If you’re new to the processes involved in soap making—or just want to find out what some common soap making terms mean—you might be confused by “cold process” vs. “cold press.” Although these terms sound quite similar, they actually refer to completely different processes. In short, cold process is a soap making procedure, while cold press refers to the process of oil extraction. Although they’re both related to soap making, knowing what they mean can help you choose higher-quality products and better understand the process.

Cold process soap making

Some soap making methods use a heat source, but this is not the case with cold process soap making. This method (which is sometimes called CP for short) combines oils and lye to create a soap. This slows the chemical reaction and allows the soap maker to create elaborate patterns and swirls.

In traditional soap making, the maker might use kettles, heat chambers or crockpots to speed up the chemical process. The heat increases the reaction rate, so the soap blends together faster—but it also doesn’t allow for cool designs.

Cold process just mixes the lye and oils together until it creates a stable emulsion. Then the maker is able to create intricate patterns or other designs without worrying that the soap will cool and harden too quickly. This method is preferred for most handcrafted soaps, while traditional soap making is usually used by industrial makers. Both will turn out perfectly usable soaps—but cold process usually indicates it’s handcrafted.

Cold press

Cold pressing, on the other hand, is a method of oil extraction—which is not a soap making process at all. Cold pressing involves grinding plant seeds or nuts into a paste, then mixing to ensure the oils coagulate. Next, the maker uses a mechanical press to extract the oils from the solids.

The cold pressing method turns out a higher-quality product than other methods of oil extraction, which may use heat or solvents. It’s also environmentally friendly—anytime you can avoid using solvents, you’ll get a cleaner end product that retains more of its nutrients, flavonoids and antioxidants. In other words, if you see the term “cold press” on soaps or essential oils, you know you’re getting a finer and purer product. The only drawback to cold press extraction is that it yields far less oil, making it more expensive.

Get more information about cold process vs. cold press

Now that you know the basic difference between these two processes, you can apply it to soap making and shopping knowledge. In short, cold process soaps will generally have more attractive designs. Since the process takes a lot longer to complete, the soap maker has probably made them by hand, ensuring a higher-quality product. Meanwhile, cold press essential oils are a higher quality oil that retains more nutrients and other positive compounds.

For the highest-quality soaps—made with high-quality essential oils—visit Soaps & Scents today or shop online. We look forward to helping you find what you’re looking for!