Curing: Cold Process soap should cure for 4-6 weeks in a cool , dark place with air flow to allow any excess water or lye to evaporate. This creates a harder and milder soap that will last longer when wet, rather than dissolving.
Gel phase: Occurs once soap has been poured into moulds. Soap then develops a gelatinous and shiny appearance. Adding blankets over the moulds can force the soap through gel phase so the bars can be unfolded quicker. However, not all soaps makers use gel phase, since it is of cosmetic concern only. Un-gelled soap has a more matte appearance.
Trace: The point at which oils and lye are emulsified. There are 3 stages of trace. At thin trace, the soap has the consistency of thin cake batter. The soap thickens to medium trace and then thick trace. Adding fragrance, time and stirring can all influence the stage of trace.
Soda ash: A white, ashy film appears on the soap. This can form when unsaponified lye reacts with carbon dioxide, and is of cosmetic concern only. .