Updated: Oct 15, 2018
Melt and pour utilizes a pre-made soap base that is ready to use as is. Literally, you could take the melt and pour block, as-is, get in the shower and lather away!
Cold process soap making is the act of mixing fixed oils (common oils include olive, coconut and palm) with an alkali (sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye). The result is a chemical process called saponification, where the composition of the oils change with the help of the lye to create a bar of soap.
With M&P soap base, the saponification and waiting step has been done for you while with cold process, you do it yourself.
One of the main benefits of cold process soap making is having complete control over ingredients. Cold process soap has no added detergents, which strip the skin of its natural oils. Additional ingredients may be added to increase the skin loving benefits.
Depending on the ingredients you use, cold process soap making typically yields a long-lasting bar of soap.
Cold process soaps are better for the environment, healthier for the skin and can be made incredibly moisturising with limitless designs and recipes. The only limit is your creativity.
Patience is a virtue. Cold process requires an awesome 6-8 weeks curing time to complete the entire process, the longer the merrier. That explains why they are more expensive than other types of handmade soap, time is money after all. Another downfall is the safety consideration to take into account when dealing with lye, the most essential material to make soap. However, with careful practice and the basic knowledge about it, cold process soap making is still a very safe, healthy and yet fun hobby.