Natural Soap Making Additives

There are tons of different natural ingredients that you can add to your homemade soaps to get just the right look and benefits. Below you'll find some of our favorites.

Herbs & Spices

Natural herbs and spices are perfect for adding fragrance and color to your soaps.

  • Basil - Basil is naturally antibacterial.
  • Cinnamon - Powdered cinnamon adds a spicy, homebaked scent and a speckled brown natural hue to your soaps. According to aromatherapy specialists, cinnamon is a stimulant and a stress reliever. Large amounts of cinnamon can cause skin irritation so use sparingly.
  • Chamomile - Chamomile is refreshing and calming. It can also work like a mild astringent.
  • Cloves - Ground cloves can also add a spicy scent to your soaps which is stimulating.
  • Cocoa Powder - Cocoa powder will give a warm brown color to your soaps.
  • Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus can add a refreshing and invigorating aspect to your soaps.
  • Lavender - Lavender can add a wonderful aroma and help relaxation.
  • Lemongrass - Lemongrass is stimulating and cooling.
  • Rosemary - Rosemary adds an herbal scent to your soaps and also helps relaxation. Finely ground rosemary leaves can act as a mild astringent.

Butters & Milks

Try adding small amounts of these ingredients until you get the properties that you're looking for. Start with about 1/4 tsp and add up to 2 tbsp per pound of soap base.

  • Cocoa Butter - Makes your soaps creamy and helps with hardness.
  • Shea Butter - Shea butter is used in soaps as an ultra-moisturizer.
  • Milk - Instant powdered milk can be added to soaps as a natural cleanser. Powdered milk also softens soap, so don't use too much.
  • Coconut or Goat's Milk - You can use about 1 tbsp per pound of soap base. You may want to add some vitamin e if you use fresh milk in your soap to prevent mold.

Other Natural Additives

  • Almond Meal - Almond meal can help absorb excess oil from the skin and unclog pores.
  • Aloe Vera - Aloe vera relieves dry and burned skin.
  • Beeswax - Beeswax is used as a hardening agent in soaps, lotions, and lip balms. It also has a wonderful fragrant aroma.
  • Calendula Petals - Calendula petals are great for soap in that they hold their beautiful golden color well, adding a natural colorant to your soaps.
  • Clay - Glacial and Bentonite are two of most popular clays used in soap making. Clay is often used in soaps for those with oily skin. Clay can draw excess oil from the skin. Clay is also used in shaving soaps to create a nice glide on the skin.
  • Corn Meal - Corn meal is another type of exfoliant that can be added to your soaps.
  • Coffee Grounds - Coffee is commonly used as a natural deodorizer.
  • Ground Apricot Seed - Wonderful exfoliant for skin. Use very fine ground seed for a facial soap or more coarse ground seed for less delicate areas such as feet.
  • Honey - Honey can be used as a relaxant in soaps. If you use too much, your soap will be too soft.
  • Oatmeal - You can use regular oats that are whole or ground in soaps to soothe and gently exfoliate skin.
  • Poppy Seeds - Poppy seeds are a gentle exfoliant. They add an interesting look and texture to your soaps
  • Sugar/Salt - Sugar and salt can be used as a wonderful natural exfoliants.
  • Vitamin E - Vitamin E is nature's antioxidant. Vitamin E is often used as a preservative when you add fresh fruit or other additives that can spoil.

Tips for Using Additives in Soaps

  • Having your additives just on the tops of your soaps gives them a unique look. To do this, simply place your additives in the mold before you pour your soap.
  • To get your additives suspended throughout your soaps you'll have to work a little harder. Naturally your additives will want to sink to the bottom of your soaps. To get them suspended, add your additives to your soap base before you pour into the mold. Gently stir your soap allowing it to cool and get thicker. When you notice your soap starting to thicken, you can pour it into the mold. This takes a little practice. If your soap base gets too thick on you, you can always remelt it and start over again.
  • You can avoid clumping by separating out a small amount of your soap base into a small dish. Mix the additive into this soap base until you get an even paste. Then stir it all back into the rest of your soap.


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