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Solid shampoo bars

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 45 mins

Yields: 4 bars

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Learn how to make this gentle cleansing shampoo bar, which leaves your hair soft, silky and tangle-free. Suits all hair types, and this tutorial is a great introduction for those wanting to venture into making solid shampoo and conditioner bars. Also check out this hydrating solid conditioner bar!

All the ingredients are available from Pure Nature or your local soap making supplies shop.

Please note SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate) powder is very irritating if breathed in or gets in your eyes. I know it sounds like a total contradiction, since it is a very mild, non-irritating cleansing surfactant. But we work with it as a very fine, light powder, which is easily airborne, and our lungs really, really don’t like it. So make sure you wear goggles and a breathing mask (dust mask) and have your windows open!

ONE: Start by preparing all your additives. First add 1 teaspoon of citric acid to 10 ml of hot water and then stir until the citric acid has dissolved. Then add the coco-caprylate, provitamin B5, the orange essential oil and the mica, if you decide to add colour. Stir everything together.

The citric acid helps to soften the water, especially in areas of hard water (see blog post about hard water here). It works by reacting with the mineral ions in the water, and basically rendering them inactive.

Coco-caprylate is one of my favourite little secret additives. It is a natural alternative to silicons derived from coconut. It is a lightweight emollient, which coats and seals in moisture, making your hair smooth, tangle free and shiny. But unlike silicons, it doesn’t build up in your hair, is easily washed out and is biodegradable.

Provitamin B5, also known as panthenol, keeps your hair hydrated. The provitamin B5 turns into pantothenic acid when absorbed into the hair shaft, where it binds water and thus retains moisture inside the hair.

And the essential oil I’m using in this shampoo bar is orange essential oil, which is not only a delicious fruity fragrance, but is also full of anti-oxidants and vitamin C, is known to increase the ability of absorbing vitamin C as well, and is an excellent moisturiser with calming, soothing qualities on both skin and mind. And also who doesn’t love orange?

TWO: This part can be skipped if your sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) comes in powder form. In any case for this part and the next part, you will need to wear goggles and dust mask to avoid breathing in the powder and to prevent it getting into you eyes.

If your SCI comes in pellet form, use a bullet or food processor to grind it into a fine powder. The finer the powder, the easier it will be to work with. SCI is very difficult to melt due to its high melting point, and by using powder instead of pellets, you can significantly reduce the melting time from hours (pellets) to minutes (powder)!

The benefits of sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI) is that it is a very mild and gentle (anionic) surfactant which is naturally derived from coconut and also biodegradable unlike most anionic surfactants (except soap).

Be careful to let the powder settle before opening the bullet or food processor and to tip the powder in at once from a very low height. I usually go outside to do this and let the dust settle again before going back inside. Like I said, the powder makes you sneeze!

THREE: Once you have your SCI in powder form, weigh the correct amount and then add the coco-glucoside. The coco-glucoside is also natural and derived from coconut oil and fruit sugars. It is added as a non-ionic co-surfactant, which acts as an emulsifier, foaming agent and conditioner. Basically, it helps make a nice smooth fluid paste, makes sure you have a great lather when you use it, and it conditions your hair while you clean it.

Once you’ve combined the SCI and the coco-glucoside, it’s time to melt it. You can either use the microwave or directly on your stove. If you are using the stove, use the lowest setting and keep stirring gently. You can also use a double boiler, but that will take longer. I found if I use the lowest setting on my stove, it works just as well as a double boiler!

However, I’m using the microwave here. When you use the microwave, use it in burst of 30 seconds initially and then reduce the burst to 10 seconds. Stir briskly between the bursts and always keep an eye on it in the microwave because it can boil over! When it starts rising, stop, stir, and then put it back in for 10 seconds, until you have a paste similar to the photo below.

FOUR: In another pot, add your BTMS-25, cocoa butter and Dehyquart F75. These are all conditioning agents. Melt it until liquid in the microwave or stove top, and then add it to the SCI/coco-glucoside paste.

The BTMS-25 is naturally derived from rapeseed, coconut and/or palm oil. It is a conditioner pellet made from 25% behentrimonium methosulfate and 75% cetearyl alcohol. For those following the curly girl method, behentrimonium methosulfate is a very mild, non-stripping and non-irritating conditioning agent, and not a sulfate like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium coco sulfate (SCS) and other similar harsh surfactants.

Dehyquart 75 is another conditioning ingredient, which soften and moisturise hair. It is made of distearoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol, and comes in off-white waxy flakes or pellets. The active ingredient is the distearoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate, which is a quaternary ammonium salt like the BTMS, and like BMTS-25 is not he prohibited ingredients in the Curly Girl Method. The cetearyl alcohol is a combination of cetyl and stearyl alcohols, which help stabilise the emulsion, but also give the shampoo its silky and creamy appearance and helps soften and hydrate your hair.

If you don’t have Dehyquart 75, you can add another 10 g of BTMS-25 instead. 

Cocoa butter also has excellent conditioning properties, is incredibly nourishing for your hair and leaves it soft and shiny. There’s just the right amount of cocoa butter in this shampoo, so that it will condition your hair without leaving it feel greasy and heavy.

FIVE: Mix everything to a fluid paste like in the photo. It will take a little while to stir until everything has been thoroughly incorporated into the paste.

SIX: Then add the additives that you have pre-mixed in the beaker and stir everything until it is an even colour.

SEVEN: Pour the shampoo mixture into your moulds and let them cool down and set overnight before using. I prefer to let them dry out for about a week before I shut the lid or use them, just because I find that it helps make them long-lasting that way.

This has become my personal favourite shampoo bar at the moment, because I don’t need any conditioner with it. I’ve also mixed up the essential oil blend a few times, just because I don’t like using the same thing over and over again. Lavender and mint is a nice alternative, or just plain lemongrass, which is the one I’m currently using. Feel free to experiment a little!

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Solid shampoo bars

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 240 g SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate)
  • 80 g coco-glucoside
  • 40 g BTMS-25
  • 20 g cocoa butter
  • 10 g dehyquart F75 or extra 10 g BTMS-25
  • 10 ml hot water
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid
  • 1 teaspoon coco-caprylate
  • 1/2 teaspoon provitamin B5
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange mica
  • 5 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 4 clamshell moulds

Directions

  1. In a small beaker, add the citric acid to the hot water and stir until dissolved.
  2. Add the coco-caprylate, provitamin B5, essential oil and mica, and stir until it is a slurry. Set aside.
  3. If the SCI is in pellet form, grind it up into powder using a bullet or food processor. Make sure you are wearing goggles and a dust mask, and have your windows open. DO NOT BREATHE IN THE DUST!
  4. Carefully, still wearing goggles and mask, combine the SCI and coco-glucoside and either melt in the microwave or stove top, until melted to a fluid paste. Be careful in the microwave, as it can suddenly start boiling (foaming) over.
  5. In another small jug or pot, add the BTMS-25, cocoa butter and dehyquart, and melt it until liquid.
  6. Pour it to the SCI/coco-glucoside mixture and give it a very good stir.
  7. Add the contents from the beaker (see point 1 and 2) you’ve set aside and stir everything until it has blended to a smooth paste.
  8. Lastly, pour the shampoo mixture into the moulds. You’ll need to work fast, as the mixture starts to set and thicken quickly.
  9. Leave the bars to cool down completely before unmoulding. They can be used immediately, though it’s better to let them dry for about a week before use.

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Solid conditioner bars

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 mins

Yields: 1 bar

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Conditioner bars are the solid versions of hair conditioners, using similar ingredients but without being diluted in water, which makes them so much more economical to use. One solid conditioner bar is equivalent to 2 or more bottles of liquid conditioners. As opposed to hair serum bars (more on that in a later blog post), conditioner bars are meant to be used on the ends of the hair, not on the scalp, and unlike shampoo bars, which clean your scalp and hair, conditioner bars condition, nourish, protect, boost shine, and restore vibrancy to your hair. Conditioner bars are made using non-ionic surfactants, oils, butters, and special ingredients, such as hydrolised proteins and panthenol, that are highly beneficial to the hair. This makes conditioner bars slightly more expensive to make than shampoo bars, but the benefits of all the goodness in your conditioner bar greatly outweigh the costs.

One solid conditioner bar is equivalent to 2 or more bottles of liquid conditioner!

The following recipe is for one 100 g solid conditioner bar, which will fit in a clamshell mould available from Pure Nature. If you would like to make more than one bar, just multiply the amounts appropriately. For example if you want to make 6 bars, multiply all the ingredients by 6.

Please note that the recipe uses hydrolysed silk protein, which is not vegan. Alternatively, you can use wheat or soy protein instead. All the ingredients used in this recipe are available from Pure Nature.

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ONE: Weigh out 60 grams of BTMS-25 into a heat proof bowl or jug. I will be using a microwave to melt the ingredients, but alternatively, you can use a small pot and your stove.

BTMS-25 is the name for one type of conditioner pellets, and is an abbreviation for the active ingredient, behentrimonium methosulfate. For those following the curly girl method, behentrimonium methosulfate is not a sulfate like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), sodium coco sulfate (SCS) and other similar harsh surfactants. Instead, it is a very mild, non-stripping and non-irritating conditioning agent (a quaternary ammonium salt to be precise), derived from natural rapeseed oil.

The 25 in the name stands for the percentage of active ingredient in the product. So therefore, BTMS-25 contains approximately 25% of behentrimonium methosulfate and the remaining 75% is cetearyl alcohol. There is also a BTMS-50, however, this product also contains butylene glycol, a humectant moisturiser, but which is derived from petroleum, which is why I don’t use it in my tutorials. Instead, I will add glycerin later, which is also a humectant.

Cetearyl alcohol, or cetostearyl alcohol, is a combination of cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. These are fatty alcohols and are nothing like their liquor namesake. Drinking alcohol, rubbing alcohol, or ethanol are all short-chain alcohols, which act as solvents and should never be used in your hair. Fatty alcohols, on the other hand, are long chain alcohols with a waxy appearance and are used as non-ionic co-surfactants in conditioners to stabilise the emulsion. They also give conditioners their typical creamy appearance (both in liquid and in bar form).

Unfortunately, most fatty alcohols are made from palm oil, and coconut oil derived fatty alcohols are just not yet widely available, at least not here in New Zealand.

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TWO: Next, add 10 grams of cetyl alcohol.

I’m adding extra cetyl alcohol, which will add additional silkiness to the conditioner, and rather than penetrating the hair shaft, it is deposited on the surface, making it feel softer and smoother to the touch.

Cetyl alcohol comes in waxy pellets, and is usually derived from coconut or palm oils by heating the oil with a strong base. The cetyl alcohol I use comes from Pure Nature, which is derived from RSPO certified palm oil. I would have preferred using coconut derived cetyl alcohol, but I have yet to find it here in New Zealand.

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THREE: And finally, add 10 grams of castor oil, which is an amazing hair care oil. It deeply moisturises and conditions, helps reduce split ends, and add shine and lustre to your hair.

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FOUR: Melt on high in the microwave for 30 seconds initially and then in 10 second bursts until completely melted. How long it takes to melt will depend on your microwave. My microwave will take 1 minute, but when I told my students in class to set it that long, it came out boiling!

If you don’t have microwave, or don’t want to use one, melt the ingredients on the stove using a small pot and on the lowest setting. It will take a lot longer, but just be patient, it will eventually melt!

 

FIVE: Once all the ingredients have melted, add the glycerin. This is the humectant I was talking about earlier. It will help keep your hair hydrated.

 

SIX: Let the mixture cool down a little, before adding the coco-caprylate, hydrolised silk protein, provitamin B5, and the essential oils. Then stir until everything has blended together to a smooth, opaque emulsion.

I’ve added coco-caprylate to the conditioner bar, because it is a natural alternative to silicon. Silicons coat, lubricate and seal in moisture, making hair smooth, tangle free and shiny. However, they are non-soluble, build up over time and make your hair heavy and dull with prolonged use. Coco-caprylate, or caprate, is derived form coconut, and has similar properties, with the added bonus that it doesn’t build up, is easily washed off and is biodegradable.

In this recipe, I’m using hydrolysed silk protein, which improves elasticity in hair and protects brittle hair from breakage. However, I’m aware that this is not a vegan product, and you really don’t want to know the process of harvesting silk. I have to admit, I’ve been using it before I realised what I was actually using here. So if you don’t want to use silk protein, the alternatives are vegetable proteins, such as soy or wheat. Hydrolysed just means that it has been broken down into smaller units, allowing the proteins to penetrate the hair shaft.

Provitamin B5, also known as panthenol, works by retaining moisture in hair. It is easily absorbed and turns to pantothenic acid, which binds water and thus enhances hydration.

The essential oils I’m using in the conditioner bar are rosemary, which is full of antioxidants to restore the hair’s vibrancy, and lavender to nourish and condition and add extra shine. The blend has also a soothing and calming effect on the mind, which can help with stress and anxiety, which can be triggers for hair loss.

 

SEVEN: Lastly, make sure the mixture is not too hot (the jug should be cool enough that you can touch the sides), to prevent the plastic mould from warping. Then pour the mixture into the mould and spritz the surface with isopropyl alcohol. to get rid of any bubbles.

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Leave the bar to solidify and cool down completely before unmoulding or closing the lid.

Unlike cold process soaps, you can use the solid conditioner bar immediately. After washing your hair, slide the conditioner bar down the length of the hair a few times and massage it into the hair, but only the ends of the hair and not into the scalp. Leave for a couple of minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

Solid conditioner bars

  • Difficulty: Beginners
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Ingredients

  • 60 grams BTMS-25
  • 10 grams cetyl-alcohol
  • 10 grams castor oil
  • 10 grams glycerin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coco-caprylate
  • 1/2 teaspoon hydrolysed silk protein
  • 1/2 teaspoon provitamin B5
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • isopropyl alcohol

Directions

  1. Weigh out the BTMS-25, cetyl alcohol and castor oil into a heat proof bowl or jug.
  2. Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds or until completely melted. Alternatively, you can use a small pot and place it on the stove on the lowest setting until melted.
  3. Add the glycerin and let the mixture cool down a little.
  4. Then add the remaining ingredients, except for the isopropyl alcohol, and stir everything thoroughly until all the ingredients have blended together into a smooth emulsion.
  5. Pour into the mould, and spritz some isopropyl alcohol on the surface to get rid of the bubbles.
  6. Let the bar solidify and cool down completely before removing from the mould or closing the lid, if using a clamshell mould as I did.
  7. The conditioner bar can be used immediately.

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Nacho Ordinary Soap

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 9 little soaps

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Desert, cactus, flamingo and mojitos seem to be everywhere at the moment. It’s been the theme in fashion, home decorations, and I even have nail wraps in this desert-theme. When I came across the little cactus and flamingo candles at Kmart, and found the matching cactus ice cube mold, I knew I wanted to make a soap to this theme! The only problem I had was finding the right name for it, so I held a little naming competition on Facebook for it and you guys had no problems coming up with some very creative and great names! It was really hard to choose just one. Here are some other of my favourites: Desert Dream, Don’t Desert Me Now, Desert Mojito, Prickly Clean. But the one that stood out from all the rest and I loved the most is “Nacho Ordinary Soap“! Thanks Kathryn Gage for coming up with this clever moniker!

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To make these you’ll need little cactus ice cube molds. I bought these from Kmart the other day for $2 each. As you can see, they also have some other cute molds, like the pineapple and unicorns!

The other material you need is clear and white melt and pour base, non bleeding yellow soap dye, green fruit mica and mint mojito fragrance, as well as a cube cavity soap mold. You can get all these from Pure Nature. I used the low sweat white melt and pour soap base and the crystal clear melt and pour soap base for this project.

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ONE: Cut the clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and add them to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 10 second bursts until the soap has melted.

You’ll have to eyeball the amounts. If you end up with a little left over, pour it into a separate container and you can use it for another project. The good thing about melt and pour soap bases is that you can re-melt it again.

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TWO: Add about 1/2 a teaspoon of green fruit mica and stir well until it has completely dispersed into the soap and there are no more clumps of mica on the surface. If you struggle mixing it in, spray a little alcohol on the surface and that will help with dispersing.

The reason we’re using clear melt and pour soap base here is so that the colour of the soap becomes a rich deep green. White melt and pour soap base will only give you pastel colours due to the white base colour!

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THREE: Once. you’ve mixed in the colour, pour the soap into the cavities of the cactus mold and spray them with alcohol to get rid of any bubbles on the surface.

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FOUR: While you’re waiting for the cacti to set, cut up the white soap base and melt it the same way in the microwave. Again, you’re going to have to eyeball the amount of soap you need.

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FIVE: Add a few drops of yellow soap dye. Make sure it is non-bleeding, because you don’t want it to bleed into clear soap. Start with a couple of drops first and keep adding 1-2 drops at a time until you’ve reached the colour you want. Remember, you can always add more colour but you can’t take it out again!

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SIX: Next, add your fragrance. The usage rate is about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per cup of melted soap base. If you add too much, you will end up with fragrance on the surface of the soap after setting. If that does happen, you can just wipe it away with a paper towel. I had about 2 cups of soap base, so I added about 2 teaspoons. Stir well to mix it into the soap.

I didn’t add any fragrance to the cactus embeds and won’t be adding any fragrance to the clear layer of soap either, because the amounts of soap are only small and the yellow soap will easily mask it with its fragrance, so you won’t notice that they don’t actually have any scent!

SEVEN: Once you’ve added the colour and fragrance, pour the soap into the cube mold, filling each cavity to about 1 centimetre. Immediately spray with alcohol after pouring to remove any unsightly bubbles. Let the soap set before continuing.

For the next part, the yellow soap needs to have set so that when you pour the hot clear soap on top, it doesn’t break through the surface of the yellow soap. If you have left it to cool down completely, spray the surface with a little alcohol again, to make sure that the clear layer will adhere to it. Also remove the cactus embeds to have them ready.

EIGHT: Melt a little clear melt and pour base. I used the crystal clear melt and pour soap base for this to avoid any cloudiness in this layer. Also avoid adding fragrance, because that can make your soap cloudy as well.

NINE: Pour a small amount on top of the yellow soap, no more than half a centimetre, and immediately press a cactus into the middle of the soap and spray the whole surface with alcohol. Repeat for each soap.

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TEN: Let the soaps harden and cool down completely before removing them carefully from the mold. I left mine overnight before unmolding.

Make sure you wrap the soaps in cling foil to avoid condensation forming on the surface. Melt and pour soaps contain a lot of glycerin, which attracts moisture and hence, the ‘sweating’ effect on these kinds of soap.

As you can see in the picture, I made two different styles of soap. One has the embed sticking out and in the other, the clear layer covers the whole embed. I wasn’t sure which I would like better so I did both. But after setting, I decided I like the one where the cactus pops out more!

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Nacho ordinary soap

  • Difficulty: Beginners
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Ingredients

  • white melt and pour base
  • clear melt and pour soap base
  • yellow non-bleeding soap dye
  • green fruit mica
  • mint mojito fragrance from Candlescience
  • cactus ice cubes mold
  • square cavity mold
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

Directions

PART 1

  1. Cut the clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 10 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of green mica and stir until dispersed.
  4. Pour the soap into the cavities of the cactus mold and spray with alcohol.
  5. Leave to cool down and set completely.

PART 2

  1. Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 10-20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add a few drops of yellow soap dye and stir. Add more dye, a couple of drops at a time until you’ve reached the desired colour.
  4. Add the mint mojito fragrance at 1/2 teaspoon per cup of melted soap, and stir well.
  5. Pour into the cavities of the cube mold to a height of about 1 centimetre.
  6. Spray with alcohol and let set.

PART 3

  1. Once the cactus have set, remove them from the mold.
  2. Cut a little clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  3. Heat the soap base in the microwave in 10 second bursts until melted.
  4. Pour a little of the clear soap base over the top of the yellow soap in the cube mold. You only want to pour to a maximum of half a centimetre.
  5. Spray the surface with alcohol and press a little cactus into the middle of the mold.
  6. Spray again with alcohol and leave the soaps to set completely before removing from the mold.

Remember to wrap the soaps in cling foil to avoid condensation forming on the surface.

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Easter treats MP soap

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 mins

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I was asked by my sister if we could bring something else than chocolate to our family Easter brunch, because her two young children, my one year old nephew and three year old niece, get so much during Easter, and they can’t (or shouldn’t) eat it all. And I get it. The kids are so little and everyone just wants to get them something, and at Easter, what else is there but chocolate easter bunnies and eggs? So I decided to come up with some alternative treats that kids will love, and here’s the first one: cute little Easter melt and pour soaps!

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To make these you’ll need an Easter themed mold. You can get these from the local craft shop, homeware stores, or somewhere like The Warehouse or K-mart, and are sold either as chocolate molds or ice cube molds. I got mine from The Warehouse a few years back, thinking they might come in handy one day, and they sure did today!

The other material you need is a melt and pour base, soap dye or food colouring, and a fragrance or essential oil. I’m using the low-sweat melt and pour base, which doesn’t attract moisture to its surface like most melt and pour soap bases, particularly here in New Zealand, where it can get quite muggy and humid at times.

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ONE: Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and add them to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 10 second bursts until the soap has melted.

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TWO: Add one or two drops of soap dye or food colouring and stir. You can add more colour, one drop at a time, until the soap has reached the desired shade of the colour. I’m using the soap dye from Pure Nature here, which comes in five different colours (yellow, orange, red, blue and green), which have been especially prepared for melt and pour soap. Because my mold has different shapes, I do one colour per shape at a time: yellow for the ducks, blue for the rabbits, and green and pink for the eggs.

Remember that when you colour white melt and pour soap, the colours will always be pastels, because of the white base. If you want full, bright coloured soap, you’ll have to use clear melt and pour.

THREE: After you’ve reached the desired colour, add your fragrance or essential oil and stir well. I’m using sparkling pomelo from Candlescience fragrances, which is a fresh, fruity citrus-like skin-safe fragrance, and I thought would appeal to the kids (and adults!). The rule of thumb is about 1/8 teaspoon (or roughly 10-15 drops) of fragrance per 1/2 cup of melt and pour soap.

Make sure the fragrance you are using is safe to use on skin, and if you are not sure, check with the supplier. This is particularly important if you are planning on using candle fragrances.

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FOUR: Pour the soap into the cavities of the mold and spritz the surface with alcohol to get rid of any pesky little bubbles that might appear.

Another interesting advantage of the low-sweat melt and pour base I found is that it produces hardly any bubbles on the surface.

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FIVE: Let the soap cool down and harden completely before unmolding. And if you are doing several colours like me, make sure you check the last colour you poured, unless you want to end up with the same mess I did. Oops!

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If you have used the low-sweat melt and pour soap base, you have the advantage of being able to leave the soaps unwrapped. Otherwise, you’ll have to wrap the soaps in cling foil or put them into little cello bags to prevent ‘sweating’ – moisture condensing on the soap.

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You can add these little treats to your Easter baskets, put them in little cello bags or use them as little decorations. I’ve added a few of the soaps into little plastic egg shells with a bit of coloured shredded paper. Do you think the kids will like it?

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Easter treats MP soap

  • Difficulty: Beginners
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Ingredients

  • white melt and pour base (I prefer low-sweat for this project)
  • soap dye or food colouring
  • fragrance or essential oil
  • Easter themed mold
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

Directions

  1. Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 10 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add a drop or two of soap dye or food colouring and stir. Add a drop more at a time until you have reached the desired colour.
  4. For each 1/2 cup of soap, add about 1/8 teaspoon (10-15 drops) of fragrance or essential oil, and stir well.
  5. Carefully pour the soap into the cavities of the soap mold, and spray with alcohol to get rid of all the bubbles.
  6. Leave to cool down and harden completely before unmolding. If you are using low-sweat melt and pour soap, you can leave them unwrapped, otherwise wrap them in cling foil or put them in little cello bags.

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Coconut and lime MP soap

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 2
 hrs
Yields: 4 bars of soap

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Let your senses take you on tropical vacation next time you shower. This soap is scented with the smooth fragrance of coconut paired with refreshing lime, the perfect combination for island dreams! The layered design of the soap is softened by the crinkle cutter, giving the soap a cool wavy look.

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To make this soap you will need white and clear melt and pour soap base, a green and a blue mica, and the coconut lime fragrance from Candlescience. All the ingredients are available from Pure Nature. In addition, you will need the small square silicon soap mold or another square mold with approximately 500 ml volume, and a crinkle soap cutter.

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ONE: Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and add to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 20 second bursts, until the soap has melted. Try to avoid the soap from reaching boiling point!

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TWO: Add 1/2 teaspoon of the coconut lime fragrance and stir well.

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THREE: Pour approximately 1/3 of the white soap into the mold.

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FOUR: Spritz the surface with 99% isopropyl alcohol. This is to disperse any bubbles, but also to prepare the surface, so that the next layer will adhere to it.

Let the soap cool down and solidify to the point where it will support the next layer, but has not yet completely hardened. Usually this is when the soap is still slight warm and when you gently press on it, it will leave a dent. The soap has to be hard enough so that the next layer will not push through the surface of the previous layer, and yet not too solid so that the two layers will fuse together.

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FIVE: Next, cut half of the clear melt and pour soap base into cubes and place them into another heat proof Pyrex jug. Again melt in the microwave in 20 second bursts until melted.

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SIX: Add about 1/4 teaspoon green mica and stir well. The mica I’m using here is Apple Green Mica from Pure Nature. You don’t need a lot of mica to colour clear soap base, but feel free to add a little more or less until you reach your desired colour.

SEVEN: Add 1/4 teaspoon of fragrance and give the soap another good stir, before carefully pouring it over the white layer. Spritz the soap with alcohol.

Again, wait for the green layer to harden sufficiently to hold the next layer, without it pushing through.

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EIGHT: Re-melt the white soap in the microwave in 20 second bursts and then pour it over the green layer. Spritz with alcohol.

NINE: Cut and melt the remaining clear soap, add 1/4 teaspoon of blue mica and 1/4 teaspoon of fragrance and carefully pour it over the white layer. Again spritz with alcohol.

For the blue layer, I’m using Blue Lustre Mica from Pure Nature, which is one of my favourite blues!

Wait for the blue layer to harden before proceeding.

TEN: Re-melt the remaining white soap and pour it over the blue layer. Spritz with alcohol to get rid of any air bubbles.

ELEVEN: Leave the soap to cool down and harden completely before unmolding. Using a crinkle cutter, cut a thin slice of two of the sides, and then cut the soap into 4 bars. This way you will get 4 bars which are wavy on both sides!

Troubleshooting: Because it’s tricky to get the exact right moment of pouring the layers, they can sometimes separate when cutting. If this happens, you can melt some clear soap base, and brush a thin layer of soap onto each end before sticking them together. Once the ‘glue’ has completely cooled down, you can carefully tidy up the soap using a knife.

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Because melt and pour soap bases contain a high amount of glycerin, they attract moisture and will ‘sweat’ if not wrapped. You can either place them into cellophane bags or wrap them into cling wrap to store them.

Coconut lime MP soap

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Ingredients

  • approx. 350 g white soap base
  • approx. 300 g clear soap base
  • green mica
  • blue mica
  • Coconut lime fragrance from Candlescience
  • small square silicon mold (500 ml)
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

Directions

  1. Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  4. Pour about 1/3 of the soap into the mold and spray the surface with isopropyl alcohol. Wait until the white soap has hardened sufficiently to hold the next layer.
  5. Cut half of the clear melt and our soap base into small cubes and place in another heat proof Pyrex jug.
  6. Heat in the microwave on 20 second bursts or until melted.
  7. Add approximately 1/4 teaspoon of apple green mica to the soap.
  8. Add 1/4 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  9. Pour the green soap over the white layer, being careful as not to break through the surface of the white soap. Wait for the green layer to harden sufficiently to hold the next layer.
  10. Re-melt the white soap in the microwave in 20 second bursts until melted.
  11. Gently pour half of the remaining white soap over the green layer. Wait for the white layer to harden sufficiently to hold the next layer.
  12. Cut and melt the remaining clear soap.
  13. Add 1/4 teaspoon of magic blue mica and 1/4 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  14. Carefully pour the blue soap over the white layer. Wait for the blue layer to harden sufficiently to hold the next layer.
  15. Re-melt the remaining white soap in the microwave and carefully pour it over the blue layer.
  16. Leave the soap to cool down and solidify completely before unmolding. Then using a crinkle cutter, cut a thin slice of the edges before cutting the soap into 4 bars.
  17. Store the soaps wrapped, either in clear cellophane bags or cling wrap.