All forms of soap manufacturing use lye, which is caustic sodium. It is an alkaline base with a strong pH that quickly reaches boiling temperatures when combined with liquids such as water. This is called a "lye mixture." The process of saponification is when the lye solution is mixed with fats or oils. Saponification can be described as "making soap".
Lye can also irritate your eyes, and even more serious health problems if inhaled. It can be scary to work with, especially if it's new. It's the Thais that make melt and pour soap so enjoyable to work with.
Even though lye is used in melt and pour soap making, it gets used up during the saponification process. It happens in soap making, as it does in other areas. Handling melt and pour clear soap base at your sink is no riskier than handling a bar soap. The lye has been eliminated.
Things can get complicated when people get too focused on technicalities. I'll only mention it briefly.
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Melt-and-pour soap can be used exactly as its name suggests. You melt the soap to make it liquid and then pour it into the mold you choose. That's not all. This is the fun part!
You can also add colors, essential oils, and fragrances to your exfoliates, mica powders or embeds, as well as botanicals.
They come in both liquid and powder forms, both natural and artificial. You can mix colors to create almost any color you want, depending on whether your soap has an opaque or clear base. Add shimmering mica powder to your fully transparent MP base for an amazing look.
Essential oils are used by aromatherapists and herbalists regularly. These oils gained popularity with the health-conscious public in the 2000s. Essential oils are no longer restricted to specialty shops. They can now be found in Wholefoods Markets and on the internet.
Clays from nature can be used as exfoliants, thickening agents, and color enhancers for soap. When used correctly, clays like Kaolin, Bentonite, and Rose clay can do wonders to the skin.
Any soap additive that enhances the scent of a fragrance is called a fragrance. They can be natural oil extracts, essential oils, artificial perfumes, or musk smells. Pay attention to the flash temperature when adding fragrances. This is the temperature at the fragrance will be affected.
An "embed" can be anything you wish to put inside your soap. It is common to embed figurines made from opaque MP soap, or just curls or small chips of soap when using a clear soap base. Many people embed small toys made of plastic in clear or opaque soap bases to encourage children to use them.
Any type of petal, bud, or flower can be used in botanicals. Dried lavender is a popular option. It can be used for both a topper exfoliate or a natural scent. To prevent them from rotting and breaking down, it is important to dry your botanicals. To do this, gently press the botanicals into the soap's top. They should not fall out if the soap is gently touched.
MP soap melts into a thin liquid. It has a consistency similar to whole milk. It can be poured into any mold you like and it will not settle to the bottom of a simple bar shape. Silicone molds can be used to create the most intricate details, down to the fur pattern of a three-dimensional cat figurine.
Melt and Pour soap bases are loved for their ability to cure the bar in a matter of hours and be 100% safe to use. It is ready for use once it has dried. This is especially important when you consider the time it takes to cure soap using cold-process methods.