Adding a silky feel to soaps is not limited to only using silk protein. However, silk protein in all its elements is among the most luxurious of products to impart silkiness and a luxurious feel to cosmetics, body care and soap products. Silk protein products used in soap making, personal care and cosmetic products are mainly hydrolyzed silk, silk amino acids, silk powder and raw silk fiber.
Different silk products for soaps
Silk powder is made from the silk worm cocoon. Processed to remove impurities and pulverized into different grades, silk powder is touted as giving relief from sunburns, due to its crystalline structure which deflects UV radiation and as a demulcent that provides a protective buffer between the skin and the environment.
Silk powder is processed in different grades and measured in microns. Silk of the finest micron can be dissolved in water while silk that is of a larger micron is not miscible in water. Both types can be used in soap making. Silk that is of a lower micron is added with oils and silk that is finer in grade that is dispersible in water is added with the liquids.
Silk powder is used in products in many grades and variations from food grade silk powder which is used in food products and candy making to cosmetic grade powders, amino acids and hydrolyzed silk protein which is used in fine cosmetics and skincare applications. Recommended usage amounts in soaps and body care products as well as cosmetics are 0.5 - 0.2 %. While silk powder and hydrolyzed silk may be used in soaps, they are quite costly. One way to cut cost is to use silk powder in fine cold processed soaps along with corn silk or hydrolyzed oatmeal and use hydrolyzed silk in leave-on applications such as creams and lotions.
Silk fiber is my silk product of choice for soap making. Available from fiber art supply stores, it can also be used to impart the same qualities as silk powder. Raw silk fiber is added in the water before the lye is added in amounts that vary from a fraction of an ounce per pound of oils to larger amounts depending on the silkiness desired in the final soap product. It is advisable to experiment with different amounts starting with a small ball about the size of a pinky fingernail and increase amounts as desired.
Hydrolyzed silk is silk fiber that has been subjected to an alkali, producing water soluble silk protein. The resulting product is easily absorbed into the skin. Silk protein contains eighteen amino acids among which are glycine, alanine, serine and tyrosine which are of particular importance in skin care applications. Liquid silk protein is easily absorbed by the skin and adds silkiness to and conditions the skin. Widely used in the finest of shampoo and luxurious hair treatments and facial products, hydrolyzed silk protein is used in soaps and body care products in amounts of 0.5 - 2 %. Hydrolyzed silk is added with the water phase when making soaps.
Where to buy silk fiber, silk powder and hydrolyzed silk
Dharma Trading is the place to shop if you need natural fibers and particularly wild silk fiber for use in soap making. Dharma Trading Visit them online or visit their store at 1604 4th Street, San Rafael, California.
Snowdrift Farm is one of my favorite suppliers. Located in Tucson, Arizona, they carry an immense inventory of soap making supplies as well as an extensive online formulary. They carry hydrolyzed silk protein as well as other luxurious ingredients for the soap formulator. Snowdrift Farm
Magestic Mountain Sage, located in Logan, Utah carry many hard to find soapmaking ingredients. They have one of the best lye calculators and they carry both hydrolyzed silk and silk powderMagestic Mountain Sage