Today, we are going to take a deeper look at the natural ways to add scents, colors, and textures to your soaps. I know you want to make beautiful soap, yet you also want to keep your creation healthy and nourishing. I’ve got you covered!
Some natural additives are for exfoliating, while others moisturize your skin. A lot of additives change color once they go through saponification, some may rapidly speed your soap to trace, and still, others heat the soap so much that you need to treat it differently after pouring. I’ll make sure you have all the necessary information about natural additives; so, you will know what to expect before making your soap.
For clarity sake; I think it’s important I explain what additives are:
Additives are substances added to soap in small quantities to improve or preserve it.
Natural Additives for Soap
One thing I love about natural soapmaking is that there are so many options when it comes to natural additives. You can search around your kitchen for herbs, flowers, coffees, or teas to use. Even salt, oats, blackberries, and strawberries make great additives. Not only do all these natural additives contribute desirable qualities to soap-like exfoliating properties and beautiful color, but they also add nutritive and therapeutic qualities – just forget that BIG grammar. lol
For quality production; I am going to outline some of the considerations that should be made when adding natural additives to a recipe.
Many herbs, such as peppermint, nettle, lemon balm, lemongrass, lavender leaves, calendula, and chamomile, can be used for visual effect, exfoliation, or health benefits. Please keep in mind that most herbs turn brown when added at trace. If you want to avoid this, add them to the top of your soap right before it sets, or use finely powdered herbs like alkanet root, parsley, or spirulina for benefits to the skin and added color.
Activated charcoal is commonly used for detoxification and cleansing. Its beneficial impact on the health of skin, including helping acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Add 1 teaspoon per pound of soap.
Bentonite, rose, white kaolin, and Moroccan orange clays are some favorite clays to use. They add color, act as wonderful cleansers, and are used for detoxification. If you decide to try another clay, do some research first. Some clays can change the texture of the soap or don’t hold a true color after saponification.
Honey makes a creamy, bubbly soap. It also breaks down within the soap to nourish the skin in a way few other ingredients can. It is antimicrobial and a humectant that will absorb moisture from the air for your skin. I typically add 1 tablespoon of honey per pound of soap.
Goat, cow, and even coconut milk contain vitamins that our skin and hair need. Be aware, however, that using milk in your soapmaking does add a few more steps to the process. I recommend replacing no more than half of the water in a recipe with milk. You will still need to add lye slowly so that you do not burn the milk sugars, but you’ll have fewer problems with overheating your mixture.
Juices can be added to soap recipes, but these are a little harder to manage because the sugars can cause overheating. Most will turn a dark color within the soap, typically brown, depending on how much you add and how fast you add the lye to your juice and water mixture. Replacing 25 percent of the water with juice gives the bar a more golden color without browning or causing sugar difficulties.
My favorite exfoliants are ground oats, coffee grounds, tea leaves, groundnuts, and salt, though you can add other exfoliating ingredients from your kitchen. Just make sure to only add ingredients that have a long shelf life.
I love adding aloe to soap. Use full-leaf aloe vera, not just the common aloe taken from the inside of the leaf. This will ensure that your soap has more nutrients, including those that are stored within the green part of the leaf.
I do not recommend large pieces of fruit, but dried fruits work beautifully in soap. A little goes a long way. When using fruits, you need to be aware of the impact of the sugars on the soap. I typically do not insulate soaps with fruit or other high-sugar ingredients.
Before we go on, you may be wondering why you don’t see additives like titanium dioxide or mica in this book. Some soapers consider titanium dioxide to be natural because it is used in sunscreens, but studies have shown that it is absorbed into skin cells and can cause damage to DNA, so you won’t find it in my recipes. Likewise, many micas have been doctored to give brighter colors than what you would find naturally. I’ve chosen to stay away from controversial additives and GMO or ethically questionable oils.