Gel Soap or Not
by Miriam Fields
What is the difference in appearance in cold process soap that does not go through the gel phase versus one that has?
When soap is going through the gel phase, it turns translucent in appearance, darkens up in colour considerably and the texture resembles petroleum jelly.
As the soap cools down and hardens back up it becomes opaque looking and the colour will lighten up again. However, the gelled soap doesn't fully return to the chalky opaque colour it was when it was first poured into the soap mold.
Non gelled soap will have a more chalky look to it. Whites are whiter and colours tend to be more true. (This is not taking into account the wild card factor of fragrance and essential oils).
Both methods are widely and successfully used. I tend to gel my soaps because of the design methods I use. The gel process helps to bond the pieces together. The use of mica and oxides in my soap gives the colour a more chalky look as well.