In our last soap post
we talked about a oils and their different properties in soap. In this post, we'll discuss additives and all that other fun stuff! Prepare for a long read, additives, like oils are almost uncountable. ;)
Additives are (big surprise) anything that you add to soap, that is not oil, lye or necessary liquids. There are many categories of additives. Exfoliants, dyes, salts, botanicals, and more. Check out more here.
Fine-ground Oatmeal, Fine-ground Pumice, Baking Soda, and Fine-ground Bamboo extract.
Walnut Shells, Jojoba beads, Sugar, Salt, Shredded Loofa sponge, Crushed Grape seeds, and Ground Pumpkin seeds.
Poppy seeds, Coffee grounds, Cranberry seeds, Loofa sponge, and Strawberry seeds.
Credit goes to the Soap Queen for the list above
There are a few more such as Rice, Barley, and Almonds.
Exfoliants remove dead skin, which helps your live layer of skin underneath look cleaner and healthier, along with giving soap a scrubby texture.
Gentle exfoliants are best used on sensitive areas like the face. If you are looking for a scrubby feel, medium or large exfoliants will meet your needs better, since the gentle exfoliants mentioned above are ground so fine that they are reduced to dust.
Medium and large exfoliants can be used for body or hands, but are a bit scratchy to be used on the face.
Dyes fall into two categories, synthetic and natural. Synthetic dyes are made in a laboratory, and is the smaller category of dyes. Natural dyes however, range from micas and oxides, to herbs and charcoal.
I don't have much experience with dyes yet, but the following link will show you how to get started. Click me!
As the name explains, botanicals are herbs or extracts that can be put into your cold-process soap to give scents and/or vitamins. I've composed a list of botanicals which is by no means complete.
Almonds, Anise, Basil, Barley, Bay, Calendula petals, Catnip leaves, Chamomile flowers, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coconut, Coffee, Comfrey, Fennel, Grapefruit peel, Juniper berries, Kelp, Lavender buds, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, Lemon peel,
Lime peel, Luffa sponge, Madder root, Majoram, Marsh Mallow root, Oatmeal,
Orange peel, Peppermint leaves, Plantain (the herb, not the banana-looking thing), Poppy seeds, Rose petals, Rosemary, Safflower powder, Sage leaves,
Spearmint leaves, Thyme, Yarrow flower.
Scents, like dyes, come in the forms of synthetic and natural. Synthetic scents are the ones that you usually buy at the store, with scents that you can't usually get in nature. E.g Almond biscotti, Cotton candy, Beach breeze, Fresh linen, etc.
Natural scents come in the form of Essential oils. Some people cannot tolerate fragrances, but soap can be just as easily made without them. It does take a lot of oil to scent soap, 0.5-1.0 oz, by weight, per pound of soap.
I had to make an 'extras' category for those that just didn't fit in any other categories, but deserve an honorable mention.
Milk, Honey, and Beer.
Milk has wonderful properties in soap. Goats milk soap is great for conditions such as eczema, dry skin, and acne. The cream is excellent for moisturizer, which really helps in the winter months when many people's hands, including yours truly, get chapped and red. There are many vitamins and minerals in milk, such as vitamin A, D, B6, C, Selenium, Zinc, Phosphorus, and magnesium.
NOTE: I recommend raw milk, as a feel it is superior to the homoginized, cooked, standardized stuff from the store.
Honey is a Humectant or Hydroscopic, and helps naturally moisturize, thus helping dry or damaged skin. Honey is also an antimicrobial, and helps with acne. It contains Antioxidants which helps the skin look younger, and protects from sun damage. It also adds a bit of lather to the soap.
Beer contains skin softening amino acids, and the yeast is an antibacterial agent which helps with acne. Soap containing beer has a nice lather. It also has vitamin B along with other vitamins that help moisturize.