What are natural additives and how to use them

What are natural additives?

You can use additives to change the properties of your soap, either to improve the quality of the bar, add additional properties, or for a great visual effect.

Which additives to add to your soap?

Some of the most common additives you can use to improve the quality of the soap are:

  • Salt – dissolve salt in water and mix it in the soap batter if you want to harden your soap. A harder soap will also last longer. This doesn’t mean you should make a soft soap and then add salt to harden it. This is to make sure the soap is easier to unmould, feels harder and lasts longer. Use 10 grams of salt per kilogram of oils (i.e. if your formula requires 500 grams of oils you need to add 5 grams of salt) dissolved in a bit of water and add it to your oils;
  • Sugar – sugar will help increase the lather of your soap. Dissolve sugar in water and add it to the batter. People associate lather with cleansing and if your soap will not lather much people will feel it doesn’t clean well. Plus everyone loves suds! Dissolve 10 grams of sugar per kilogram of oils (i.e. if your formula requires 500 grams of oils you need to add 5 grams of sugar) in a bit of water and add it to your oils then proceed to make the soap as usual;
  • Oat silk – to give a feeling of creaminess to your soap, add the powder directly into the oils;
Exfoliant soap
  • Yogurt – if you want your soap to look creamy, add 20 grams of yogurt per kilogram of oils (i.e. if your formula requires 500 grams of oils you need to add 10 grams of yogurt);
  • Sodium lactate – to harden the soap and make it easier to unmould. Use 0.3% of the total amount of oils, mix it with the oils;
  • Beeswax – you can add beeswax to your soap to harden it. You will need to melt the beeswax and mix it with the oils, before mixing it with the lye solution. Use 1 or 2% of the total quantity of oils and butters;
  • Scrub – add additives to your soap to turn it into an exfoliant soap. The quantities of scrub are a matter of personal preference. Some people like a soft scrub and some a harder scrub. You can start by adding 50 grams of exfoliant to 500 grams of oils. You can use as exfoliant: fine cut oat bran, jojoba beads, loofah, coffee grounds, salt, ground almonds, ground walnuts, etc;
  • EDTA and oleoresin – to help avoid DOS, please see Module 4 Main ingredients used o make soap, Unit 1 Oils and butters.
Exfoliating oats soap

On the left you can see a picture of an exfoliating soap made with fine cut oat bran. The oat specks are very decorative as well as useful, and can look great in rustic, botanical soaps.


4 thoughts on “What are natural additives and how to use them”

  1. Highly appreciated if inf gvn fr medicated soap sp fr derma disease , how to make most economic soap for poor people

    • Hi, you will need to speak with a doctor, or dermatologist, to understand what ingredients you need to add to your soap to help with medical skin issues, if possible at all. If you want to make soap that doesn’t cost too much you should use local oils and butters (find the ones which are low cost, and if they are local you don’t have to pay for transport), and keep it simple (don’t use expensive additives or scents, just stick to oils / butters, water, and Sodium Hydroxide). Learning to use a soap calculator, like soapcalc.net, will help you because you can create and tweak your soap formula based on the oils and butters you can find locally.


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