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What are the ingredients for soap making?

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What are the ingredients for soap making?What are the ingredients for soap making?

Here at Natures Garden, we are often asked, “What are the ingredients for soap making?”.  We know it can be overwhelming at first.  Whether you have never made soap before or transitioning from creating melt and pour soap to taking on cold process soap.  Anything new can be a challenge at first and we are here to help you along the way.  Below, we will go through what ingredients and supplies are needed for each type of soap

What are the ingredients for soap making?: Melt and Pour Soap

First, we will talk about melt and pour soap.  This is a basic soap making method.  When using melt and pour soap, the saponification process is already done for you.  Natures Garden carries two pound slabs in several varieties.  Each slab is easy to cut and easy to use.

Melt and Pour Soap: Types of Melt and Pour Soap Bases

Goat’s Milk
Cocoa Butter
Soya Milk
Shea Butter
Hemp Oil
Diamond Clear
SLS Free Clear Glycerin

Melt and Pour Soap: Melting the Soap

So, melt and pour soap, or mp soap will first need to be cut.  We cut the soap into small pieces prior to adding it to a bowl and melting it.  This will allow the soap to melt evenly.  Melt and pour soap can be melted in a microwave oven or in a double boiler.  So, you will need to either have a microwave or a double boiler to make melt and pour soap.  You will also need a cutting board, knife, and at least one mixing bowl.  Once melted, it is ready to be scented and colored.

Melt and Pour Soap: Adding Color

While you can simply melt the soap and pour it into a mold, many choose to add color.  There are a few ways you can color your handmade soap.  Which colorant you choose is a personal choice.  Once your soap is melted, you simply add the color and stir.  Read below for more information on a couple of the types of colorants that you can use.

Adding Color: FUN Soap Colorants

First, Natures Garden’s FUN Soap Colorants can be used.  These colorants are pigments dispersed in vegetable glycerin.  These colorants will give you a nice vibrant color in both clear soap bases and white soap bases.

Adding Color: Da Bomb Soap Dyes

Next, we will take a closer look at the Da Bomb Soap Dyes.  These handmade soap dyes are water based.  These soap colorants work wonderfully in melt and pour soap.  In a white base, they will give you a nice pastel-like color.  However, in a clear base, they are true to color and very bright.

Melt and Pour Soap: Scenting the Soap

You have a couple of options when scenting your soap.  The first choice is whether or not to scent your soap.  You can leave it unscented if you would like.  Although, you can also add a wonderful aroma to the soap.  This aroma can either come in the form of body safe fragrance oil or body safe essential oil.  Either way, you choose to go, the scent simply can be added to the melted soap and mixed right in.  You will find more details on scenting options below.

Scenting the Soap: Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural oils that are plant based.  Natures Garden carries pure essential oils that pure and unadulterated.  They are not diluted in any way.  This option is a perfect addition to your handmade soaps.  While essential oils will be single note scents, you can always create your own blend by mixing them together.  This will make the scent a little more complex.

Melt and Pour Soap: Choosing a mold

Once you have melted, scented and colored your soap, you will simply need to pour it into the mold and allow it to setup.  It is just that simple.  Let’s look at some of your mold options in a little more detail.

Choosing a Mold: Embed Molds

Embed molds will be smaller molds just like the molds that you would use when making chocolate candies.  They are the perfect size for creating guest soaps.  They are also the perfect size to use for embeds or even to top a soap loaf.

Choosing a Mold: Silicone Molds

Silicone molds are really easy to work with.  Since they are super flexible, removing the soap from the mold is a breeze.  They are durable and withstand high heat.

Choosing a Mold: Mold Market Molds

Natures Garden also carries Mold Market Molds.  These molds are made of a heavy duty plastic.  So, they will hold up pretty well.  They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and will help you create some unique handmade soap.

Melt and Pour Soap: Additional Options

When it comes to melt and pour soap, we have technically answered the question, “What are the ingredients for soap making?”.  However, there are a few additional options that you may like to know about.

First, let’s talk about rubbing alcohol.  This can be a melt and pour soap maker’s best friend.  Rubbing alcohol can be sprayed on melt and pour soap to release air bubbles once it is poured into the mold.  It can also be sprayed in between layers of soap to help them adhere to each other.

Next, herbs and clays can be added to soap.  These can be powdered or cut.  While herbs will oxidize over time, each herb will bring a different benefit to your soap.  The powdered herbs can be mixed with vegetable glycerin before being added to your soap.  Many will often use the powdered herbs or clays not only for the benefits of the powder but also as a natural colorant.  The cut herbs are often used not only for the benefits the herbs possess, but also for exfoliation or to add decorative touches.

What are the ingredients for soap making?: Cold Process Soap

Cold process soap is a method in which you are starting completely from scratch.  If you are new to making soap from scratch, you will want to read our soap making safety class.  This will walk you through the basics, as well as safety precautions.   You will also want to read over our beginner’s soap making class, Cold Process Soap Class 101.  You always want to wear safety gear and have vinegar close by when making soap from scratch.  So, now that you have read about soap making safety and read our soap making 101 class, let’s look at the ingredients and supplies needed.

Cold Process Soap: Supplies

While there are several ingredients needed for cold process soap making, you will also need supplies and safety gear.  So, below, is a list of supplies you will need for cold process soap making.  However, you want these supplies to be dedicated only to soap making.  You never want to use any of these supplies to come into contact with your food once they have been used for soap making.

Safety Gloves
Plastic Safety Goggles
Digital Scale
Stick Blender
Stainless Steel Stock Pot or Bowl
Small container or bowl to mix colorants
Long handled plastic spoon or spatula
Mixing bowls (dishwasher safe so you know it withstands heat)
A kitchen thermometer
Freezer Paper (used to line molds and protect your work surface)
Paper towels (to clean up small spills)
Bottle of Vinegar (used in case of lye or raw soap coming in contact with skin)
Soap Mold

Cold Process Soap: Ingredients

Next, let’s talk about the actual ingredients used for cold process soap making.  Cold process soap is created using lye, water, and a combination of oils.  However, it really isn’t as simple as throwing it all together and hoping for the best.  First, you will prepare a lye solution.  Separately, you will prepare your oils.  Then, wait for them to come to the correct temperature before combining them.  Finally, you will begin pouring the batter into a mold.  Once it has setup up, after 24-48 hours, it can be removed from the mold.  It is then allowed to cure before using. Let’s look a little closer at each of these below, as each phase has to be done in a certain manner.

Ingredients: Lye Solution

In order to create a lye solution, there are two ingredients you will need.  You will need distilled water and lye.  Lye is also known as sodium hydroxide.  The water is first weighed out.  Then, the weighed our lye is added to the water.  It is important that the water is never added to the lye.  You always want to add the lye to the water.  If you do it the other way around, it can create a volcanic effect.  The lye is added slowly, stirring as it is added.  Then, the lye solution is set aside so that it can cool.

Ingredients: Soaping Oils

Next, you will need soaping oils.  However, the combination of oils you use is extremely important.  Each oil will saponify a certain amount of lye.  If you use the wrong combination of oils, you could end up with a lye heavy bar of soap.  So, before creating your soap and choosing your oils, you will need to determine your recipe.  You can use one of Natures Garden’s soap making recipes, or create your own.  However, if you choose to create your own, make sure you run the recipe through a soap calculator to make sure that the recipe will work.  We recommend using soapcalc.  You should know that some oils will create a harder bar, others softer.  In addition, some oils will slow trace, others will speed up trace.

Once you choose and weigh out your oils, you melt them and allow them to cool a bit.  You can melt the oils using a double boiler.  We recommend allowing both your lye solution and soap oils to come to around 100 degrees Fahrenheit before combining them.

Ingredients: Scenting the Soap

You can also choose to scent your soap with either a body safe fragrance oils or essential oil.  However, the scent you choose can affect your soap batter.  So, we have created videos to show you exactly how each of Natures Garden’s fragrance oils will perform in cold process soap.  In addition, you can find our most popular cp soap scents here.  You can also use essential oils in your soap.

Ingredients: Coloring the Soap

When it comes to coloring your soap, we recommend using the FUN Soap Colorants.  These colorants will come through beautifully in cold process soap.  We have also created videos showing you the range of shades you can get with the FUN Soap Colorants.  While we talked about the Da Bomb Soap Dyes for melt and pour soap, we don’t recommend them for cp soap.  While, yes, they are safe to use in any type of soap, they will morph, or change color during the saponification process.  During saponification, the cp soap batter reaches high temperatures and the Da Bomb Dyes will not stay true to color.

Ingredients: Choosing a Mold

You have a few options when it comes to a soap mold.  I like silicone molds.  They are easy to work with and hold up extremely well to the high temperatures of the saponification process.  Also, the soap comes out of the molds very easily.  However, you can also use a wooden mold.  In addition, some heavier plastic molds will work.  Although this isn’t true of all plastic molds, they must be able to withstand the high temperatures.

What are the ingredients for soap making?: Hot Process Soap

The last method we will talk about is hot process soap, also known as hp soap.  This method is also done from scratch.  The same safety precautions taken when making cold process soap should be taken when creating hp soap.  So, make sure you read both the cold process 101 class and the safety precautions I linked to above in the cold process section.

So, what is the difference?  Hot process soap can be created using a crockpot.  Of course, this would need to be a crockpot used only for soapmaking, not food once it used for soap.  Crockpot soap will not have as long of a cure time as cold process soap.  This is because the heat from the crockpot speeds up the saponification process.  However, the same recipes, fragrance oils, molds, and colorants can be used.

What are the ingredients for soap making?:  Additional Ingredients

There are a few ingredients that can be used in any type of soap.  First, Vanilla White Color Stabilizer.  This ingredient will lessen the discoloration that can be caused by vanillin that is in some fragrance oils.  Sodium lactate is often used in various soap making methods as well.  It is a natural moisturizer that will help harden the soap.  Sodium lactate is used in both cold process and hot process soap.  We also talked earlier about herbs and clay in melt and pour soap.  They can also be used when making soap from scratch.


Common Cold Process Soap Questions

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Common Cold Process Soap QuestionsCommon Cold Process Soap Questions

We at Natures Garden love to supply our customers with the best soap making ingredients and soap equipment that they need to succeed. But, you can’t utilize these tools if you don’t know how to. So, we want to answer some of the most common cold process soap questions that we get. This way we can help make your soap making experience as fun and exciting as possible!

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: What is the Shelf Life of Lye?Common Cold Process Soap Questions: What is the Shelf Life of Lye?

The shelf life of lye, sodium hydroxide, when properly stored is one year. After a year it is possible for your lye to work, but you should do a small batch to test whether the lye is still good. If it is actually expired, then it may not come to trace quickly or could separate after it is poured or set up. So, you will be able to notice an obvious difference if you make a small testing batch,

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: How Do I Make My Cold Process Soap Last Longer?

There are a few things that you can change to make your homemade soap last even longer. First, you can use additives, like sodium lactate or stearic acid, to harden the bar. Also, harder oils, like palm oil, can be helpful. Lastly, increasing the cure time, as water evaporates out, and decreasing the time in the shower will create a harder bar.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Is It Possible to Use Baby Oil as One of the Oils in a Soap Recipe?

No, you shouldn’t use baby mineral oil in your soap recipe for two reasons. First, it has already been scented. Second, the mineral oils won’t saponify.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: How Do Your Make Cold Process Soap?Common Cold Process Soap Questions: How Do Your Make Cold Process Soap?

If you ever wondered how to make soap from scratch, then this is the answer. Before you begin you will either need to formulate a recipe or choose a recipe already formulated, we suggest using our Beginners Cold Process Soap Recipe if this is your first time. We also recommend reading through our cold process soap making classes, especially the soap making safety class. While there is a little more detail and safety practices to follow, this is the most basic method for soaping. First, you create a lye solution by slowly adding lye to water. In a separate bowl, you will have your weighed and melted oils and butters. You will combine these ingredients at a similar temperature and mix until your batter trace, which is a thicker consistency.  The soap is then poured into a soap mold. Once it has setup, it is removed from the mold and allowed to cure.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Why Are My Citrus Scents So Light in my Cold Process Soap?

Citrus scent oils often have a low flash point, so they are more likely to burn off the fragrance during the saponification process. During this process, the soap will reach very hot temperatures, which are able to burn off certain scents. It is common for citrus scents to be affected by this issue. How can I prevent this? First, make sure that the maximum amount for fragrance has been added. Also, you can anchor the scented oil by using a scent with a that is heavier, like vanilla. Alternatively, some soapers use kaolin clay to enhance the scent, but it can make your soap too slick.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Are Fragrance Oils or Essential Oils Better for Cold Process Soap?

You can use both essential oils and fragrance oils to scent cp soap. However, fragrances tend to hold better and the scent lasts longer. This is because fragrance oils have top, middle, and base notes that will hold up better together. On the other side, some single note oils whether they be essential oils or fragrance oils, are more likely to burn off. So, you will want to test each oil in cold process soap.


Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Can Cold Process Soaps Be Molded into Different Shapes?Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Can Cold Process Soaps Be Molded into Different Shapes?

Of course! There are many different styles of molds that you can use for soap making. Just don’t forget that this type of soap gets very hot. So, you need to make sure that you either use a silicone soap mold or a very thick plastic mold, like some of our Mold Market Soap Molds. However, plastic embed molds are not thick enough to hold your soap without melting and making a big mess. If you are unsure about a certain mold, it might be best to just save that shape for melt and pour soaps.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: When Can I Cut Cold Process Soap?

Before you can cut your finished soap loaf, you need to wait for a bit. While the exact time varies for each batch depending on size and ingredients, we suggest waiting for 24-48 hours before removing and cutting your nearly finished soaps. However, you can use a gloved hand to check the soap to determine whether the soap is too soft. On the other hand, you don’t want to wait too long or the soap may dry too much and crumble as you cut.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: How Long Does Soap have to Cure?

The exact amount of time your soaps take depends on your recipe that the amount of lye in it. However, most batches take about 2-6 weeks for the soaps to fully cure and be safe to use.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Does Natures Garden Offer Cold Process Soap Making Recipes?Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Does Natures Garden Offer Cold Process Soap Making Recipes?

Yes, we have all kinds of cold process soap recipes under the Cold Process Soap Recipes parts of the in the Free Recipes and Classes section of the NG site. There are so many options that it can be difficult to choose!

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: What Kind of Conditions Does CP Soap Need to Cure After it is Removed From Mold?

After your soap has been removed from the mold and sliced into bars, you will need to allow them to cure for a while. First, you will want to make sure that they are in a cool, dry environment. Also, you want to make sure that the bars a few inches apart. This will expose more of the bar to the air, which allows them to dry and set up properly.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: What Will Make Cold Process Soaps Freeze or Set Up too Soon?

The oils that you use will come into play. Too much of some harder oils and butters can cause the soap to set up faster than others.  Additives can also cause your batter to accelerate.  However, often, this is an issue caused by the fragrance oil. Each fragrance performs differently in cp soap and the ones that cause too much acceleration can lead to seizing, or a sudden setting up, in the soap batter before it has made it to the mold. Further, there are some fragrance oils that will actually slow down the process and give you time to really work on a recipe.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Do You Have Any Tips for Working with Problem Fragrance Oils in Cold Process Soap?Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Do You Have Any Tips for Working with Problem Fragrance Oils in Cold Process Soap?

It’s always a bummer when a scent you enjoy is a “problem fragrance oil”, but there are some things that will allow you to work with this fragrance oil anyway. First, we have the issue of acceleration. While we can’t fix the fragrance, we can cool our oils and lye water to room temperature before we start the saponification process. The cooler temperature takes longer to get to trace, which will help balance the acceleration from the fragrance oil. Also, you can formulate a soap recipe with oils that will slow trace, like sunflower oil. Although these two tricks can be used to slow an accelerated trace, it can’t stop a soap from seizing.

Second, we have the issue of separation. Sometimes a fragrance that separates from the mixture can be stick blended back in with enough effort. Also, it is possible for the scent to reabsorb during the curing process. You just need to keep an eye on these to determine whether the fragrance is worth using in cp soaps. Third, we have the issue of ricing, which is when little chunks form in your batch. While this can’t be prevented, it can be stick blended until the ricing is smoothed out. However, this only works in some cases.

Finally, some fragrance oils can cause your soap to discolor. Some scents can’t be prevented, but there are some cases when a soap additives can do the trick. If the description of your scent says it contains vanillin, it will discolor your soap to a shade of brown. However, you can use Vanilla White Color Stabilizer to help lessen any discoloration due to vanillin. Other kinds of discoloration will just have to be included into the soap design.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: What is the Best Way to Clean Up Cold Process Soap?Common Cold Process Soap Questions: What is the Best Way to Clean Up Cold Process Soap?

After you pour your batch into the soap mold, you may realize that you have a mess on your hands. Whether you spilled a few drops, made a complete mess, or only have the bowls to wash out, you are going to need to know how to safely clean up your lye mixtures. Before you get started, it is extremely important to have something on hand to neutralize the soap batter. So, you will need vinegar, which we prefer to have in a spray bottle to make it easy to apply in case of skin contact. After all the batter on the counter and soap equipment has been neutralized, you can begin cleaning with soapy water, we use dawn dish soap, to clean everything up again.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Is it Okay to Use My Soaping Bowls and Utensils for Cooking After Using it for CP Soapmaking If I Prewash It and Then Run It Through the Dishwasher?

No, it is very unsafe to use your soap making equipment in the kitchen. After you’ve used a bowl, mold, or other utensil for soaping you should never use it for anything other than soapmaking. Lye is very reactive and has the potential to do some serious harm after ingestion. So, it is a horrible idea to put this soaping equipment in contact with food or cooking utensils.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: What Would Cause a Batch of Soap to Erupt While in the Soap Mold?Common Cold Process Soap Questions: What Would Cause a Batch of Soap to Erupt While in the Soap Mold?

Natural sugars in soaping ingredients can lead to an eruption, as  the soap gets hotter than it typically does. CP soap can erupt due to improperly  adding things like beer, wine, or milk. First, freezing these ingredients before adding them is helpful. If you are using beer, then make sure that you release all of the carbonation before including it in soap. Also, you will want to boil wine before adding it to your soap.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Can I Use Cup Measurements for Soap Making?

For soap making, we would recommend using weighted measurements . Using a scale is much more accurate and will ensure that you have a quality batch of soap. Otherwise, you may accidentally do something to mess up your soaps. For example, you could add to little oils and create a lye heavy batch.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Can You Make Good Quality Soap Using the Cold Process Soap Method Without Palm Oil?Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Can You Make Good Quality Soap Using the Cold Process Soap Method Without Palm Oil?

Absolutely. One of the best parts about making cp soap is that you can include whatever oils and butters you want. You can use SoapCalc to combine your favorite soaping ingredients in a perfect batch of soap! If you would rather follow a recipe that we have formulated, Natures Garden has a few recipes under Free Recipes and Classes that are made without palm oil. For example, there is  our Calendula Sunshine Cold Process Soap Recipe and our Argan Soap Recipe.

Common Cold Process Soap Questions: Reach Out to UsCommon Cold Process Soap Questions: Reach Out to Us

We hope that you learned something useful for making cold process soap in this blog. If you have any further questions, you can reach out to us in the store, on the phone, or online. If you want to reach out to us online, then try out social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter (@ngscents), and Instagram (@ngscents). Have fun soapmaking!