When we mix our oils then add and mix in our lye solution  our soap thickens. This thickening is called trace. How do we know when our cold process recipe reaches trace?  We know because we can see that the soap batter has become thick after mixing it; thick enough to draw a line or a circle in the batter and the shape will stay so that we can see the shape traced in the batter.  Why do we want our soap batter to reach trace? Because that means the oils and lye solution have mixed well enough to have reached saponification. We want our batter saponified to ensure that all the lye, water and oils, and fragrance are evenly distributed throughout our soap bar.  If some bit of lye did not get used up, or bits of fragrance were left unmixed your final bar it would not be desirable for use. Using un-saponified soap would be like trying to eat a cake with clumps of flour or pockets of unmixed sugar or wet clots of oil in the batter. So be sure to understand the saponification process and bring your batter to trace to ensure a successful outcome of your soap recipe.  There are different types of trace from thin to thick to a solid chunk of soap called “seized”. Below is an example of a thick trace.  By Thermalmermom

Photo courtesy of Oak Hill Homestead


Thermal Mermom