06 May 2016

Your Guide to Melt and Pour Additives

Learn how to customize melt and pour soap with various additives.

Melt and pour soap is a fun craft to make for yourself, for sale, or for gifts. It's inexpensive, especially compared to making cold process or hot process soap, and you don't have to use lye. Lye can cause serious injuries if not used properly. I didn't use it or keep it in the house until my kids were older because I was worried about an accident or getting distracted.

Melt and pour soap, by contrast, is easy to make. You just need a microwave and a knife to cut the soap, and you can make a custom bar of soap in about 10 minutes. Older kids can even help with adult supervision.



With traditional soap recipes, you have to be very careful about the amount of oils and other additives that you use or your soap may be a fail. You don't have to be nearly as careful about adding things to melt and pour soap.

But you can't add just anything to melt and pour because it can irritate your skin - and some natural herbs are even poisonous. After you've made a few tried and true recipes, you might want to start experimenting with different additives. Here is a list of safe melt and pour additives. You'll want to make small batches the first time and test them to make sure they work well so you don't waste a lot of product.

MELT AND POUR SOAP ADDITIVES


Links in this post may be affiliate links, which means that I earn a small commission from sales.

WHAT IS MELT AND POUR SOAP?

Melt and pour soap is a premade soap base that is ready to use, or you can customize it.  You can cut a chunk off of the block and use it right away if you want!  While it's a decent soap to use on its own, that's no fun.  It's more fun to melt it and add things to it to make a pretty bar or a functional bar for a specific need.

Melt and pour soap, sometimes called glycerin soap, is made of fats, glycerin, and lye.  The saponification process has already be done, so you don't have to add lye to make a true soap.

MELT AND POUR SOAP BASES

When you're shopping for a melt and pour base, you'll find several options.  Here are some of the varieties that you may find:


And more!

Which melt and pour base should you use?  That just depends on what you want the bar of soap for.  I generally just buy white and clear melt and pour soap.  I get mine from Crafty Bubbles.

If you want to have a scrubbing bar, you might want a suspension base to suspend whatever you add for scrubbing.  Castile or oatmeal would be good for a gentle bar.

I don't buy the shea butter, cocoa butter, or honey varieties because I can just add the ingredient myself.


HERBS AND FRUIT




Calendula is good for eczema, minor cuts, and to speed up healing.

Chamomile blossoms help protect the skin from free radicals and are gentle for sensitive skin.

Coffee beans can be used as a deodorizer and natural fragrance.


Eucalyptus leaves are antiseptic and naturally anti-inflammatory.

Ginger smells great and tones skin.

Green tea is a natural astringent and anti-inflammatory, so it's good for acne prone skin.

Lavender buds are said to help speed up healing.

Lemon peel smells great and can help tone skin.

Orange peel helps brighten the skin and is good for acne.

Peppermint leaves cools the skin and can help balance oil production.

Poppy seeds can help fight inflammation, so it's good for eczema.

Rose hips can help reduce dark spots and reduce scars.

Strawberry leaf is full of antioxidants and can help repair damage to the skin.


Nuts



Almonds are high in vitamin E, so they can help treat acne.  They may be too abrasive for a facial bar.
Coconuts can help moisturize dry skin.

Hazelnuts are hydrating and moisturizing for dry skin.


OILS AND BUTTERS

Sweet almond oil  is high vitamins A and E to moisturize your skin.  Do not use if you have a nut allergy.

Cocoa butter helps heal dry skin.  It also soothes irritated skin.

Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and antifungal.  It's also moisturizing for your skin.

Olive oil Is a heavy oil, but it's moisturizing for your skin.

Shea nut butter is good for very dry skin.  It adds moisture and has some anti-aging properties.

Learn more about different carrier oils in this post about carrier oils and their benefits.  Or learn even more in my book Carrier Oils.


SPICES



Anise is naturally antiseptic.

Cinnamon is good for dry skin and acne prone skin.  It also smells great.

Clove is naturally antiseptic, so it's good for acne prone skin.

Paprika is naturally antibacterial and an anti-inflammatory.

Vanilla pod can help speed up the healing of minor wounds.

OTHER ADDITIVES


Aloe vera gel is moisturizing for dry skin.

Cornmeal is a good abrasive for a scrubbing bar of soap.

French clay can pull dirt, debris and oil from the skin.

Glycerin attracts moisture to your skin, so it hydrates without making your skin oily.

Honey is full of antioxidants and naturally antibacterial.

Powdered milk (cow or goat) has vitamins and minerals to make your skin glow.

Oatmeal is soothing for irritated skin.

Pumice is a natural abrasive for a scrubbing bar.

Rosewater is a natural anti-inflammatory and can control excess oil.

Sea Salt can exfoliate your skin and balance excess oil.

Wheat bran helps combat oily skin.


HOW MUCH TO ADD TO MELT AND POUR SOAP


Generally, you should add a tablespoon of melt and pour additives for each pound of soap. You may need more or less for different recipes, so you will have to experiment. If you want to add two things, use a half of a tablespoon for each one. Adding too much can prevent your soap from setting up.

Other Tips


Do not add fresh fruits or vegetables to melt and pour base because the soap can become rancid.  You also want to avoid using fruit powders because they can grow moldy.

Not everything that can be added to traditional soap can be used in melt and pour because of the risk of mold.  Make sure that you don't add anything that isn't completely dried.

Avoid using large pieces of herbs or flowers because they can clog your drain and make an uncomfortable bar of soap.

Do not use a harsh abrasive on your face.















Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm in Ohio with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, five goats, several chickens, and homing pigeons. She loves Gilmore Girls, coffee, and her kids. Not in that order.