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Coloring Soap
For those of you who want to add color to your soaps, but want to stay natural”. more. 

Floating Soap
To make Floating Soap like Ivory, add approximately one tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) to your soap mixture after you’ve added almost of the lye. 

Soap will also float if bubbles happen to occur in your soap during the mixing stage (just before pouring). My first batch of kitchen soap not only looked like ivory, but it floated like ivory and I didn’t use an additive.

There are a wide variety of additives used in cold process soapmaking that offer specific qualities to homemade soaps. An appealing scent, gentle texture, beautiful color, and extra moisturizing properties are among the qualities we strive for that can greatly improve your finished product.

Essential Oils


Also known as volatile oils, ethereal oils, essences and absolutes; essential oils are highly concentrated extracts of the flowers, leaves, petals or berries of fragrant botanicals. Essential oils have superior scent retention and are very powerful. Many are beneficial, but some can be extremely harmful. They are however, preferred over fragrance oils in soapmaking because they are less likely to affect saponification and seize soap. Problems may occur in soapmaking when using citrus essential oils, so it is recommended that they be added sparingly. Always conduct research on an essential oil you are considering for your cosmetic or toiletry products. There are a few great books out there or a google search will probably give you all the information you need, especially from supplier sites.

Fragrance Oils
Fragrance oils are man-made fragrances and are usually less expensive. Essential oils are sometimes included in fragrance formulations, but fragrance oils offer greater options by creating scents that are unavailable in essential oils. Fragrance oils are often more successfully used in the soap rebatching or melt and pour process, but some can also be used successfully in cold process soaps. Often, suppliers will test the fragrances they offer for compatibility in soapmaking. Conduct the proper research before purchasing fragrance oils. Various fragrance oils may also affect saponification and can actually ruin what would otherwise have been a perfectly good batch of soap.

An herb is a plant or plant part that is valued for its medicinal, aromatic, or savory properties. Most often, dried herbs are added to melt and pour soaps as the chemical reaction in cold process soapmaking can compromise the properties of herbs including color, scent, and texture. Check with your soapmaking supplier if you have any questions as to the effectiveness of a dried herb in cold process soapmaking.

Exfoliants added to cold process soapmaking include oatmeal, almond meal, yellow cornmeal, wheat germ, cranberry seeds, and brans, among others. Exfoliants are a substance of texture used to slough off dirt and dead cells from the surface of the skin.  Oatmeal is a more common additive in cold process soapmaking. Oatmeal is most often added at trace after it has been ground and blended with olive or another base oil. It is used to exfoliate and soothe sensitive or irritated skin.

Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is a substance expressed from the leaf of the aloe plant and is said to have potent anti-inflammatory, healing, hydrating, and soothing properties.

Benzoin Absolute
This is used as a fixative for fragrances in soaps. Follow manufacturer’s instructions and use use sparingly as some people react to this.

Borax is a white crystalline mineral that is composed of sodium, boron, oxygen and water. It has fungicide, preservative, insecticide, herbicide and disinfecting properties and is used as a water softener and laundry product.

While butters can be added to total base oils in cold process soapmaking, they are often added to a formulation at trace for emolliency (moisturizing) properties.

Calendula Flowers
This is added to help soften dry skin.

Cinnamon is an additive commonly used as a natural deodorizer that also has antiseptic properties. Cinnamon is used in it’s grounded form to makes for a dark and spicy soap. Large amounts can cause skin irritation.

There are a variety of clays to choose from, Bentonite and Glacial to name a few. They are commonly added to draw out excess oil from the skin.

Spices, herbs, liquid colors, and pigments are among additives that are used to color soaps. FD&C colors are approved for use in food, drugs and cosmetics and D&C colors are only approved for use in drugs and cosmetics. When added to toiletry products, most colors are true, but in products like cold-process soaps, the effects may vary.

This is best added in powdered form. Creates a slippery soap with a mildly “fishy” scent. This additive is rich in iodine, vitamins and minerals.

Lemons can be added in liquid form as in fresh or reconstituted juice, or the peel can be grated and used as an abrasive. Fresh lemon peels or lemon peel powder have antibacterial properties and vitamin C.

Milk is often added at trace in many forms including powdered, fresh, or canned and adds to a milder bar of soap. Caprylic acid in goats milk helps to adjust the pH in soaps by reducing the alkalinity.

Natural Colorants
Alkanet root provides a range in color of blue and purple shades, coffee and cinnamon add brown shades, ground rosehips add reddish shades and sea clay adds green shades. Additives that will not lose their color include sunflower petals, rosemary and calendula. Natural colorants provide earthy tones, so don’t expect bright colors in your finished product. These can be obtained using synthetic pigments and dyes for almost any color you can imagine. More on coloring soap.

Rosemary Extract
Rosemary extract is also known as nature’s best antioxidant and is a good choice for treating oils that are prone to spoilage. This is a powerful oil-soluble antioxidant used at only 0.1 percent of total ingredients. Like other antioxidants, it inhibits and fights free radicals. Recent studies show that rosemary extract, and its constituents “carnosol and ursollic acid”, enhance the activity of enzymes that can detoxify carcinogens

Rosemary Oil
The oil of rosemary is not to be confused with rosemary extract. Rosemary oil possesses powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties that includes  antimicrobial activity against many molds and bacteria. Used in soaps to help in the treatment of comedones (pimples, whiteheads, blackheads) and acne.

Sugar is often used in recipes for making clear soap. We also love using sugar scrubs for the softest skin ever.

Salt is used by commercial soapmakers to separate glycerin from their soaps.

Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is a powerful antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-viral, insect repellant that is used to treat a variety of skin and other conditions. It has remarkable soothing and antibacterial properties, but may irritate the skin in some people.

Natural Deodorizers
Coffee, cinnamon, and lemon essential oil are among the additives commonly used as natural deodorizers.

Glycerin, aloe vera, honey, cocoa butter, mango butter, and olive butter are among the additive and ingredients used to add emolliency in cold-process soapmaking.