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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.

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Jolly soaps

Difficulty: Beginners
Time:
1 hr
Yields: 4 bars of soap

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With this soap, I wanted to catch a bit of the fun and silliness there is at Christmas. Think silly Christmas hats, Secret Santa and Bad Santa (something I only found out about this year!), terrible jokes and a bit of fun and cheer. Christmas is all about getting together and enjoying each other’s company. My favourite is always the Christmas crackers, and even though the jokes are starting to get old, we still all read them out loud and put on the silly hats.

These Jolly Soaps are quick and easy to make and the perfect Secret Santa or Bad Santa gift. Or get the kids to make them as Teacher’s Gifts. You only need white and clear melt and pour soap base, green and red food colouring, and Holly Berry fragrance. As a mold, you can either use the small square mold from Pure Nature, or you can use a small plastic container of similar size.

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ONE: Cut the clear 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!

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

THREE: Pour half of the melted soap base into a separate container.

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FOUR: Add 2-3 drops of green food colouring to one container and 2-3 drops of red food colouring to the other container, and  give both a good stir.

If you choose to use a different fragrance, make sure they are safe to use on skin. This is particular important when using candle fragrances. Not all candle fragrances are suitable for use in body care products and soap. So don’t forget to read the safety data of the fragrances you intend to use, or check back with the supplier.

FIVE: Pour the two colours into two small containers and let them cool down and harden.

I used my square cavity mold, but you can use a disposable cup, yoghurt bottles or a little plastic container. It doesn’t really matter what shape it is, because you’ll be cutting these up later.

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SIX: Once the two soaps have completely cooled down and hardened, unmold them, and cut them into smaller shapes. Try and vary the shapes: cubes, long, triangles, pyramid-shaped etc.

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SEVEN: Next, cut the white melt and pour soap base and place it in a heat proof Pyrex jug. Melt on high in the microwave in 20 second bursts until melted.

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EIGHT: Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and give it a good stir.

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NINE: Pour about 1/3 of the white soap into the soap mold.

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TEN: Place some of the green and red shapes into the white soap, and let it stand for a few minutes to set a little.

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ELEVEN: Pour some more white soap and add some more shapes, and keep doing this until the soap and shapes have been used up. Between each pour, let the soap set a little. Should the white soap become too thick to pour, re-melt it in the microwave.

You can either finish off with a white layer of soap, or you can let some of the shapes stick out of the white soap for a more funkier look!

TWELVE: Let the soap cool down completely and harden before carefully unmolding. Remember, melt and pour soap bases contain a lot of glycerin and the soaps will sweat (attract moisture) in humid conditions, so they will need to be wrapped (Glad Wrap or cello bags).

PLEASE NOTE BECAUSE WE ARE USING FOOD COLOURING THE COLOURS WILL BLEED INTO THE WHITE OVER TIME. 

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Jolly soaps

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • approx. 250 g each of white and clear melt and pour soap base
  • red and green food colouring
  • Holly Berry fragrance from Candlescience
  • 2 small containers of about 125 ml volume each
  • small square soap mold of 500 ml volume

Directions

  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 20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  4. Pour about half of the soap into a separate container.
  5. Add 2-3 drops of red food colouring to one container, and 2-3 drops of green food colouring to the other container, and give both soaps a good stir.
  6. Pour the soaps into 2 small containers and let cool down and harden.
  7. Unmold and cut the green and red soap into small random blocks and shapes. Set aside.
  8. Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and melt in the microwave as before (points 1 and 2).
  9. Add 1/2 teaspoon of fragrance and stir well.
  10. Pour about 1/3 of the white soap into the square soap mold.
  11. Place some of the red and green shapes into the white soap, and let set a little.
  12. Continue alternating pouring the white soap base and placing the shapes, and letting it set a little in-between each pour, until all the soap and shapes have been used up.
  13. Leave the soap to cool down and harden completely before unmolding.
  14. Package the soaps into little cello bags or glad wrap.

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Christmas soaps

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 mins
Yields: approx. 20 small soaps

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It’s Christmas soon! Are you ready yet? Or are you like me, right in the middle of trying to get everything done in time? You should see my kitchen, it is one big chaos and dinners consist of BBQ and salads at the moment while the soap making has taken over the kitchen.

Here’s a little project that is quick and easy to make and doesn’t need a lot of extra ingredients. Something that you can do last minute, because these cute little soaps will be ready to gift in a couple of hours. They make great stocking fillers. Or how about getting the kids to make their own Christmas gifts this year? Something for nana, granddad, family, friends… All you need is some clear melt and pour soap base, food colouring, fragrance, some glitter, and these cute Christmassy soap molds that I found at the Warehouse for $3 each.

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The instructions are based on 2 molds of each, two Christmas tree molds (green) and two Christmas presents (red) molds. I did the little green Christmas trees first, and then repeated the whole process for the little red presents.

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ONE: To prepare, sprinkle some glitter into each cavity of the mold. Pure Nature has these great bio-glitters that are not only safe to use on skin, but are also bio-degradable and sourced from renewable raw materials. You can also use other glitters, but do be aware that they are usually made plastic.

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TWO: Cut approximately 2 rows of clear 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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THREE: Once your soap base is completely melted, add 3-4 drops of green food colouring, and  give it a good stir.

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FOUR: Add approximately 15-20 drops of fragrance, and stir the soap until the colour and the fragrance has been thoroughly dispersed throughout the soap.

For the Christmas trees, I used the aptly named Christmas tree fragrance from Candlescience, which has a fresh Christmassy scent, and for the Christmas presents I used the delicious, sweet Holly Berry fragrance from Candlescience. I love both fragrances, because although they do remind you of Christmas, they’re not the usual standard fragrances, that everyone seems to use for their Christmas soaps.

When you choose your fragrance, make sure they are safe to use on skin. This is particular important when using candle fragrances. Not all candle fragrances are suitable for use in body care products and soap. So don’t forget to read the safety data of the fragrances you intend to use, or check back with the supplier.

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FIVE: Pour into your mold, and spritz with 99% isopropyl alcohol (optional) to get rid of any bubbles on the surface.

Let the soaps cool down completely and harden before carefully unmolding. Remember, melt and pour soap bases contain a lot of glycerin and the soaps will sweat (attract moisture) in humid conditions, so they will need to be wrapped (Glad Wrap or cello bags).

REPEAT WITH OTHER MOLDS

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Christmas soaps

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • approx. 1/2 kg clear melt and pour soap base
  • red and green food colouring
  • Christmas Tree and Holly Berry fragrance from Candlescience
  • glitter
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol (optional)
  • Christmas tree and Christmas present molds from the Warehouse

Directions

  1. Sprinkle a little glitter into each cavity of the mold.
  2. Cut the soap into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  3. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 20 second bursts until melted.
  4. Add 3-4 drops of food colouring and stir.
  5. Add 15-20 drops fragrance and stir well.
  6. Pour the soap into  your soap mold and leave to set and harden before unmolding.
  7. Package the soaps into little cello bags or glad wrap.

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Witchy cauldrons jelly soap

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 6 cauldrons

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I love Halloween because it’s the one time in the year where I can get creative with fun spooky stuff. These witchy cauldrons are filled with a green jelly soap to which I’ve added some plastic spiders and skulls. You can buy the little cauldrons and spiders from Spotlight, and I found the little skulls at Look Sharp.

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All the soap ingredients, including the jelly soap, you can buy from Pure Nature. Jelly soap is really fun because it’s, as the name implies, a jelly like soap – pretty much like the jelly that you eat! And it’s easy to work with: you just melt it and then pour it.

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ONE: Cut up enough jelly soap to fill the six little cauldrons. You’ll have to eyeball this. Add the jelly soap to a heat proof Pyrex jug and heat it in the microwave in 1 minute intervals until it’s completely melted. Be careful that the soap does not start to boil. Give the soap only a quick stir between the intervals, but don’t over-stir. For this project, it doesn’t matter if you do get bubbles in your soap – it just adds to the effect!

TWO: Combine 1/2 teaspoon of mica into 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol. And add it to the soap, stirring well.The alcohol will help disperse the mica through the soap without firming clumps. The alcohol will evaporate in the heat from the soap.

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THREE: Add 30 ml of coconut lime fragrance and give the soap a good stir to mix the fragrance well into the soap. This is my favourite fragrance from Candlescience skin-safe fragrances. It’s fresh and a little fruity, and I think it’s a perfect fit for the green coloured soap and the cauldrons.

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FOUR: Pour the soap into the little cauldrons. Don’t worry if you spill a little on the cauldrons. I think it makes it look even better with a bit of soap hanging over the edge of the cauldrons.

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FIVE: Lastly, sprinkle some of the spring green bio-glitter over the surface. I like using bio-glitter because it’s made from environmentally sourced, renewable raw materials and is bio-degradable. It is also safe to use on your skin and feels a lot softer than plastic glitter.

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Leave the cauldrons to cool down and if you like, embellish with some spooky little toys. I added mini-skulls and spiders to my cauldrons, which I found at Look Sharp. Just be aware if you plan to give these to young children and toddlers, that they can pose a choking hazard.

Have a witchy good time!

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  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • jelly soap
  • coconut lime fragrance
  • apple green mica
  • spring green bio-glitter
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol
  • 6 cauldrons
  • optional: spooky decorations

Directions

  1. cut up and add the jelly soap to a heat-proof Pyrex jug
  2. heat the soap in 1 minute intervals in the microwave until completely melted – be careful you don’t bring it to a boil
  3. combine 1/2 teaspoon of mica with 1 teaspoon of 99% isopropyl alcohol, and add it to the soap
  4. add 30 ml of coconut lime fragrance and stir well into the soap
  5. pour the soap into the cauldrons
  6. sprinkle bio-glitter over the surface of the soap and leave to cool down
  7. add little spooky toys (optional)

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Using clays in soap

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Natural clays have been used for millennia in skin care for their cleansing and purifying properties. They have become popular in soap making, because they are considered a natural alternative to colouring soap, and they come in a variety of colours, most commonly green, yellow and varying shades of red. The different colours depend on the mineral composition of the clay, which is determined by the source rock from which they clay was formed through the processes of weathering and erosion. Note clays are basically dirt! The main types of clays that are used in cosmetics are illite clays (i.e. French clays), montmorillonite clays (Bentonite and Fuller’s Earth) and kaolin clay.

What makes clays unique is their cation-exchange capacity (CEC) – the ability to adsorb and exchange cations (positively charged ions). Montmorillonite clays have the highest CEC rate, and kaolin clay the lowest, with the illite clays somewhere in between.

In skin care, this means that clay can remove positively charged toxins and pollutants from your skin.

Montmorillonite clays possess the highest cation-exchange capacities. They are formed from weathering and erosion of volcanic ashes, producing hydrated (sodium calcium aluminum magnesium) silicates, which contain many valuable trace minerals. Montmorillonite clay is the principal ingredient of bentonite and Fuller’s earth. These clays are the only ones to have expanding (swelling) capacity – meaning they absorb water, unlike other clays, which are just diluted with water. This is a particular useful property in shaving soaps, because it adds slip and glide to the soap.

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The difference between swelling and non-swelling clays: On the left is yellow french clay, a non-swelling illite clay. Adding water to non-swelling clays only dilutes and the clay particles become suspended in the water. Montmorillonite clays, on the other hand, like the bentonite clay on the right, absorb the water and the clays expand (swell). Both bowls contain the same amount of water and clay.

Kaolinite clay, on the other hand, is a non-swelling clay with the lowest cation-exchange capacity, and is the most gentle on the skin. These aluminium silicates are the main component of kaolin clay, which gets its name from the Chinese word, “Gaoling”, meaning ‘high ridge’. Kaolinite clays are formed by weathering or hydrothermal alteration of aluminosilicate minerals, common in feldspar rocks.

The CEC rate of the illite clays lie somewhere between kaolinite and montmorillonite clays, depending on their mineral composition. Similar to kaolinite clays, they are also formed by decomposition of feldspar rocks, but under high pH (alkaline) environments. These non-swelling, mica silicates are the most common of clays and are widely distributed in marine shales and sediments. Varying mineral compositions, which may include calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, silicium, manganese, phosporous, copper, and/or selenium, give rise to the many various colours and properties of the different illite clays.

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A common misconception is that clays soak up or absorb oils and fats, and are thus beneficial for oily skin. Unfortunately, most clays don’t have the ability to draw excess oil from your skin, with the exception of calcium bentonite.  They do, however, gently exfoliate the top layer of your skin, and remove dead cells, dirt and some of the excess oil with it. In addition to the exfoliation, they also draw water from your skin, which is why clays are not recommended for particular dry and sensitive skin.

The many benefits of using clay in soap:

  • exfoliates and smoothes
  • removes toxins and pollutants
  • stimulates and brightens
  • adds slip (for shaving)
  • contains valuable minerals
  • natural colourant

Using clays in cold process soap

Because of their various properties, clays are a popular additive in soap making. It is a great option if you are looking for a natural colourant. The rule of thumb is to use about 1 teaspoon of clay to 500g of soap, you can add more, but be aware that adding clay can speed up trace. You can add the clay either directly to the lye water, which will intensify the colour, or add it to the soap at trace. However, clays absorb liquid, so it’s important to wet the clay before adding it to the soap mixture. I like to dilute 1 teaspoon of clay in 1 tablespoon of water and mix it into a slurry. Wetting the clay also helps disperse the clay more evenly throughout the soap, reducing spotting.

Using clays in melt and pour soap
Clays are also great to add to melt and pour soap bases. The usage rate in melt and pour soap bases is around 1 teaspoon per 500g soap. I would be careful of adding too much, because it will make the soap very thick and difficult to work with.  To avoid clumping and disperse the clay evenly in the soap, I like to dilute 1 teaspoon of clay in 1-2 teaspoons of  99% isopropyl alcohol. Using alcohol also has the benefit of reducing bubbles in your soap. Don’t worry about the alcohol, the heat of the melted soap will evaporate the alcohol leaving only the clay behind.


Types of clay

Bentonite clay (also Sodium bentonite)

Bentonite clay is a sodium bentonite, which is created from volcanic ash. It has a unique property of absorbing water (it can swell up to 14 times its weight!), which will add slip to the soap, particular useful in shaving soaps, as it allows the razor to glide smoothly over the skin. Bentonite clay has a grey to cream colour.

Best used in shaving soaps

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Shaving soap

Fuller’s earth

Fuller’s earth is another bentonite clay, but instead of sodium it contains calcium, which makes it the only clay to absorb oil, and is often used in combination to clear oil spills. Bentonite clays also have the highest CEC rate, meaning it has the highest rate of removing toxins, impurities and pollutants from your skin, which makes it ideal for oily and acne-prone skin. Colours range from brown or green to grey and cream.

Use in soaps for oily and acne-prone skins, but never on dry and sensitive skins!

Ghassoul/rhassoul clay

Also known as rhassoul clay or Moroccan red clay, this ancient volcanic clay is mined from the lacustrine (lake) sedimentary rocks of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and has been used since the 8th century by Moroccan women in hair and skin care. The name ghassoul comes from the Arabic word “ghassala”, meaning “to wash”. Like the other montmorillonite clays, ghassoul clay absorbs water, but because of its very fine texture, it feels smooth and lubricating and has a very high absorption rate, which makes it extremely effective at detoxifying and purifying the skin and a gentle exfoliant, clearing clogged pores, removing dead cells and stimulating circulation. And with its high silica content, ghassoul clay is considered one of the most luxurious cosmetic clays and is used in top spas around the world.

Soaps containing ghassoul clay leave the skin looking radiant and rejuvenated.

French Green Clay

French green clay, also known as marine clay, is an illite clay formed from sea sediments, which receives its green colour from decomposed seaweed and algae, and is considered a bio-mineral rich in minerals and phyto-nutrients.

French green clay is an excellent additive to soaps, but be aware that the green colour turns grey-green in soap.

French Yellow Clay

Yellow illite clay is also similar to green illite in its cosmetic uses and properties, and but differs from the green by a higher content of iron oxides. It is similar in its cosmetic uses and properties to the green clay.

In soaps it is mainly used as a natural colourant.

French Red Clay

French red clay receives its colour from its high concentration of iron oxides, which increases its strength of removing toxins, pollutants and other impurities from the skin. It is also an excellent exfoliant, removing dead cells, unclogging pores and smoothing the skin, leaving it looking rejuvenated and radiant.

An excellent additive to shower soaps, particular for use on upper arms, back of thighs and stomach. Also used as a natural colourant.

French white clay

White clay has similar properties as the other illite clays, but is not as mineral-rich.

Use in soaps when you want the exfoliating and detoxifying benefits, but without adding colour to the soap.

French Pink Clay

French pink clay or rose clay is often a blend of red illite and white kaolin clays, and its colours range from a light pink to a rich rose or even orange shade. The colour is determined by the amount of iron oxides in the red illite clay. Because of the added kaolin clay, it is considered the mildest of all illite clays. Pink clay is a very mild detoxifier and a gentle exfoliant and is especially suitable for sensitive, mature, and dehydrated skins.

In soaps, it is used as a natural colourant but also as a mild exfoliant.

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Kaolin Clay
Kaolin clay, named after the hill in China where it was originally mined, is the most gentlest and mildest of all clays. It comes in a variety of colours, depending on its mineral composition, including red, yellow and green, but the most common colour is white. Unlike the illite and montmorillonite clays, kaolin clay has a very low CEC rate, and is not a very efficient detoxifier. However, its fine texture makes it very beneficial to fragile and sensitive skins as a gentle and mild exfoliant without irritating the skin.
Kaolin clay adds creaminess in soaps and makes for a gentle and mild soap.