Posted on

Trials for a Melt Pour Solid Scrub Bar Recipe

After seeing solid sugar scrub bars for sale on Etsy that had been made from a melt pour soap base, I wanted to see if I could recreate the product myself. The only recipe I could find online was for single use solid scrub cubes, but these all had extra oils added to them, and were meant to melt away with one use. I was looking for something that would last a little longer than that. So I started experimenting, using both sugar and salt. Here were my results:

mp solid scrub bars - salt

Recipe 1:  Melt Pour Solid Scrub Bar with Large Grain Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

I used Soap Queen’s instructions for adding my salt to this – I just dumped it into my melted & scented base, and after stirring, scooped out the grains from the bottom with a spoon. It sets up really fast, so two scoops was all that was needed, and then I poured the rest over the top.

Results: While this bar is very pretty, I don’t care for the feel of the larger grain salt. Sure, it dissolves as you use the soap, but you still have some sharp edges scratching you. I don’t think that creating microscopic tears on the skin is very good for it, so I don’t plan on making this one again. As for the lather? It was noticeably reduced.

Recipe 2: Melt Pour Solid Scrub Bar with Fine Grain Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

I meant to use 2:1 as my ratio, but I quickly ran out of soap using a different method of incorporating the salt. This time, instead of stirring the salt into my melted base, I poured a little soap into my mold, then sprinkled salt on top (thanks for the tip, Genny of Naughty Soaper). I alternated these two steps until I ran out of soap.

Results: This was much better. I’m glad I didn’t use more salt than I did, because even with the extra fine grain salt I used, it is still far more coarse than the sugar scrub bars below. I would make this one again, because I know that a lot of people prefer a rougher scrub than I do. And the lather was still pretty decent, because the salt doesn’t make up so much of the bar.

MP solid sugar scrub bars

Recipe 3: Melt Pour Solid Scrub Bar with Sugar

I just stirred my sugar into my base and poured. That was it. This one was the easiest to make and it was also my favorite bar of the bunch (even though I forgot to add my fragrance, haha).

Results: It has just the right amount of scrub – not too hard, not too soft. Sugar is supposed to be lather-increasing, so I paid particular attention to what happened with the lather in these bars; it turned out very lotion-like and creamy. I might continue to experiment with this one, but overall, it’s a solid recipe.

Recipe 4: Melt Pour Solid Scrub Bar with Sugar (Dissolved)

This time I attempted to dissolve as much of my sugar as possible in the soap. Only some of it would, though. In the photo above, both bars look the same, since some of the sugar sunk to the bottom; but if you flip them over, you can see the difference (photo at right).

Results: This one was less scrubby than #3, obviously, but there was a noticeable difference in the later, too. It had big bubbles instead of the creaminess.  It looks like maybe the sugar has to be dissolved in the soap for it to increase the lather. I still preferred #3, despite the lack of large bubbles. This bar is meant to be a solid scrub – exfoliation is more important than cleansing.

coconut-sugar-scrub-barRecipe 5: Melt Pour Solid Scrub Bar with Coconut Sugar and Poppy Seeds

I had some coconut sugar laying around, and since it’s a bit coarser grain and looks different than the white sugar, I thought I would test it, too. And I added poppy seeds just for the heck of it. I basically just wanted to see what they would look like.

Results: This one turned out much the same as #3. I won’t use poppy seeds in these again, because I think they are painful. But the coconut sugar feels about the same on the skin as the smaller grain sugar does. I like that it retained the brown color, so I think I will use the coconut sugar with fragrances that tend to turn brown.

And that’s it! In my experiments I learned that it IS possible to make a salt bar out of glycerin soap (I wasn’t sure, since people seem to always use cold process for them). And I learned that it’s really not hard at all to make a solid sugar scrub using melt pour soap.

Have you ever tried these? Any other variations I should test out?

Posted on

Mica Swirl Technique for Glycerin Soap

I’m not really into making “cutesy” soaps, so when I purchased my first melt and pour soap base, that was definitely not my goal. I admire soap makers who’s soaps look like art, which is why I started making cold process in the first place; and once I realized it was possible to make glycerin soaps that look like art, I was on board.

I tend to over research things before I start on a new project, so I had been spending time admiring and wondering at how a few other glycerin soap makers on Etsy had achieved their artsy-looking glycerin soaps. A few examples of these are:

kokolele glycerin soap
Kokolele Soaps
firebird glycerin soap
Firebird Bath & Body
ginger grey glycerin soap
Ginger Grey

glycerin soap swirlsSince I am still at a beginner skill level with this stuff, I thought it would be most reasonable to try to tackle the technique that appears in the two righthand photos above. I tried two different methods to recreate this look – first, I sprinkled mica into the bottom of the cavity mold before pouring the soap into it. I didn’t care for this method, because, as you can see in the photo at right, wherever the pour lands, you end up with a sort of crater in the middle of your effect.

And second, I sprinkled the mica on top of the soap after pouring (before it began to solidify). In one trial, I blew on the mica after sprinkling, and in another, I used a chopstick to swirl it around a little.

My Glycerin Soap Swirl Results

glycerin soap swirlsglycerin soap mica swirl with chopstick

At left is the sprinkle on top and blow effect. As you can see, blowing on it didn’t do much, because the mica is already adhered to the soap. At right is the sprinkle and swirl with a chopstick effect. I like the look of it.

glycerin soap mica technique
via Ginger Grey Soaps

When I make this again, I intend to try two new methods:

1) Sprinkle the mica on top after the soap develops a skin on the top and then blow on it (I’m trying to achieve the look of the Ginger Grey soap at right).

2) Mix the mica with isopropyl alcohol and drizzle it on top of the wet soap (which is how I believe the middle photo above from Firebird may have been created). I could be very wrong, of course.

While my mica sprinkling technique is still being perfected, the soaps still smell amazing; and because I used the honey SFIC base, they feel nice on the skin, too.

Posted on

Glycerin Soap Recipe – Adzuki Bean Body Polish Bars

adzuki glycerin soap recipeI am, first and foremost, a cold process soap maker.  It is what I learned to do first, and is my favorite kind of soap to make. However, it is very difficult to make clear soaps using the cold process method, and sometimes it is necessary to make a soap that is ready to use immediately. For these reasons, I decided I would like to master the art of melt pour soap, as well. After a few different experiments, I came up with a glycerin soap recipe that I think is worth sharing (and selling).

Not all melt and pour soap bases are created equal. Many of them contain detergents and chemicals, and using a base with these things would have gone against the ethics of my brand. So I sought out the highest quality bases I could find. It turns out, these are made by a company called SFIC. The only pitfall, in my opinion, is that they use palm oil. I do not purchase or use palm oil in my homemade soaps, but since SFIC uses sustainable palm, I feel comfortable that using their bases does not go against my personal beliefs regarding palm oil.

Okay, onto the recipe! I read that adzuki beans are amazing for the skin and I couldn’t wait to try them in a soap. After using a bar of this, I fell in love with the way my skin feels afterward.

Adzuki Bean Body Polish Glycerin Soap Recipe

Slowly melt the soap base in a microwave-safe glass container in 15 second bursts (be careful not to overheat). Once melted, add your adzuki bean powder slowly, mixing into your base a little at a time. If you add too much, too fast, you’ll get clumps. Once the mixture has thickened enough that your adzuki beans are suspended (not sinking or floating), add your fragrance oil. Mix the fragrance in thoroughly and then pour into four 4-oz mold cavities. Allow to cool overnight. After unmolding, wrap your bars in cling wrap to prevent sweating. You can hit the plastic with a heat gun for a few seconds to make it look a little cleaner, just make sure you don’t melt your soap!

I hope you like this recipe as much as I do, and if you have any other ways you like to use adzuki beans, I’d love for you to share in the comments.