Monday, October 11, 2010

Natural Exfoliants and Additives for Cold Process Soap Making - A Few of My Favorites

  • Ratio: 1-2 T. per pound of oil
  • Method: Use slow cooking or rolled oats for soap. Do not use instant or quick cook oatmeal (It absorbs to quickly and creates a gloppy mess). Grind your oats into a fine powder. A coffee grinder works great for this. Slowly, incorporate the ground oatmeal into your oils before adding the lye. You can use your stick blender or stir by hand, but the key is to add the oats slowly to prevent clumping. This creates a gently exfoliating soap.
  • Alternate Method: Pour your soap into the mold. Spread unground oats across the top then press gently down into the soap. This will create a beautiful natural layer at the base/top of your soap. This method creates a much more scrubby exfoliant that the ground method.
  • Benefits: Oatmeal is said to be moisturising and soothing for irritated skin. This is because oats are naturally rich in beta glucan and phenols. Beta glucan is a polysacharide that has been shown to aid in healing. Phenols act as antioxidants and anti inflammatory and are reported to be very soothing for dry, irritated skin. Because of these unique properties, oatmeal makes a great additive to soaps designed for sensitive skin.
Poppy Seeds-
  • Ratio: 1/2-1 T. per pound of oil (depending on how scrubby you want it)
  • Method: Stir in the seeds at trace.
  • Alternate Method: If you don't want seeds speckled throughout, you can sprinkle them across the top, but this is more for decoration as they wont last long as an exfoliator.
  • Benefits: Poppy seeds are rich in linoleic and oleic acids, both skin nourishing fatty acids, but the real benefit of poppies in soap is simply that they make great scrubby exfoliants.
Calendula Petals-
  • Ratio: 1/3- 1/2 cup per 2.5 pounds of oil
  • Method: Gently stir in the petals at trace.
  • Alternate Method: For smoother look, try infusing calendula in a little oil rather than putting flowers directly into the soap. For infusions, I usually combine the oil and herb in a container then let them sit for 3-4 weeks (at least). Use 1/2-1 cup of petals per 16 oz of oil.
  • Benefits: Like oatmeal, calendula contains complex polysaccharides and has been shown to have a healing effect on rashes, wounds and other skin irritations. It is great for people with sensitive skin, or who are prone to outbreaks of eczema or acne. It is also good if you are suffering from poison ivy, diaper rash, or other irritating skin conditions.

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