Hybrid Soap Ingredient List

Posted in: Soap & Cosmetic Labeling

Some stunning hybrid soap can be made by combining two different types of soaps into one artistic bar. The problem is, how do you figure out the ingredient declaration when you have a CP soap with MP soap embeds (or vice versa)?

Thanks to the members of the Handcrafted Soap and Cosmetic Guild who provided images of hybrid soaps for this article. For more amazing soaps from HSCG Members, check out the HSCG Soap Gallery.

First, How Much of Each Type of Soap?

MM Creations

Soap from Mary Kobeski Rascher, MM Creations

To start with, we need to know the percentage of CP soap and the percentage of MP soap in the final product.  For our calculations, we’ll have 109.5 oz of CP soap and 10 oz of MP soap (a total of 119.5 oz) in the final, cured batch.

You get the percentage by dividing the amount of one ingredient by the total amount. So 109.5 oz of CP soap, divided by 119.5 oz total = .92 or 92% (rounded).

Soap Ounces Percent
CP Soap (main bar) 109.5 92%
MP Soap (embeds) 10 8%
Total 119.5

Second, the CP Soap

Soap from Patricia DePhillips, Soap Amore

Soap from Patricia DePhillips, Soap Amore

Next, you need to know the amount of each ingredient in the CP soap recipe, the percentage of the CP portion of the soap, and the percentage in the total amount of soap (both kinds).

  • The percentage in the CP soap is calculated by the number of ounces of the ingredient divided by the total number of ounces in the recipe.
  • The percentage of total is the percentage of that ingredient in the CP soap multiplied by the percentage that CP soap in of the whole batch (92%).

Note that for these calculations, I am using the estimated amount of water in the soap AFTER the cure. (For how to estimate the amount of water after the cure, see Calculating the Net Weight of Soap.)

Ingredient Ounces % of CP % of Total
Coconut Oil 30 27.4% 25.2%
Olive Oil 30 27.4% 25.2%
Palm Oil 25 22.8% 21.0%
Castor Oil 3.5 3.2% 2.9%
Sodium Hydroxide 13 11.9% 10.9%
Water (reduced from 26 oz) 8 7.3% 6.7%
Total 109.5

Third, the MP Soap

Soap from Humboldt Soap Company

Soap from Arice Miranda, Humboldt Soap Company

Next, you need to get or figure out the percentage of each ingredient in the MP soap.

 I haven’t found one supplier that provides the actual ingredient percentages in MP soap – they hold that information pretty close to the chest (as their “trade secrets”).  If they won’t provide you with sufficient information, you’ll need to figure it out yourself as best you can.  It’s not ideal, but it’s better than having a completely non-compliant ingredient declaration.

For this example, I found a relatively easy MP soap formulation to dissect.  The ingredient declaration reads: Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Safflower Oil, Glycerin, Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Sorbitol, Propylene Glycol, Sorbitan Oleate and Oat Protein.

Let’s see what we can figure out.

Oils, Lye and Water

This particular MP soap is made up of saponified oils of coconut, palm and safflower, in that order. To calculate the amount of lye and water, you have to work backward.

First, in order to saponify oils, you need a lye solution (lye and water) that is at least 50/50.  That’s considered “low water” for CP soap, but for MP it’s probably around the range actually used.  That jives with the ingredient list, so we’ll say that there is the same amount of lye as there is water.

Safflower oil needs about 13.7% (of its weight) in both lye and water to saponify.  Palm oil needs about 14.2% and coconut oils needs about 18.3% of both lye and water. So regardless of the amount of oil, the lye is going to be AROUND 15% (averaging what’s needed for all three oils)  of the amount of the oil, and the water will be about the same.

Other Ingredients

Soap from Jessica Marie Jackson, Sppn River Soap Co

Soap from Jessica Marie Jackson, Spoon River Soap Co

Glycerin comes after the safflower oils and before the water and lye water, so we’ll figure that the amount is right in between the two.

For the sake of argument and just to see how it plays out, we’ll say that the remaining 4 ingredients reduce by 1%, starting with the Sorbitol being present at 1% less than the lye.  But these amounts don’t really make a difference, as you will see later.

Making the Calculations

Using formulas in an Excel spreadsheet to work out the possibilities, I tried various combinations of amounts for the oils.  Finally I came up with the following possible formulation. I rounded to full percentage points and adjusted the amount of glycerin to make sure the total amount came to 100%.  (Remember – these are just guestimates!)

In the chart below:

  • The Percentage of MP soap is based on the calculations explained above.
  • The ounces are figured out by multiplying the total weight of MP soap (10 oz) by the percentage of that ingredient.
  • The percentage in the total is the percentage of the ingredient in the MP soap portion multiplied by the percentage that MP soap is of the whole batch (8%).
Ingredient % of MP ounces % in Total
Coconut Oil 19% 1.9 1.5%
Palm Oil 16% 1.6 1.3%
Safflower Oil 16% 1.6 1.3%
Glycerin 11% 1.1  0.9%
Sodium Hydroxide 8% .8 0.6%
Water 8% .8 0.6%
Sorbitol 7% .7  .6%
Propylene Glycol 6% .6  .5%
Sorbital Oleate 5% .5  .4
Oat Protein 4% .4  0.3%
Total 100% 10 oz

Final Ingredient List

Soap from Amber henderson, Hollister Soap House

Soap from Amber henderson, Hollister Soap House

So now we can put together our final ingredient list, based on the percentage of each ingredient in the CP portion and MP portion. Where the same ingredient is included in both the CP and MP soaps, the percentages of the total are added together to get the total percentage in the total batch:

Ingredient % in Total
Coconut Oil (25.2% in CP + 1.5% in MP)  26.7%
Olive Oil 25.2%
Palm Oil (21.0% in CP + 1.3% in MP) 22.3%
Sodium Hydroxide (10.9% in CP + .6% in MP) 11.5%
Water (6.7% remaining in CP + .6% in MP)  7.3%
Castor Oil 2.9%
Safflower Oil 1.3%
Glycerin  0.9%
Sorbitol  0.6%
Propylene Glycol  0.5%
Sorbital Oleate  0.4%
Oat Protein  0.3%

Notice what happens. Even when you add in the amounts from the MP soap, it doesn’t change the order of the CP soap ingredients and all the MP soap ingredients that aren’t already in the CP soap end up in the same order at the end of the list. Even if the guestimates were slightly off, it shouldn’t affect the order of the ingredient declaration much, if at all.

This may not always be the case – it will depend on the recipes for each type of soap and the amount of each type of soap used. If our final hybrid soap was 60% CP and 40% MP, the numbers would come out quite differently … but the forumlas for calculating would be the same.

Remember, too, that with the alternate way of listing ingredients, all the ingredients that are present at 1% or less may be listed in any order after the ingredients present at more than 1%.  So if we’re slightly off on the sorbitol, propylene glycol, sorbital oleate and oat protein, it won’t make any difference.

Color Additives

In the alternate ingredient listing, color additives may be added at the end, after ingredients present at less than 1% regardless of the amount.  So even if you used 5% titanium dioxide or 2% mica (not that I am recommending either of those very high amounts) – it wouldn’t matter, they would just go at the end of the list.

Keep in mind, though, that only color additives that are approved for use in cosmetics may be listed this way.

Final Ingredient List

So, based on all the calculations above this would be our final ingredient list (with several color additives and fragrance at less than 1% added so you can see where they would go):

Ingredients:  Coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil, sodium hydroxide, water, castor oil, safflower oil, glycerin, fragrance, sorbitol, propylene glycol, sorbital oleate, oat protein, mica, titanium dioxide, ultramarines and FD&C Blue 1

Soaps With Charm

Soap from Suzzannemarie Bushaw, Soaps with Charm

Image Credits: Mary Kobeski Rascher, Humboldt Soap Company, Suzzannemarie Bushaw

4 Comments on “Hybrid Soap Ingredient List”

  1. Lauri

    Marie, you must have read my mind. I was just wondering the correct way to list ingredients on a hybrid soap! Thanks for your timely and detailed information, as always!

  2. Maggie

    Thanks so much for the explanation. I have wanted to use MP Embeds a couple of times in my CP soap. But labeling with the addition of the MP seemed confusing & frustrating. Now that I know how to do it, I will feel more confident in the correctness of my ingredient list.

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