Have you ever seen soap as it is going through the gel phase? Below is a great picture that was snapped in the Soap Making Resource warehouse. This particular batch was colored a beautiful violet using alkanet root powder.
You can clearly see the darker color in the middle of the soap log. This darker hued portion of soap is the part currently going through the gel phase. As heat builds, eventually, the gel will spread to all corners of the mold, if, or course, the conditions are right and the heat is allowed to keep on building up.
If you want to cause your batch of soap to “gel”, simply insulate your batch with towels or blankets and allow the heat from the saponification reaction to build. If you don’t want your soap to go through the gel phase, keep it cool and at all costs, don’t allow the heat from saponification to build up.
Gelling your soap is completely optional. A gelled soap will have more of a translucent “gelatin like” appearance to it while non gelled soap will be more creamy looking. Which one is better is a matter of personal preference.
Have fun experimenting with both types and see which one you like best!
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