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Soap

Melt and Pour Guide

A melt and pour soap base consists of a few high-quality ingredients such as vegetable glycerin and natural fatty acids that can be used to easily create soaps right in your own home.

By using an array of different molds and combined with your own fragrances and colorful dyes, you can create a truly incredible variety of different soaps full of beneficial ingredients that are not only great for your skin but stimulating to your senses as well.

This guide will cover the most important aspects of creating your own soap with melt and pour soap bases and why you should focus on selecting only the highest quality plant-based ingredients for your soaps in order to get the best possible results.

Creating your own soaps can be a fun and rewarding experience if done correctly, and can even help you improve your skincare regimen through the use of more impactful ingredients in the soaps you use every day.

The Benefits of Using Nourishing Ingredients

Taking care to only use beneficial and nourishing ingredients is important if you are concerned about the health of your skin as well as the overall health of your body. Your skin is actually porous and absorbs quite a bit of what touches it, which means your soaps and other personal care products can have a powerful impact on your well-being.

There has recently been a growing demand for soaps, lotions, body washes, shampoos, and similar products that contain ingredients that are not only more effective but truly beneficial for our body. Rather than simply “cleaning” the skin, it’s possible to impact it on a deeper level, cleaning it while maintaining the natural balance of oils and providing vitamins and minerals that actually help make your skin softer and stronger with continual use.

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Keeping your skin healthy is a critical aspect of self-care and personal hygiene. While you may not even be aware how important it is to ensure that your skin is getting what it needs, the reality is that your skin is considered the largest “organ” of your body and requires quite a bit of attention and care if you are to keep it strong and feeling youthful and glowing.

The soap you use plays a key role in all of this, as an overreliance on soap with cheap ingredients can dry out your skin and leave it red and irritated. You may not notice these changes after you take a shower or wash your hands, because such issues arise over time as the oils on your skin are slowly stripped away and the artificial ingredients are allowed to be absorbed time and time again.

When you make your own soap from scratch starting off with the right nourishing ingredients, you wind up with a much more impactful product that will not only cleanse your skin but leave it feeling smooth and refreshed as well.

Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Own Soap

Using melt and pour soap couldn’t be easier, but there are a few guidelines you should follow to get the best results and make the process easier.

There are a few tools you will need, Nothing fancy is required, a cutting board, large sharp knife, clear measuring cup, basic measuring spoons, and a whisk or stirring spoon should be all you need to get creating.

The first step of the creation process is to cut off the appropriate amount of soap base and stick it in your glass measuring cup. Depending on the size and shape of your mold, you may only need a part of your base to fill the cavity. The amount you need is typically determined by weight, and each mold differs, so you should have a good idea of the requirements before you begin.

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Once you have the proper amount of soap you need measured, it’s time to do some melting. All you need to do is stick the cup of soap in your microwave and heat it up in short bursts until the base has been melted through completely. If you are unsure of your microwave’s power or if you think yours has a reputation for overcooking things, you may want to begin with 30-second bursts and go from there. Melt times may differ considerably depending on the size of the soap base as well as the specific ingredients used. Most only take a few minutes under normal wattage microwaves on the normal setting, while some may take a little while longer.

Adding Moisturizers: Moisturizers such as vegetable butters, vegetable oils, and clays can be added as the melt and pour soap base is heated. It might seem counterintuitive to use clay as a moisturizing ingredient, as it is known to have properties that draw out the moisture from the skin, but in its damp phase, it exudes beneficial minerals. The rate of usage for moisturizers is approximately 1 – 2 tbsp per pound (0.45 kg) of soap base.

Adding a moisturizer like Mango Butter will allow your soap to help combat skin irritations such as dryness, fine lines, wrinkles, sunburn, insect bites, rashes and stretch marks. Conditioning butters like Shea and Cocoa provide a creamy lather as well as hardness to the soap. Cocoa Butter helps skin retain moisture and protects it against harsh environmental pollutants by creating a barrier, and it provides soap with the added benefit of its mild, pleasant smell.

Clays such as Rhassoul will not only clean and firm but also condition and nourish the skin.  To add clay to a soap base without causing the clay to clump when it comes in contact with the soap, it must first be made into a paste with distilled water. 0.33 tbsp (1 tsp) of clay can be distilled in 1 tbsp of distilled water. Clays tend to add earthy colors to soaps.

Next is the best part of the whole process, adding your own essential oils extract.

EXTRACTS

Extracts introduce the beneficial properties of their original plants into the soap. They can be added to the melted soap at a rate of 1-2 tbsp per each pound (0.45 kg) of soap and stirred in with a spoon just before the mixture is poured into the mold. The following are some popular choices for extracts that are incorporated into the melt and pour soap making process:

  • CHAMOMILE EXTRACT is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Its calming scent also helps with stress relief.
     
  • GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT is known to protect and nourish skin with its antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, and E. It promotes cellular health and works as a disinfectant.
     
  • GREEN TEA EXTRACT is a rich source of anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E and is known to soothe sunburnt or irritated skin. It also helps repair cells that are damaged from such causes as harsh environmental factors, aging, and acne.
     
  • GUAVA FRUIT EXTRACT is high in Vitamins A, B, and C is thus known for its anti-aging properties and its ability to prevent the oxidation of cells.
     
  • PAPAYA FRUIT EXTRACT naturally lifts and rejuvenates skin while making it smoother and softer. It stabilizes oily skin and exfoliates dry skin. Its rich Vitamin A content helps repair skin by increasing cell formation, and its Vitamin C content makes it a potent anti-oxidant.

As far as knowing how much fragrance you want to add, you can’t go wrong with about a 15ml of oil per 500g of soap. You have a little room to experiment here but remember that with essential oils, a little goes a very long way.

Keep in mind, you want to add your fragrance after you have finished heating your soap. Microwaving essential oils is not recommended and can degrade their quality.

Adding Exfoliants: Exfoliants are ingredients with textures and properties that lend them the ability to polish dry, dull skin. They work to remove the dead cells on the top layer of skin. To prevent a layer of exfoliating botanicals from forming in the soap, it is a good idea to avoid using too much of the exfoliant and to ensure continuous stirring of the soap batter after the exfoliants have been added. In general, the rate of exfoliant usage is 1 – 2 tablespoons per pound (0.45 kg) of soap. If a coarse, abrasive soap is desired then the amount of exfoliant needs to be higher than this recommended base amount.

  • FINE EXFOLIANTS (E.G. COLLOIDAL OATMEAL, JOJOBA BEADS): These can be added to the soap base after the fragrance is added.The best way to incorporate colloidal oatmeal is to grind it up into the texture of oat flour and to disperse it in a liquid such as oil or water to prevent clumping in the melted soap. Jojoba beads are small, smooth, waxy spheres that provide a gentle exfoliation. As with the oatmeal, they should be incorporated into the soap mix when it is at a temperature between 48 °C – 51 °C (118 °F – 123 °F).  If the temperature is higher than this, both the oatmeal and the beads will float at the top rather than remain suspended evenly throughout the final product. It is best to use just a pinch of beads to begin, as the more jojoba beads that are used, the harder it will be to ensure they are spread out evenly.
  • MEDIUM EXFOLIANTS (E.G. FINE GRAIN DEAD SEA SALTS, SUGAR, SHREDDED LOOFAH): Due to the speed with which soap tends to set when salts are added, it is best to move quickly when adding them to the base and to mix them in well with a spoon. It is ideal to spoon rather than pour the soap into the mold to avoid fast setting. Soaps containing salt need to be cut about an hour after being poured into their molds, otherwise, they crumble when being cut. Sugars can be added when the soap is melted halfway and then stirred in quickly with a spoon until it is completely dissolved. Then it should be mixed with hands into a paste and pressed firmly into molds. Adding sugar has the added benefit of increasing the soap’s lather. It is best to add shredded loofah after the soap has slightly cooled so that the shreds remain suspended in the melted soap. Shredded loofah can be embedded into soap by sprinkling it onto the melted soap in layers inside molds: pour the first layer of soap and allow it to firm up before sprinkling the loofah onto it, and then pour another thin layer of warm soap over that.
  • LARGE EXFOLIANTS (E.G. COFFEE GROUNDS, STRAWBERRY SEEDS): Add the coffee grounds once the soap has become liquid and the heat has been turned off. Then pour the mixture into the molds. After strawberry seeds are added to the melted soap, they should be mixed in thoroughly to promote even suspension throughout the soap. For a more abrasive soap bar, the seeds can be added to just one side of the soap. To start, use 1 – 2 teaspoons per pound (0.45 kg) of soap. Adjust the amount as needed.

Once you have added your Exfoliants and Fragrance, you can move on to adding the color you want.

As with all components of your soap, you want to make sure that you are only using safe and natural dyes such as the ones you can find here in our online store.

It only takes a little bit of product to color an entire batch of soap, but to get the best results you want to follow the corresponding directions for that particular product. Once you add the color in question, simply mix the concoction together with a whisk or similar tool, and that’s all there is to it.

PEARLESCENT MICAS: These are shimmery powder dyes. Before being added to a melt and pour soap, they should be mixed with a small amount of oil or glycerin or they will not disperse properly and will instead clump in one spot. Another way of implementing micas into soap is by sprinkling small amounts of them between several layers of the soap. They do not dissolve in liquids or mix with other colors, so using them in translucent melt and pour soap means they will give it a bright sparkle and crisp, clean lines.

NATURAL COLORANTS (CLAYS, HERBS): are natural and more subdued dyes that do not bleed or fade. They produce soap colors in a range of colors including cream, yellow, gray, green, purple, red, pink and orange. Before adding a clay to soap, it is a good idea to mix it with an equal amount of water until it is liquid, as clays draw moisture into themselves and adding them directly to soap can thus cause the soap to crack or crumble.

PIGMENTS (OXIDES AND ULTRAMARINES): These are powdered dyes. They are similar to micas in that they need to be mixed with water before being added to soap. The designs made with pigments will also be vivid and well-defined inside soap.

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USING SOAP MOLDS

To ensure that soaps will be easily released from their molds, a coating can be applied to the molds.

Gently heat the following ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp petroleum jelly
  • 1 tbsp mineral oil (baby oil)

This mixture can be kept in a jar and can be spread onto molds with a small pastry brush to lightly coat the molds. Silicone brushes found in the cooking section of your local dollar store are great for this.

Once you have reached this step, all that is left is to pour the soap into your mold of choice. When pouring, take extra care to be slow and methodical, which will help prevent spilling any, which would ultimately be a waste of good soap. Now all that’s left is to let your soap rest for a few hours. To make sure no unwanted particles or debris fall into the soap, simply cover the mold with cellophane or place it in a location that is safe and out of the way. The refrigerator is fine as well. Spraying a little pure alcohol to dissipate bubbles.

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