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How to Make Hybrid Soaps Successfully (Mixing Melt and Pour with Cold Process Soap)

guest contributors soap science and info
hybrid cold process and melt and pour soap

This post comes to you courtesy of Sharon.

Have you ever wanted to combine cold process soap with melt and pour soap for a stunning hybrid soap? If you want to attract attention online, or catch your customer's eye at your next show, hybrid soaps are one way to do it!

Wait, what?! What are hybrid soaps, you ask? Hybrid soaps are combination of cold process soap and melt and pour soap into a single bar or batch of soap. The creamy cold process soap and magical translucent soap mixed together into one bar will make people wonder how you did it!

 Tips for Making Hybrid Soap Successfully

As I have always had annoyingly sensitive skin, I found melt and pour soap too drying for my skin. I can’t use melt and pour soap as my day to day soap, but enjoy making melt and pour soaps for their ease and simplicity.

I started to wonder if combining cold process soap with melt and pour soap would mitigate the dryness that I experienced with melt and pour by itself. And thus, my experimentation with hybrid soaps began!

To my delight, that’s exactly what happened! Using a hybrid soap makes my skin feel exactly as smooth and moisturized as it does when I use a 100% cold process soap.

The other awesome thing I noticed using a hybrid soap was that the melt and pour helped to increase the lather! After falling in love with hybrid soaps, I realized I had found my specialty.

There are several common questions that pop up whenever a discussion among soapmakers turns to hybrid soaps. My goal is to address the most common questions I see. Hopefully, these quick answers and tips will help ease your mind about trying out hybrid soaps for yourself!

Will melt and pour soap melt in a cold process soap base?

Yes, indeed, if the cold process soap gets hot enough!

Melt and pour soap embeds can deform or melt completely. Melt and pour swirls can melt and disappear into the cold process soap. Layers of melt and pour soap can become puddles.

With a few simple precautions, you can avoid each of these problems:

  • Keep your cold process soaping temperatures low. I like to stay between 100° F to 110° F (38° to 43° C). This temperature range applies to all your cold process ingredients, including your oils, lye solution, additives, etc.
  • Do not oven process cold process your hybrid soap! If you CPOP hybrid soaps, the ambient heat could melt your melt and pour embeds, layers, or swirls.
  • Do not allow your hybrid soap to gel! Gelling your hybrid soap may mean the death of your melt and pour design. This can be a challenge during the warmer months when the ambient room temperature is warmer than normal.
  • Do not cover or insulate your hybrid soap in any way. If possible, elevate your soap mold, so air can flow underneath. Aiming a fan at your mold can help. If your mold fits, put your hybrid soap batch in the refrigerator!
  • Another trick is to freeze any melt and pour soap embeds before you add them to your cold process soap.
  • Use a higher melt point melt and pour soap base. Melt and Pour soap bases vary widely. Some bases have a higher melting point than others, which means that the soap base can tolerate higher temperatures. If you experience problems with melting in your hybrid soaps, try using a higher melt point base. (Tip: you can find out the melt point of your base from your supplier!)

Are melt and pour embeds and layers going to separate from the cold process soap? Will they fall out when I cut the soap or when I use the soap after curing?

My experience is that separation between the soap types is not much of a concern. When submerging melt and pour embeds in cold process soap, the cold process soap holds the embeds in place.

However, melt and pour embeds added to the top of a hybrid soap may fall out when you cut the soap or when the cold process soap begins to cure and shrink.

The solution to this problem is two fold:

  1. When placing embeds on the top of a loaf, press the embeds in to get good full contact with the cold process soap. Doing this before the cold process soap becomes too thick makes all the difference!
  2. You can use rubbing alcohol to adhere the melt and pour and cold process soap together by spraying the embeds before placing them. I rarely have problems with embeds falling out of my hybrid soaps, so I don’t generally use alcohol.

Another tip is to flip your soap log onto its side when you cut it. When you aren't cutting directly into your melt and pour, it cuts more cleanly.

The best part is that the more the soap is used, the more firmly everything sticks together!

Does the melt and pour soap in a hybrid soap sweat like plain melt and pour?

Melt and pour soap exposed to humid air will sweat, no matter if it's a hybrid soap or not. I always recommend the use of low sweat melt and pour bases when making hybrid soaps.

I live in Michigan, where the humidity is 90% in the summer and 30% in the winter. I take extra precautions in the summer to keep my hybrid soaps as dry as possible while they are curing. Usually, this means moving curing racks to a less humid location and running fans to circulate the air.

When (and if) the melt and pour sweats, the cold process part of the hybrid soap will take much longer to cure.

After curing, wrap your hybrid soaps in a way that keeps them protected just like any melt and pour soap would be. I prefer to use perforated shrink wrap that allows the soap to breathe. It helps keep the melt and pour soap from sweating while allowing you to smell the fragrance!

The key to success is to make sure the cold process soap portion cures fully before wrapping. For most formulas, a full cure takes 4 to 6 weeks, but it depends on the humidity of the room and the amount of water used. If you wrap too soon, the moisture from the cold process soap will make the melt and pour soap sweat.

There you have it: the top three questions I see about hybrid soaps and the tips & tricks I can offer from my experience! Do you have any other questions about making hybrid soaps? If so, leave them in the comments below!

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