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
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.
Plastic Safety Goggles
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)
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.