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Melt and Pour - Common Terminology
By Wholesale Supplies Plus Monday, May 4, 2015
This article provides some of the common terminology associated with melt & pour soapmaking. 

Additive - Ingredients added to an MP Soap Base that change the soap's color, add exfoliation or provide beneficial properties. Some common additives include milk, honey, oatmeal, seeds, herbs, herbal powders…etc.  

Bloom - The white crystal like substance that commonly forms on the top of soap or inside the soap bar and is caused by a dehydration water imbalance in the soap. Most commonly seen in soap that is melted in the microwave and then left out unwrapped. Bloom can happen in days or months depending on the amount of water loss

Colorants - The products used to give your soap color. Colorants include micas, oxides and pigments, dyes and natural spices and herbs.

Color Migration (Color Bleeding) – The movement of color in a finished bar of MP soap. It only occurs with dyes. It happens when using two or more colors to make a single bar of soap. Since dyes are water-soluble and MP soap loves water, they will eventually cross the layering barrier and migrate together. Also be aware that using mica that contains dyes can result in color migration as well.

Colorfast – Having color that is resistant to fading or migrating.

Detergent – Surfactant with cleaning properties similar to soap.

Embed - A toy, embed paper or another prior formed piece of melt and pour soap that is embedded into a new soap by pouring the new soap over the embedded item.

Emollient - An agent that softens or soothes the skin.

Emulsifier – A substance that allows oils and water to permanently bind together.

Flashpoint – The lowest temperature in which something will ignite.

Fragrance - The product that is used to scent your soap. Both fragrance oils (synthetic) and essential oils (natural) are used. 

Glycerin Dew – Unwrapped MP Soap will naturally attract moisture from the air. This attraction of moisture is due to glycerin in the soap. The glycerin causes a beaded effect to appear on finished soaps which is better known as “glycerin dew.” Wrapping finished soaps with shrink or plastic stretch wrap will create a barrier between the soap and air, thus preventing this problem.

Humectant – A substance that absorbs moisture or helps another substance retain moisture.

Hydrophilic – A substance having a strong affinity for water.

Hydrophobic – A substance resistant to water.  

Layering - A technique of first pouring a layer of MP Soap Base, allowing it to cool, then pouring another layer of MP Soap Base on top of the first.

Melt Point - The temperature at which MP Soap Base melts.

Mold - This is what you pour the soap base into. The soap then turns solid and takes the shape of the mold form. There are many types of molds that you can choose from. Learn more about choosing the right mold, Click Here

Mold Pitting – When fragrance or essential oils erode a mold making the surface rough.

Over Pour – Soap that is poured around embeds.

Pour Temp - The temperature at which you can pour MP Soap Base. Pour temps are especially important when layering or over pouring with prior formed MP embeds.

Saponification – The process of converting a fat or oil into soap by exposing it to alkali such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide.

Scent Burn Off - The term referred to when the aromatic notes of a scent fade due to exposure to high production temperatures.

Soap Base - The actual melt and pour soap. There are many different types of soap bases ranging from clear to white and yellow-tinted to green-tinted containing many different additives and ingredients.

Surfactant - Compounds that lower the surface tension of a solution thus making cleaning easier.

Suspension - Suspension is the floating of additives in MP Soap Base. Usually when seeds, herbs and glitter are added to MP Soap Base, they sink to the bottom. You can use a suspension base that is specially formulated to help suspend additives.

Sweating - Some soap bases can sweat when overheated or left exposed to the air, as MP Soap Base contains humectants, which attract moisture from the air. You can use a low-sweat base that is specially formulated to reduce sweating.