Adding fragrance or essential oils to soap
paste is best done by heating the paste back up in
a crock pot and adding the essential oils –
keeping the heat and stirring with a little water
dilution, enough to make it "stirrable." If you just try
to stir the fragrance in – without heat or Poly
20, it will mottle and just
sit on the top of the water based solution.
Otherwise, Polysorbate 20 [tween] may be the only
other option so the essential oils do not float to
the top of your finished liquid soap. Polysorbate 20 is added to
the scent first 1:1 ratio and mixed well before
being dropped into the liquid soap.
Sometimes you need more poly and can go 2:1 or
even 4:1. Because heat can also dissipate
some essential oil scent-you may find Poly20 the
best option-amending an already diluted liquid
soap. This also allows you to pick any
essential on an "as need" basis and not be locked
into one scent.
Formulators notes: It is always best to
dilute with distilled water where possible, but a
proper water filter can be ok. It is not good to dilute with
tap water because there are so many variables as
far as mineral content and other components of tap
water. A PUR water filter can be used with much
success because PUR does remove all minerals and
impurities, unlike BRITA.
Equipment that would be helpful include the
largest crock pot you can find, which would take
most of the work out of the dilution and could be
used as a dedicated vessel, meaning no real need
to clean it. A cake mixer would also help mix the
diluted soap with the hot water. I always
used a stick blender, but these days I use both.
Keep any mixer on the lowest setting or you will
get the fluff and bubbles.
Always work in small
amounts until you are sure how your water source
is working. If you are adding scent--you can
better work out scent loads and/or potential
appearance issues. Keep your own notes
because water sources affect dilutions
immeasurably. In one state, with a high
sodium or calcium content in local water
supplies-my dilutions could go further than
another state. Meaning, if you move water sources,
you may have to re-adjust all of your final
determinations. Even moving from one city to
another can vastly affect your finished product.
I always know my water sources before I begin a
soap project. Again, I try to just use
distilled which is far more predictable, but even
then I get variances from time to time.
Possible even weather can play a role-a non-humid
area to a humid area.
Basic Liquid Soap
I find in general a
gallon of soap paste (say 9 pounds) will make 5
gallons of a liquid soap. This means you are
adding 4 gallons of water or ideally distilled
water. Thin soap is better soap, as it
produces more bubbles. Thin soap is best
because there is far less surface tension is one
reason why. If you feel you still made it too thin
and want to thicken it up a tad-you can try what I
call a "saline solution cocktail" (below) to
Thick Body Wash
Because everyone has
been taught to think thicker is better (myself
included) you can dilute soap paste 1 part paste
to 2 parts water and have a thick product. I
can usually achieve a thick product at 1 part past
to 3 parts water. If for some reason I made
it too thin I can usually correct or thicken with
the saline solution cocktail below.
Using sea salt, I make a 1:4 salt
saline solution. I microwave 1 part sea salt
in 4 parts distilled water until dissolved.
I have used table salt, although that can present
variables of other minerals also. Since you
are no longer saponifying it (dealing with the lye
part) -it should not be detrimental if you use sea
salt or table salt.
To thicken my liquid soap I would
slowly add the saline cocktail with a stick
blender for finite reaction. If
it "takes" you are going to see it "take"
relatively fast-in the area you are pouring it. If
it does not take, and sometimes it will not if you
simply have too thin a soap--you should know it
just as fast. My experience says do not keep
adding saline if it is obvious it is not taking.
Try it in a small amount if you want to be sure
You may be able to add Mica's,
you would want to coat then with vegetable
glycerin first-like 1:5. Five parts being
glycerin. Vegetable glycerin is a suspension agent
used in many body care products to suspend color.
It is also facilitated for the same reason in cake
decorating. I do not bother with micas, but
that is how I would do it, if I did do it.