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

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
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.

Hybrid Soap with Embeds

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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46 Responses

  1. Do you have any experience with creating hot process hybrid soap? I’ve been trying this using a layering technique (including spritzing embeds with alcohol) but still experience my layers separating.

    1. Hi Lou,
      I have not tried combining MP with Hot Process soap at this point. Have you tried roughing-up your layers a little, before pouring? Sometimes a little texture can make all the difference. Good luck!
      Sharon

  2. This post was just the bees knees! I have always wondered about if M&P could work with CP. Now I feel this is something I want to at least try, and see if I can incorporate some of those elements in my soaps that can make them a bit different than my usual swirls etc.
    I live in Norway, and here the only M&P available is just a standard version. No low sweat/high temp variations here. No soap suppliers either. Not kidding, can you believe it? I guess the country is too small for having anyone making a profit on this. We aren`t that many who makes soaps over here. I always have to rely on online ordering from America, which has some limitations, i.e high international shipping, customs on top of that, 200 flashpoint limitations on fragrances, no essential oils etc. But have 2 suppliers that has become my go-to on things I need, so I shouldn`t complain really:D

    Anyway, thank you for all your hard work, your posts and the work you do have been very helpfull!

    Ps. Was going to contribute to your calculator, but it wouldn`t let me leave the adress blank, even though I was paying with paypal and not having anything actually shipped to me. Should I fill out all the fields?

      1. Hello Mona. Here’s some websites that ship to the EU. Hope it helps you.

        You wish (Netherlands) – Bramble berry products.
        Soap Kitchen (UK)
        Soaposh (UK)
        Just a soap (UK)
        Scentperfique -fragrance oils (UK)
        Scensory Perfection (UK)
        Nature’s Garden (USA)
        Candle Shack – fragrance Oils. (UK).
        😊

  3. Love, Love, love your blog post ! You have such great tips and advice and you always have such interesting and informative guests !
    Thank you !

  4. Thanks Kenna for all the beautiful ideas you share as well as wonderful guest posts such as this.
    So unhappy I may not be able to do this anytime soon. In my part of the world, bath and body products suppliers rarely concern themselves with importing things like melt and pour soap bases. Skin whitening is the order of the day. Not that I mind, I make quite some good money off it myself. Lol. Quite the local girl, i have learnt to work with products that can be consistently found around here.
    Still I love reading up the much I can of your great posts.

  5. Great tips!! your soap is so pretty and will definitely try this and also… Can I do this is reverse? I have some pieces/shreds of cold and hot process soaps… Can I spray the shreds with alcohol and then add to M&P base?

    Thanks!

  6. I’m very interested in this technique but I’m a little confused. At what point do u add the M&P? Combine with oils? Are there recipes somewhere on this site? I’ve not found them. Thanks!

    1. Hi,
      When making Hybrid soaps, the MP soap is added after the CP soap has come to trace. Depending on what look you are going for, this could be either a thin or a thick trace. A thin trace is better for swirling, while a thick trace is necessary for layers. Hope that helps!
      Sharon

      1. Thanks, Sharon! I can’t wait to try this!! I’m having a ball on all of these great sites!

        thanks again,
        Denise

      2. Whoops, another question: how do I calculate lye for the MP? Are there recipes somewhere?

        thanks,
        Denise

        1. MP (Melt & Pour) soap, is a pre-made soap base that you buy. No additional lye required, as it is already soap. Just search Google for Melt and Pour soap and you will find a slew of suppliers.

  7. Hey Kenna,
    I have what is probably a rather “simple” question for you. When using m&p embeds in CP soap and getting ready to cut…I have discovered the hard way that using a several bar cutter will not cut through the m&p part of the hybrid soap. Do you suggest using a knife for cutting instead? I would appreciate any advice on this that you or anyone can offer. ADMIRE YOUR MODERN SOAPMAKING so much….I would love to win a contest where the prize would be “Follow an Experienced Soapmaker around for a week or 10 days to learn from the best..I am so in love with soaping. It sooths my soul & gives me a feeling of accomplishment like no other. And that’s not easy with my RA Thank you

  8. Hi Sheila,
    I always cut my hybrid soaps with a large kitchen knife. MP soap is so dense, you can break the wires on a wire-cutter trying to cut through it. Also, when I do layers or embeds, I turn the soap log on it’s side before I cut it and generally get better results.

    1. Hi Donna,

      Yes, I do this a lot. Just be sure to use non-bleeding colors, especially if you are pouring into white CP soap. I have found that pouring uncolored MP into CP, give more of a grayish effect to the swirl, since not a lot of light is getting through the MP soap. But colored MP swirled into CP works great.

  9. I am rebatching our collection of soap scraps, gift soaps etc. Can I mix a melt and pour base with my grated mixture? If yes, what tips and cautions would you have for me?
    Thank you!

    1. Yes, you can! Spray your CP soap pieces with alcohol, to help them adhere. Also, keep your MP temperatures low, if you are grating the CP soap. Really small pieces can melt in hot MP soap, and make it look cloudy. Good luck!

  10. Hi, I made a brine CP soap and it turned out perfectly as far as a conditioning feel and a lovely creamy lather, however I foolishly made it in a log mold and cannot cut it as it is so hard. Is it possible to finely grate this soap and incorporate into M&P (I have a natural goats milk soap on hand) and is there a percentage of CP to M&P that you would recommend? I so want to be able to use this CP soap but not the way it is.

    Many thanks
    Lynne

    1. Hey Lynne,
      I’ll admit, I haven’t tried what you are proposing – and MP & brine soap hybrid. My concern is that both salt soaps and MP tend to draw moisture (they “sweat”). I think you would have to run your dehumidifier full tilt and, then, carefully wrap the finished soap. Report back if you give it a try.

    2. Hi Lynne,
      Yes, you can add finely grated CP soap to MP. If you CP soap is super hard, you may end up with a scrubby soap, so test a small batch first. I like the proportion of 2/3 MP to 1/3 CP in this particular case. Good luck!

  11. Excellent information ! And great questions as well…. hybrid soaps are something I have been thinking about doing and after reading this I think I am ready to try it!

  12. Once CP or HP soap has totally cured, can M & P adhere to it. If so, what must the temp of the M & P be in order for it to stick and not separate from each other after a few washes.

    Thanks

    1. Hey, Tom,
      While I haven’t tried it, I’m guessing that M&P added to cured CP or HP would not adhere well, especially if you are talking about a pour over technique. The CP in our process shown here ‘grabs’ the MP pieces. With MP added after cure, it’s not going to have that chance. Now, if you completely envelop the CP or HP, embedding it, you might have more luck, but I think it will still split apart once you get down to the line of separation.

      That said, this is just an educated guess on my part, so, by all means, try it and report back to us! Or check in with your M&P supplier for their thoughts and tips. They will know exactly how high you can heat the MP without compromising it.

  13. Could I pour m&p as the bottom layer, put it in the refrigerator so that it’s nice and cold, spray with alcohol and then add cold process as the upper layer so that I can make the top into a fun texture or pattern? That’s my only gripe with m&p – no fun toppers. 😊 tia!

    1. Hey, Christy,
      Honestly, I haven’t tried this method. It’s worth a shot, but I suspect the layers might separate during use, since the join will be such a clean line and won’t have the ‘tooth’ to hang on like actually embeds. Let us know your results.

    2. Hi Christy,
      You can add cold process soap to the top of MP soap, in order to create a fun top! Let your MP soap cool just to the point of being firm, so the cold process soap won’t fall through it. Don’t refrigerate it, or let it get too cold. Then spray with alcohol, and add the cold process soap, and your layers should stick together just fine. Also, when you cut the soap, lay the log on it’s side, so you are not cutting down into the layers, which can cause them to separate.

  14. Hi Stephanie,
    I’m a new beginner I started with M&P then started on CP I live it. I’ve ysed a few embeds
    Of MP in my CP it was fine. But my question, to how do you get the glycerin effect with CP
    I see soaps that have orange glycerin and beige batter swirls all mixed in one? So can u add the MP glycerin into a batter if cp in a mold? I find that interesting instead of embeds? I really do like reading all these posts. Thank you brenda

    1. Hey Brenda,
      Are you sure the soaps you saw were a hybrid of CP and M&P? Some M&P is opaque, so swirling opaque and translucent M&P could create the effect you are going for.

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