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Incorporating Honey & Beeswax Into Cold Process Soap
Author: Wholesale Supplies Plus
Thursday, August 9, 2018

Here we have answered some common Q&A's about incorporating Honey & Beeswax into CP Soap!

Honey
Why is honey used in soap?

Honey contains antioxidants and is thought to be beneficial to the skin. For both of these reasons, honey adds marketing appeal. “Honey soap” is associated with natural products and attracts a natural-conscience buyer. The natural sugar in honey also increases the lather in soap, making it desirable for people who love a bubbly lather!

What are the challenges with adding honey to soap?
Honey makes soap hot. If soap gets too hot, heat tunnels can form in the soap creating holes in a sliced bar of soap. Also, the top of the soap may develop a wavy texture to it that may crack. If it gets hot enough, the soap may explode out of the mold. For these reasons, adding real honey to soap is an advanced soapmaking technique and special considerations are needed for the recipe.

What are special considerations to overcome these challenges?
In general, a honey soap recipe should be formulated to stay cool to compensate for the heat caused by honey. Choose a well-behaved fragrance oil; one that will not accelerate, rice or separate. Avoid forcing gel with heating pads, insulation or a hot room. The soap will naturally become hot and these heating methods may cause a soap volcano. If soap is molded in single cavity molds, it is less likely to overheat. If soap is in a loaf, it is more likely to overheat. Placing honey soap in the refrigerator or freezer may be necessary as the soap saponifies, especially if a large mold is used.

How is honey added to soap?
Honey if often added at light trace. It can be added straight into the soap batter or diluted in warm water. The dilution helps the honey mix into the soap and makes it easier to pour. Honey may also be added to the melted oils/butters, but this can be challenging because honey is water-soluble. The honey will naturally want to separate out of the oils. Another option is to add the honey to the cooled lye water. The honey will mix in nicely, but the lye may heat the honey and the sugars may start to caramelize. Honey is also available in powdered form which can be more easily added during any of the previously mentioned steps.

How much honey is typically used in soap?
Honey is often used at one to three teaspoons per pound of oils.

Beeswax
Why is beeswax used in soap?
Beeswax makes for a harder bar of soap, as well as adds label and market appeal to soap bars. The terms ‘natural beeswax,’ ‘honey bees’ and ‘honeycombs’ produce a positive and natural image for most consumers. If you are marketing towards nature-loving individuals, beeswax might be the buzz word you need! Also, the harder soap bar lasts longer in the shower. One of the common gripes from commercial soap bar users with handmade soap is how quickly it dissolves in the shower. Beeswax helps the bar stay hard and last longer, which appeals to people transitioning from commercial soap to handmade soap.

What are the challenges with adding beeswax to soap?
Beeswax accelerates trace and can leave chunks of hard wax in soap. Since beeswax has a high melt, it will harden quickly, which accelerates trace. This means the soap batter will quickly turn from liquid to solid as it is mixed and poured. You may also experience false trace, where the soap batter is thick, but the soap has not emulsified. If the beeswax is not fully melted or if the soaping temperature is too cool, the beeswax may harden too early creating noticeable pieces of beeswax in the finished soap.

What are special considerations to overcome these challenges?
A slow-moving recipe helps compensate for the accelerated trace and a warm soap temperature keeps the beeswax liquid. To create a slow-moving recipe, use a full water amount, a slow-moving fragrance and a healthy ratio of slow-moving liquid oils. A full water amount means using the default ‘38% water as % of oils’ when formulating with the lye calculator. A slow-moving fragrance can be found by reading reviews on fragrances or by checking with the manufacturer for cold process soap performance. Finally, consider the oils and butters in the soap recipe. In general, liquid oils move slow and semi-solid oils move quickly. A warm soap temperature means that the oils and beeswax are heated hot enough to fully melt the beeswax and then when soaping, hot enough to keep the beeswax liquid until emulsification.

How is beeswax added to soap?
Beeswax is often melted together with the carrier oils at a temperature of at least 140ºF. It is important that the beeswax is fully melted. Next, butters are added to the hot oil/beeswax until they are liquid. When the temperature of the mixture is at 120ºF, and not any cooler, the oil mixture is combined with the lye solution.

How much beeswax is typically used in soap?
Beeswax is often used at one to three percent of the oils. Some of the beeswax will saponify and should be included with your oils when calculating with a lye calculator.



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