscous, sticky, clear substance that is a byproduct of saponification. This is often removed from commercial soap but is retained in homemade cold and hot process soap. It acts as an emollient and humectant.

Hot Process

A soap making process that starts similarly to Cold Process, but then adds an external heat source to speed up the saponification process.


A substance that attracts water from the environment and aids in its absorption into the skin.


Another name for Sodium Hydroxide, the caustic base used in soap making. 

Melt and Pour

A soap making method that involves using a pre-made soap base that has already undergone the saponification process. The bases can be melted, customized, and poured into molds.

Raw Soap

The freshly combined mixture of lye water and oils. Soap that is still going through the saponification process.


The process of grating and melting down previously made cold or hot process soap with a small amount of liquid. This can be done to correct something about the previous batch of soap or to add delicate additives that may not survive the saponification process.


A reaction that can occur between a fragrance and the oils in a soap recipe. Small rice-like bits form in the soap from the fragrance binding with the harder oils.

SAP Value

An abbreviation for "saponification value", a numeric value used to calculate the quantity of lye needed to saponify an amount of oils.


The chemical reaction from combining lye water and oils that occurs to make soap.


A more extreme form of acceleration where the soap mixture thickens so quickly, that it starts to become solid before reaching the mold.


The result of the chemical reaction between lye and oils. This is the result of the saponification process.

Soda Ash

A powdery, white film that can form on the surface of soap that comes from unsaponified lye that reacts with carbon dioxide in the air. This is commonly associated with soap making at a thin trace or not insulating your soap while it is in the mold.

Sodium Hydroxide

Name of the substance also known as lye, the caustic base that is combined with oils in soap making.


To superfat a soap recipe means to add extra oil that will not react with the lye to create soap. This adds a moisturizing quality to the soap.


The part of the soap making process when the raw soap mixture begins to thicken and a visible trail is left when the mixture is drizzled onto itself.


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