Hot Colors & Additives in the Melt and Pour Soap Market

Artisans and small businesses are offering some interesting melt and pour soaps this summer. As we know, glycerin soapmaking is an ever changing artform. That’s one of the reasons why there are new designs brought to market every day. It’s the beauty of melt and pour – the fact that it is so extremely versatile.  I’ve taken a spin on the internet, visiting Etsy, Artfire and small business websites to see what’s hot in melt and pour colors and additives.
Colors
Bright colors are taking the stage this summer in clear melt and pour, with lots of blues, greens, oranges, pinks and reds in both bar soaps and novelty shapes.  Whereas some of these are one-tone bars poured in single cavity molds, many designers are continuing to layer colors both horizontally as well as in vertical and angled layers in loaf molds and selling the sliced bars.


Muted neutrals, especially earth tones prevail in more natural categories, especially those colored with herbs and spices. Chocolate hues made from cocoa and cinnamon, yellows made from honey, red from paprika and so forth in both clear and opaque melt and pour.
Very opaque, light baby blue and pink hues are becoming increasing popular in melt and pour.  These are not the light pastels traditionally used for baby showers. The shades are lighter and more subdued.
For fall, look for jewel tones –beautiful deep purples such as burgundy and , more reds and warm golden yellows and blues.  Warm neutrals will continue to prevail, from dark to beige cocoa. Black should also become a more popular accent color in layers and embeds.
Popular Additives
Several soap additives are becoming popular in melt and pour soap. We wrote about tea infusions and loose tea earlier this year (see Looking for a New Niche? Specialty Tea Crazy is Heating Up, March 21, 2011). Tea soaps continue to become increasingly popular. They are being sold in gorgeous clear bars with loose tea and/or infusions which create greens and browns. If you’d like to try adding tea to your melt and pour, try adding a teaspoon or less per pound of melted base and stir well. For tea infusions, add up to one ounce per pound to melted soap base and stir well. If adding the latter, remember to add a preservative to inhibit mold or bacteria growth.
In addition to tea, we’re seeing Moroccan argan oil becoming a popular additive. The demand for this oil is increasing, as it is becoming widely referred to as “liquid gold” in part for the restorative properties for which it’s known as well as for its high price. Recommended usage rate for oil is approximately one teaspoon per pound of liquid melt and pour base. Stir well to incorporate. Due to various ingredients in melt and pour bases, test a small amount (1/2 teaspoon) first. If you’ve added too much, you’ll see the extra oil floating at the top of your base. If this happens you can always remelt and add more base, thereby reducing the overall oil amount. Remember that while adding additional oil to the base creates a lovely soap, it will also undoubtedly reduce lather.
Although honey has been used in melt and pour base for several years, it is still gaining an increase in popularity. Use at 1% or about one teaspoon per pound of base. Honey cuts lather slightly, but is wonderful for dry skin because it is a humectant (draws moisture to the skin). It’s also known to help with cell regeneration.
Another additive that has been around for some time, but gaining new attention to the melt and pour scene is activated charcoal. Charcoal is known to clean pores effectively. Add it to melt and pour base at the rate of two to three teaspoons per pound.
Conclusion
There are many color and additive choices when it comes to melt and pour soapmaking.  The aforementioned were what we uncovered in our internet searches. What are some of your favorites? Have you tried an unusual color or additive that did or didn’t work? We’d love to hear your comments.
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Marla Bosworth is the CEO and Founder of Back Porch Soap Company, http://www.backporchsoap.com She teaches group and private classes on how to make natural skincare products in Boston and NYC. Ms. Bosworth also provides product, brand and marketing strategies for handmade beauty companies.   Marla wrote this feature article exclusively for Debbie May.com (http://www.debbiemay.com/), an organization dedicated to helping small businesses succeed.