Customized soap, rich with your favorite fragrance and botanicals, is at your fingertips with melt and pour soap bases. Simply melt a premade soap base of choice and add whatever your heart desires! When deciding which botanicals are right for you and your soap’s application, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Remember the Botanical’s Appearance May Change
When mixed with soap, some more delicate botanicals often change colors. While these add-ins still lend lovely fragrance and can enhance the health of your skin, they will not retain their beautiful color once stirred into the soap base.
This is especially true of delicate flower petals and buds such as rose and lavender. If some color retention is desired, try adding them to the top or bottom of the soap so that some of the petals remain around the edge of the soap.
If the botanical’s aesthetic properties are not as important for your soap, you can make an oil infusion from the botanicals to add the desired botanical properties. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil per one pound of soap base.
Think About Best-Suited Applications
Botanical add-ins are a lovely concept, but may not be well-suited for specific uses. For instance, a bar infused with herbs may make a lovely hand soap for the sink while not being ideal for the bathtub. The herbal add-ins may not rinse readily from the body or the bathtub as they do in hand washing.
Certain stronger botanicals might irritate the skin, especially when used with younger children. It is best, then, to only use very mild botanicals such as chamomile and lavender with young children.
If a soap bar is intended for use in cleaning applications around the house or in the laundry room, consider the natural pigments found in the botanical and what affect they may have on fabrics and other materials.
Keep in mind that any of the botanical’s desired properties will be diluted when mixed into a large volume of soap. If the botanical’s properties are important to the recipe, it can be helpful to combine the botanical with more potent forms of the plant, such as an essential oil.
In addition, the alkaline properties of soap can interfere with the botanical’s expected properties. While the botanical may still lend its fragrance and beauty, it may not have quite the same effect on the skin as it would standing alone.
Finally, remember that you will only need 1-2 ounces of dried botanicals per bar of soap. If you purchase botanicals in large quantities, leftovers can be used to make multiple bars of soap or in other recipes!