Often, new soapmakers will be dissatisfied with their melt and pour base – believing it to be too soft or not as long lasting as commercial (detergent based) bars of soap. Adding additional waxes makes intuitive sense. After all, waxes are hard! You would think that extra waxes in your melt and pour soap would make your soap extra hard. This is not the case.
In the photo above, you can see that the beeswax does not want to mix in easily. In fact, the wax is pooling at the tops of my little experimental bars.
Once the bar is popped out, it’s a matted, dull color. It is not shiny and appears to be pitted.
When you touch a bar of soap, it should be hard. Being able to squish it between your thumb and the table is bad.
I made this mess with a gentle press of my finger. Ick! The beeswax not only softened my soap but it also made it dull looking with pock marks. To add insult to injury, the soap lathers badly – perhaps because beeswax is not a natural lathering agent.
The moral of this story? Beeswax is not an effective hardening agent in soap. A better solution is to pop your soap out of the molds and leave them under a fan for a few days to help wick off excess moisture and speed the drying-out process of the soap. This will produce a much harder bar than adding beeswax.
Hi Anne-Marie … I’ve only ever met a few “Anne-Marie’s” in my life, so it was a real treat to find your web site! I haven’t made soap for many years and now I’m back to playing around with it. Just want to say that I love your site with all the excellent information that you share. (Also, I really love your name! ) ha ha ha…..
from .. another “Anne-Marie”
Oh wow, and spelled the same way! I’ve NEVER met anyone that spelled their name the same as me. How exciting =) It’s lovely to make your acquaintance =)
I meant cold process cp soap lol – these spell checks think they know more than us these days- noticed?
Good to know! We are switching over from co soap to mp and I have immediately wrapped our first few loaves up in Saran, is this bad? Thanks for carrying such great soaping supplies 😉
I usually will either wrap my MP soap immediately OR, if it’s a humid, I’ll run a fan over it for a few days so that the humidity doesn’t stick around on the soap. So you didn’t do anything wrong.
I found that simply allowing the soap to “cure” by allowing it to dry for 2 weeks made for a good, firm melt & pour bar soap. I’ve never had to add anything to my melt & pour soaps to make them harder.
The fan is your friend too – popping the soap out and tossing it under a fan for a few days helps wick away moisture and dry out the soap (hardening it) too.
That's really good info!