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Natural Additives for Soaping



I began this list in my Soap Diary a long, long time ago which started as a natural additive list, but sort of developed into everything you can throw into Cold Process Soap list!  Lots of items you may need to grow or purchase, some you will have in your kitchen pantry, others you may already have in your store cupboard for lotions and soaping.  Herbs are often purchased for cooking, and so are to hand ready and dry for soaping!

Although these organic materials can be used for colour and/or texture, results will vary depending on the pH and/or your experience level. I love swirling my soap, but just take a look at those fabulous logs of soap at the top of this page made by Raindrops on Roses - Wholesalers of Quality Soap in London and you will see how natural materials can look totally gorgeous in your soap! And these are all totally hand poured and hand decorated by Tricia - totally awesome!

Regarding how much to use - this is a personal decision, but there are broad guidelines we can offer.  The best way is always to do a small trial, use the product, assess it and then adjust as you feel.

Clays - Lots of options and different effects: 

  • Activated Charcoal - for a natural black colourant or cleansing: 1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon per kilo soap 


  • Oats - Oatmeal, Oatbran, Steel Cut Oats, Oat Silc, Colloidal Oatmeal

  • Teas - Green Black, Herbal - either as an infusion or dried as exfoliant
  • Wheat Bran, Wheatgerm:  2 teaspoons - 1 tablespoon per kilo of soap
  • Rice - ground in coffee grinder to powder, Rice Bran:  
  • Polenta - fine and coarse - for scrubbiness
  • Nuts - ground - almonds, hazelnuts, peanut paste, or even macadamias!
  • Sago - for decorating the top of slabs and logs
  • Tapioca - small coloured or white (from Asian supermarkets)
  • Seaweed (for sushi cooks) - grind or chop finely
  • Honey - liquid, keep to a maximum of 2 tablespoons per kilo of oils and don't insulate
  • Beer - use as part of liquid content and combine in thinly traced soap, don't over-insulate
  • Lentils - either soak or cook, and use the water. I've not tried the actual cooked lentils mashed in soap yet, but they are used instead of shampoo in India
  • Poppy Seeds - not too many or they can be quite scratchy
  • Coconut - dessicated - for scrubby texture or as a surface decoration
  • Coffee - either as coffee grounds, for scrubbiness, or even instant, concentrated for colour
  • V8 and Tomato Juice - for an orange/pinkish coloured soap
  • Peach/apricot Nectar
  • Chocolate! - yes, it might be considered a waste, but it is a nice authentic touch
  • Cocoa - easier to part with than chocolate bars!
  • Coconut Milk – from Asian Grocery Stores or Coles etc. Add as per Buttermilk instructions
  • Buttermilk - reserve and warm some of the water content, and dissolve approximately 1-2 tablespoons per cup warm/hot water per kilo oils.  Blast with stick blender to remove any little lumps. Add at trace. *If you add too much, can cause speckling
  • Coconut Milk Powder - from the supermarket or Asian grocery store
  • Goatsmilk - fresh from the supermarket, or powdered goatsmilk
  • Yoghurt Powder
  • Honey Powder - hydrate with milk or water and add at trace

Dried Herbs - either dried as Texture, or Infused into Tea for their properties

  • Mints - spearmint and peppermint, others if you have them growing such as Eau de Cologne, Choc Mint etc
  • Parsley - for colour/texture
  • Calendula petals - both infused and for decoration
  • Comfrey leaves - best infused in oil for its healing properties, particularly in garden soapsAdding dried herbs to soap
  • Rosemary - grind it nice and fine or it is very scratchy
  • Dill - infused you can get a nice green oil
  • Turmeric - not a favourite as dirty nappy colour is often the result!
  • Paprika - I prefer this to be infused, as used in strength for colour, can cause irritation
  • Alkanet Root - infuse dried Powder in oil and achieve anything from pale blue/lavender to rich burgundy
  • Sandalwood Powder - don't use too much or it can be sensitising
  • Annatto Infusion - infuse in oil for a rich orange colour
  • Madder Root - for reddish/pink colour
  • Indigo Blue Powder - for an indigo blue colour
  • Saffron Powder - lovely golden yellow colour
  • Woad - if you can find it - quite costly though
  • Lavender Flowers - dried, ground is best (NOT WHOLE - these produce the "mouse dropping look" after a month or so!)
  • Lemon Myrtle Leaves - grind really finely
  • Rooibos Tea - for golden brown colour



Dairy goods for soap making

  • Goats Milk - all time favourite, and our signature soap
  • Cows Milk - allow to curdle by adding hot, stick blend and have naturally coloured caramel soap
  • Cream - add at trace
  • Sour Cream - add at trace
  • Yoghurt - add at trace
  • Leftover vegetable/fruit juices - add at early trace as part of water content
  • Soy milk - add at trace as part of water content



Fresh Fruit & Veggies - for Cold Process Soap (fresh produce will mould quickly in Melt and Pour Soap)

  • Cucumber - remove seeds and blend (or use stick blender) add skin and all at early trace as part of water content
  • Bananas - mashed - also good in Solid Shampoo Bars - add at early trace as part of water contentFruit and veg for soapmaking
  • Carrots - either cooked and mashed/sieved or buy baby carrots in a tin
  • Avocado - mashed, not a personal favourite, but can be added
  • Strawberries - won't stay red, but nice to have with Yogurt/Cream and Strawberry Fragrance
  • Melon - just the juice - nice with the right fragrance for an authentic touch
  • Tomato - juiced/sieved - add at early trace as part of water content
  • Pumpkin - cooked and mashed - add at early trace as part of water content, scented with Cinnamon EO
  • Citrus zest/peel - grate and either air dry, or slowly oven dry
  • Fresh Peaches - remove stone and blend (or use stick blender) add at early trace as part of water content


And the usual soapy suspects for exfoliating.......


TIP: Invest in a coffee grinder, as it will make light work of so many chunky ingredients and make them easy to prepare for your soaping!