When you first think about soap making ingredients, you probably think of lye, water, and oils, right?
While those three items are crucial to making handmade soaps, I can happily say that there is an almost infinite variety of fantastic ingredients that can be used to turn a plain batch of soap into something so much more.
By incorporating various soap making additives, you can create soap that is not only wonderful to look at but feels great to use.
When I refer to 'additives' I am speaking of soap making ingredients that add something extra to your soap. Ingredients that add colour, texture, nutrients or that lend your soap an ability or characteristic it did not have before.
Ex-foliating, acne, shaving, shampoo, deodorizing and decorative soaps are all examples of soaps that have had extra ingredients added to them.
The following is a general list of the different types of additives that are commonly used in soap making and links to more detailed descriptions.
Herbs, spices, waxes, flowers and food items fill this category.
Ingredients such as chocolate, turmeric, beeswax, lavender, annatto seeds and oatmeal can all lend your soaps some great visual and textural qualities while still remaining a natural product.
Another natural option for adding colour and texture to your soaps. This category includes all additives that are "of the earth" such as clays, salts and pumice.
Products like mica, oxides, ultramarines and dyes are all soap making colourants that have been created in a laboratory.
Though micas, oxides and ultramarines do occur naturally, they are either far to expensive to use for soap making (micas) or they contain harmful elements like lead and mercury (oxides and ultramarines) making them impossible for us to use in our handmade soap products.
Since the 1960's and 1970's these products have been produced synthetically in a lab and have been used in the creation of cosmetics ever since.
This category includes additives that can help prolong the life of your oils, lotions and soaps.