Once your soap has reached trace, the following soap variations can really make your soap special.
Coffee Soap: Add 3/4 to 1 c. of fresh coffee grounds.
Cappuccino Soap: Separate your traced soap into two batches, one larger than the other. With the larger portion make the above recipe for ‘Coffee Soap’, mix the smaller portion with 1/4 c. milk and one teaspoon of ground cinnamon or nutmeg. Pour the coffee soap mixture into your mold and layer the milky soap on top. Note: use cinnamon sparing as it irritates some skin.
Honey: Seriously, I can’t wait to try this one, folks! It apparently makes a lovely fragrant, brown soap. Add 1 c. of honey to your traced soap and 1/2 to 1 c. of milk. Melted beeswax can also be melted and added to add to the moisturizing qualities of the bar (known as ‘suferfatting’ soap.) See ‘beeswax’ below for more information on adding beeswax to soap.
Oatmeal: Add 1 1/2 c. oatmeal to traced soap. Oatmeal can also be ground in the blender to make it more fine, if desired. Adding maple or cinnamon as well will help with the nice breakfast smell. Note: use cinnamon sparing as it irritates some skin.
Lavender: Easy-peezy, just add a 3/4 to 1 c. of lavender buds or a teaspoon or two of lavender essential oil (or both) for a great-smelling soap that also has anti-bacterial properties.
Mint: Essential oil and leaves in the portions mentioned in ‘Lavender.’
Pet soap: Pennyroyal is an herb in the mint family and has long been touted as an excellent flea deterrent if rub into the fur of your pet. The leaves or essential oil added to a soap would be an excellent soap to help with such pests. Warning: keep soap out of the eyes of pets.
Using teas: Using loose-leaf tea in soap can add some scent and act as an exfolliator.
Citrus: Never use real citrus juice in your soap as the citric acid reacts negatively with the soap. To attain this scent use the herbs lemongrass, lemon verbena, or lemon balm as well as any citrus essential oil.
Glycerin: Glycerin is actually produced by soap making as is the precise feature of homemade soap that makes it so moisturizing for the skin. Adding store-bought vegetable glycerin and adding it to soaps will ‘superfat’ it. When added to castille soap blended with water it can also make an excellent shampoo. This recipe does not refer to the meltable, translucent, glycerin soaps found in craft stores.
Milk: Milk, especially Goat and Cow, are popular to add to soaps and are very good for your skin. Add up to three cups to traced soap.
Beeswax: Adding extra beeswax to soap with ‘superfat’ it, or you can replace some of the oil in the basic recipe. Beeswax is excellent for your skin and smells faintly of warm honey, but it makes your soap more firm because it’s wax and not oil. Soap with beeswax in the oil base will reach trace more quickly, make sure beeswax is always melted before adding to your soap. Beeswax, as with all waxes, should always be melted in a double boiler, not a single pot or microwave, and should be added before the lye.
Liquid castille: The gentlest of soaps is best for liquid soaps being used on hair and skin. Mix equal parts shaved/cut up then melted castille and distilled or rain water. Some recipes call for 2 tablespoons of glycerin.
Floating soaps: Achieved by melting down soap and whipping it so as to integrate air bubbles into the cooled product.
Windsor soap: Originally made with tallow (wax of animal fats), use if wishing to be authentic. Otherwise merely add bergamot essential oil, caraway, clove, and thyme.