Some of the most memorable soaps made by soap makers are made using melt and pour bases. One great advantage in using soap bases rather than starting from scratch with cold process type soaps is that just about anybody can learn to make soap this way. There are no dangerous fumes to contend with and all that’s needed is melted soap, fragrance and color. Even children, supervised, can make melt and pour soaps. Though this is a fun and easy way to make soap, yet one should not underestimate the power of melted base, colors and additives at the hands of a creative mind. And let’s face it, which purveyor of body care products would not die to concoct the latest craze in bath and body products!
Though there are many different types of melt and pour bases available, yet in order to create innumerable types of soaps, one only has to have a clear base. For variety, this clear base can be used to create all the other existing bases. The wonderful thing about being able to create your own custom made base is that you are limited only by your imagination. Think of the different variations on some of your favorite bases, such as Shea butter, or even Aloe Vera base. Why not use exotic rainforest butters such as Babassu, Cupuacu, Murumuru and Ucuuba to create new bases that are novel and packed full of oils and goodness for the skin.
To help you on your way to creating your own bases, here is a list of additives and ingredients that can be readily found on the internet. Most of the ratios are based on manufacturer’s suggestions.
Butters such as aloe, cocoa and mango butter have long been staples in body care products. Harder to find are the new rainforest butters such as Babassu, Coffee, Cupuacu, Murumuru and Ucuuba. These butters are very luxurious and offer both tactile and fragrant variations on the butters we already are familiar with. Add 1-5% to melted opaque or clear soap base. NOTE: Bases with butters added will need an antioxidant to prevent oils from going rancid. It is suggested that rosemary oleoresin extract or vitamin E T-50 be added at amounts between 0.1 - 0.5% to melted butter before adding to melted soap base.
Many types of clay are reputed to be good for removing toxins from the skin. One of the most popularly used is Bentonite clay which is formed from volcanic ash and is also known as calcium bentonite. Bentonite clay is used extensively in natural healing circles for its purported ability to absorb toxins from the body. Usage levels for soaps are between 3 - 5%. Dilute with distilled water, working out any clumps. Experiment with both opaque as well as clear soap base, adding natural colors and herbs. Other suggestions: Rhassoul, red , pink, black, and French green clay
• Colloidal Oatmeal:
Oatmeal adheres to the skin and forms a protective barrier giving a soothing feel to damaged skin. I fell in love with all body care products containing oatmeal when I accidentally left a fruit acid skin peel on for too long and my skin became raw and tight. I purchased a tube of a famous brand of unscented oat flour creme and that was the only thing I could use on my face that did not sting. Thus began a quest to create as many body care items with oatmeal (See bottom of page for link to a recipe for oatmeal creme). For years I searched for an affordable oatmeal soap base. I have yet to find one. So I made my own and was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was just as good as and even better than the premade base. To opaque soap base add 1-10% colloidal oat flour diluted in a small amount of distilled water. Colloidal oatmeal can be found in your drugstore in the bath and body products isle.
To get that creamy white soap base start with a small amount of water-soluble titanium dioxide diluted in a small amount of distilled water, then add to melted clear base. It is best to start off with a small amount of titanium dioxide, about 1/4-1/2 tsp. and then increase amounts. Mix thoroughly in and add more if base is not white enough. Other suggestions: Superfine ingredients such as clay, when added to clear soap produce an opaque product that is more natural in appearance than titanium dioxide.
Milk has always been associated with gentle, emollient care for the skin. Powdered milk is loaded with protein and vitamins making it a natural emollient for the skin. Most people are familiar with milk based products used for skincare. Milk along with oatmeal remains one of my favorite basic ingredients to use for quick and simple body care. Milk reminds me of farm living, of eating the sweet cream off the top of fresh warmed milk and of the joys of outdoor living. To make soap base that is better than pricey soap bases, use from 3-5% powdered cow’s milk or goat’s milk. Dilute thoroughly with glycerin and distilled water. Want some variation on that? Instead of powdered milk, try dried coconut cream. Add a bit of virgin coconut oil for a luxurious soap that has emolliency and a wonderful scent.
Click here for Oatmeal Body Butter Recipe.