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Wholesale Supplies Plus
Getting Started: Scenting Melt and Pour Soap
Author: Wholesale Supplies Plus
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

This lesson will walk you through the process of using scent in your MP Soap Base.

Both fragrance oils and essential oils can be used to scent your MP Soap Base. Let’s discuss each:

Fragrance Oils - Fragrance oils are synthetic man-made aromatic ingredients that are used to scent soap and other products. Sometimes they can even contain natural essential oils. Crafter’s Choice Fragrance Oils are never reduced, diluted or cut with inexpensive additives to reduce the price, providing you with quality, full-strength products.

Essential Oils - Essential oils are considered a natural way to fragrance your soap and are concentrated hydrophobic liquids containing volatile aroma compounds from plants. Essential oils are extracted from plant materials (flowers, bark, seeds, peel, roots, leaves, etc.) by expression, steam distillation or solvent extraction.
  • Crafter's Choice Pure Essential Oils are a single 100% pure essential oil. They are purchased from growers, processors and distillers that agree to our request for total transparency and supplying our industry with a 100% pure product. Each of these oils has an online certificate of compliance for your review.

How much fragrance oil or essential oil should you use?

The standard fragrance oil and essential oil usage rate for MP Soap is 3%. If you want to scent 16 oz. of MP Soap Base, you would use 0.4 oz. of fragrance oil or essential oil.

However, you must familiarize yourself with IFRA Guidelines, as that can change the amount of fragrance or essential oil you can safely use in a product.

IFRA is a self-regulating trade organization that together with the industry's scientific center RIFM (the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials) establishes usage safety standards for materials that comprise fragrance and essential oils. Each year IFRA updates their standards based on sound science.

IFRA tells us that lavender essential oil is safe to use up to 30% in soap. Since MP Soap’s usage rate is 3%, we will stick with that and use 3% in our soap.

IFRA tells us that clove essential oil is safe to use up to 0.5% in soap. IFRA rates trump MP Soap’s recommended usage rate of 3%. We could only use 0.5% of clove essential oil in soap but could mix it with another essential oil (such as orange essential oil) to get the total 3%. For example, we could use 0.5% clove essential oil and 2.5% orange essential oil (which has a IFRA usage rate of up to 5%).

So when using fragrance and essential oils follow these three steps:

Step 1 - Determine the usage rate for your product. For MP Soap, that usage rate is 3% for both fragrance oils and essential oils.

Step 2 - Determine the IFRA specified max usage rate for the particular fragrance or essential oil that you want to use. Remember that the IFRA rate always trumps the product usage rate.

Step 3 - Add to your melted base right before you pour, at a temperature below 140°F.

Color Changes
It is important to note that some fragrance oils and essential oils can affect the color of your soap.
Fragrance oils containing vanilla content can turn your soap shades of brown, ranging from light cream to dark brown.  Each fragrance oil product page will tell you the vanilla content in the fragrance. A Vanilla Color Stabilizer can be used to prevent this issue.

Some essential oils contain a natural tint. Orange essential oil is tinted orange/yellow, patchouli essential oil is dark and can make your soap yellow/cream tinted, lemongrass is tinted yellow, lime is tinted brown, etc. Usually the use is so diluted that the color will not come through your soap, but occasionally it can. So when working with a tinted essential oils, be sure to test in a small batch first.

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