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Additives in Soap- Do they work?

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CatahoulaBubble

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I've been searching the internet and really haven't found much conclusive evidence so I thought I'd ask her to see what other soap makers have observed. In terms of soap making, adding in special additives to soap, do you find it makes a real difference to skin? I see high end soap producers charging $15/bar for mushroom or seaweed soap that's supposed to clarify and detoxify your skin, and I see other low end soap makers touting that their soap has medicinal or healing properties. Now I've made a lot of different recipes and added in various additives from coffee, clays, charcoal, calendula, honey, and the like and while I have had customers say that some of my soaps have helped their eczema or their dry skin, I'm not entirely sure that it's so much from the additives as it is that I have a very good soap base and superfat. I'm not against making mushroom or seaweed soaps but I feel like with soap there's little benefit to adding high end additives because it's just washing away. It's not like a mask or lotion that sits on your skin. Has anyone seen any significant evidence to support using additives in your soap for medicinal or health reasons on skin issues?
 

dibbles

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I think that since it is a wash off product, and spends very little time on the skin the medicinal or health benefits are negligible - and that's assuming the benefits survive their encounter with lye. What I do think is noticeable is the difference in feel or lather while the soap is in use, i.e., more bubbles, creamier feel, more slip, etc.
 

shunt2011

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I agree with Dibbles. Soap washes off. I think a good well rounded recipe is all a person needs. Additives may add to characteristics we like as noted.
 

GemstonePony

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I'm pretty sure the people paying $15 per bar for soap are able to dish out money for higher-end skin care products and ironically don't need help from the soap. You'd need a double-blind study with variables removed to get a solid answer, and I don't see anyone willing to finance that. For points already made, I'm 99% sure it's label value. IMO, these ingredients would be better as a mask or similar where they might actually have a chance to interact directly with the skin. But hey, nobody's paying $15 for my soap (also, I don't sell my soap 😁 ), so what do I know?
 

Kathymzr

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Nivea makes an after-shower product composed of oils you might find in soap. You are supposed put it on your skin after showering and let it sit on skin for a couple of minutes then rinse it off.i think it works pretty well, letting skin absorb some of the oils. My soaps (vegan, no palm) cost more to make, but leave my skin feeling good like the Nivea product, like putting on moisturizer after showering. I make no claims and do not sell my soap. But that standard for conditioning is my goal. Yes my soap is on the soft side, but I’ve never had a problem. Try 30-30-30 apricot oil, murumuru butter and cocoa butter - ish - and caster oil for bubbles— or something like that, maybe a little Kokum. 5% super fat, sodium lactate, 33% water, silk and whatever else you like. I’ve had good luck with that. Would like to hear your feedback! Thanks!
 

CaraBou

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Playing with additives has fed many of my curiosities. But I've simplified over the years to what is most functional and easy for me. That's typically fragrance, colorants, a chelator (tEDTA), and bubble booster (sugar). I don't get paid to worry about label appeal ;)
 

Catscankim

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I know that activated charcoal in soap makes me break out. I'm nearly 50, this shouldn't happen LOL. I used another handmade charcoal soap prior to me making my own soap. I broke out like crazy and stopped using it. Now that I am making soap, and started using one of my charcoal bars...I am finding the same problem happening.

Maybe if I KEEP using it, it will level out because AC is drawing and detoxifying, and maybe my skin needs to get used to it and get rid of the toxins. I'd rather keep pimples where they are though lol.
 

CatahoulaBubble

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Nivea makes an after-shower product composed of oils you might find in soap. You are supposed put it on your skin after showering and let it sit on skin for a couple of minutes then rinse it off.i think it works pretty well, letting skin absorb some of the oils. My soaps (vegan, no palm) cost more to make, but leave my skin feeling good like the Nivea product, like putting on moisturizer after showering. I make no claims and do not sell my soap. But that standard for conditioning is my goal. Yes my soap is on the soft side, but I’ve never had a problem. Try 30-30-30 apricot oil, murumuru butter and cocoa butter - ish - and caster oil for bubbles— or something like that, maybe a little Kokum. 5% super fat, sodium lactate, 33% water, silk and whatever else you like. I’ve had good luck with that. Would like to hear your feedback! Thanks!
Oh I'm not looking for a soap recipe. I have what I think is the perfect recipe for my business. My customers are happy as are family and friends that were my guinea pig testers. I was just in a shop when I was on vacation and saw a seaweed and mushroom soap that was $15 for a 3oz bar and thought it was ridiculous because the base recipe wasn't anything special. Just palm oil, palm kernel flakes, coconut oil, olive oil , sunflower oil, and Kukui oil. The additives were mushroom extract (reishi and chaga), Spirulina, and Bladderwrack Seaweed.
 

Kathymzr

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Yikes! Thanks for writing! I’ll try spirilina just to see how the color comes out. I’m infusing a trial size paprika, turmeric, and curry powder. Like you, I just make soap for friends and relatives. Some people bake. I’m not ever going to be a fancy design maker either. I started soap because commercial soap was either too gooey or too drying.
 

TheGecko

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In terms of soap making, adding in special additives to soap, do you find it makes a real difference to skin?
When you consider the saponification process and that soap is a wash on/rinse product of maybe a minute or two duration, the majority of additives are nothing more than label appeal.
 

AliOop

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Late to the party, but I’ll chime in...

I can’t speak to other additives, but I’ve never in my life been able to use any soap on my face except my own high-lard, goat milk + colloidal oat soap.

ALL other soaps - including other soap recipes I make - cause my skin to peel immediately, plus most of them make me break out, too. My lard-GM-oat bar does neither of those things. Here I am, way closer to 60yo than I like to recall, and this is the first time in my life that I can wash my face with soap instead of expensive cleansers. While it would be wrong to make claims, that is my personal experience.

The potential combinations of different variables is enormous, which explains why my results differ from someone else’s. Our skin types, bodies, health conditions, and tap water quality are all different, just for starters.

So, I believe the person who says that additives make no difference, and I believe the one who says they do.
 

Arimara

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I technically still can't use many soaps to wash my face with as they are too drying. I'm currently having good luck with my current cleanser (here, for the curious). As far as additives go, I really would like to get more calendula at the least to infuse with my oils. None of my soaps feel like my first ever batch and that was the only one I infused calendula with.
 

SideDoorSoaps

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The only time I feel a difference on my skin is when I mess with my superfat with coconut milk or other butters.
 

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