Exfoliants

by | Mar 20, 2020 | Soap Making Tips | 0 comments

Exfoliants are products that remove dead skin cells, to allow creams and lotions to soak into your skin and nourish it. They also give your skin a fresh glow and better colour.

There is a vast range of products that you can add to your soaps to create an exfoliating effect. There are several factors to consider when choosing your products:

  • What level of exfoliation do you want – is this product going to be used on sensitive areas like your face, or on your body or feet? You don’t want to use a harsh ingredient on your face, any more than you would use a very fine exfoliant to scrub dead skin off your feet. You can use larger quantities of pumice to help remove ingrained dirt. Powdered ingredients can be gentler on the skin, while seeds can be harsher, although seeds become less harsh once they are wet.
  • Will it matter it the exfoliant colours your soap? Some seeds will bleed colours into, or tint your soaps.
  • Do you want your exfoliant to stand out in your in your bar and create a visual effect? You can create lovely polka dot effects with seeds.

HOW MUCH TO USE?

As a general rule, use 1 teaspoon of exfoliant per pound or 450g of soap.

For cold process soap:

  • For fine powdery ingredients, disperse in a lightweight oil such as sweet almond or canola to prevent clumps from forming.
  • For larger, heavier ingredients, add at trace.

For melt and pour soap:

  • Fine powdered ingredients – disperse in 99% rubbing alcohol and add to melted soap. If using milky way molds, ensure that you stir your seeds into the soap in the jug, not the mold, or you will scratch the mold and then all future soaps will come out with a scratched surface to them.
  • Larger, heavier ingredients – add to cooled soap (125 F, 51.6 C) to prevent it from sinking to the bottom.

FINE EXFOLIANTS FOR THE FACE

  • Colloidal oatmeal
  • Bamboo extract powder
  • Fine jojoba beads

MEDIUM EXFOLIANTS

  • Crushed grape seeds
  • Ground pumice
  • Ground pumpkin seeds
  • Ground walnut shells
  • Jojoba beads
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Shredded loofah

LARGE EXFOLIANTS

  • Coffee grounds
  • Cranberry seeds
  • Loofah sponge
  • Poppy seeds

There are various fruit seeds that can be used on the face or body, depending on their coarseness. They may all bleed colour into or tint your soap…

  • Apricot – yellow
  • Blackberry – red
  • Blueberry – red
  • Cranberry –  red
  • Red Raspberry – beige to light pink

BAMBOO

  • Made from bamboo stems, is very light, and is rich in mineral salt and silica
  • Use at 5-8%
  • Ideal for facial scrubs
  • Cold process soap – mix with oil and add at trace
  • Melt and pour soap – mix with 99% rubbing alcohol and to melted soap

COFFEE GROUNDS

  • Use 1 teaspoon per lb or 450g of soap
  • Use used grounds to prevent colour bleeding
  • Cold process soap – add at trace
  • Melt and pour soap – add to cooled base

COLLOIDAL OATMEAL

This is oatmeal that is ground into microfine particles, is very fine and gentle on the skin and is soothing.

For cold process soap – disperse in water 1 teaspoon per pound or 450g of soap and add at trace.

CRANBERRY

Cranberry

  • Fibre – Soft exfoliant suitable for facial products
  • Seeds – When finely ground are good for the face. Coarser seeds are good for the body, especially feet and elbows.

They are red and so will add a hint of colour, and sometimes bleed in cold process soap.

CRUSHED GRAPE

  • Fine and gentle, good for facial products
  • Will add a natural brown colour
  • Cold process soap – add directly at trace
  • Melt and pour soap – add directly to cooled soap


GROUND PUMPKIN

  • A medium exfoliant
  • Yellowish colour – will give a slight tint to the soap
  • Cold process soap – add directly to soap at trace
  • Melt and pour soap – add directly to cooled soap

JOJOBA SEEDS

  • From jojoba oil, so they will melt in extreme heat. Soap at less than 140F, 60C
  • They are spherical so are non-scratchy and come in various sizes
  • They come in various colours – green, blue, red, white, so they can be used to create fun visual effects

POPPY SEEDS

  • These are a bit too big for facial products, but give a nice effect in your soap.
  • Cold process soap – add at trace
  • Melt and pour soap – add when soap has cooled, to suspend

PUMICE

  • From volcanic glass. The exfoliating effect depends how much you add.
  • Use 1 tablespoon per pound or 450g of soap
  • Cold process soap – mix with oil or water and add at trace
  • Melt and pour soap – mix with rubbing alcohol and add when soap has cooled

SALT

  • The size will determine the level of exfoliation
  • You can use Epsom, sea, dendritic and pink salts, which come in varying coarseness.
  • You can add it to scrubs and salts and in cold process soap to create a salt bar, which will be rich and creamy in lather.

LOOFAH

  • Ground loofah sponges, which are harsh, should not be used on the face
  • Gives a nice effect to your soap, especially in clear melt and pour soap.
  • Use 1 teaspoon per lb of soap
  • Cold process soap – add at trace
  • Melt and pour soap – add at trace to suspend or put at the top or bottom of your slice to create definite effects.
  • Whole loofah – comes in a long tube, which you can cut to put in your soap.

There are no rules for using this – test it out to find the correct amount and type.

STRAWBERRY SEEDS

  • These are slightly larger seeds, that can be a bit too coarse to use in facial products
  • They create a pretty effect in your soap
  • Can be added directly to your soap 1 teaspoon per lb or 450g of soap


VANILLA BEAN

  • Ground beans – can colour your soap brown
  • Cold process soap and melt and pour soap – use 1 teaspoon  per lb or 450g soap


WALNUT SHELLS

  • Finely ground, brown colour
  • Good for facial scrubs
  • Cold process soap and melt and pour soap – use 1 teaspoon  per lb or 450g soap
  • Will colour soap

SOME FINAL ADVICE

The best way to use exfoliants is to do small test batches and try out your soaps to see how they look and feel. Experience how they feel on your face and body. You can also see what visual effects they create in your soaps. They are especially good in clear melt and pour soap for creating design effects. You can also look on Pinterest for some ideas of creative ways to use exfoliants.

Author - Shona O'Connor

Author - Shona O'Connor

Soap Maker, Course Creator & Blogger

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