What is trace? Simply put, trace is a point in the soap making process when oils and lye water have emulsified. Once the soap has reached thin trace, it will continue to thicken over time. Mixing lye water and oils together starts the saponification process.
Depending on your recipe, it takes about 10-15 minutes of hand mixing/blending to get there. Thin trace is the best time to add colorants and fragrances because it’s easy to stir. It’s also easy to pour, so it’s perfect for swirl designs. As the soap sits, it will continue to thicken.