Exfoliating soap – what to add to your soap?

gardener soap, poppy seed

Gardeners soap with poppy seed

When washing with an exfoliating soap it will help to remove oil and dead skin, also removing any dirt that may be clogging the pores, this then helps the skin to absorb moisture. When the skin is able to absorb moisture it will look and feel so much better.

What kind of exfoliant added to the soap your are making would depend on what you are using the soap for and how much scrub you want. It’s a good idea to test them out first. Large and sharp exfoliants will be great for your hands, feet and body, but maybe not so nice on your face.

Fine exfoliants are typically what would be used on the face, but saying that I have made soap with some fine exfoliants like hemp powder and pumice and found it to scratchy for my face. I like the smooth poppy seeds or cranberry seeds, but that is just my preference.


Some exfoliants I have used in soap making are:

Poppy seeds – I use these in a gardener’s soap I make. They are smooth but do a great job of scrubbing that garden dirt from your hands. Not only do they work well as an exfoliate, but they look so nice in the soap.

Poppy Seed Blue Whole – Papaver somnifererum (454g = One Pound) Brand: Herbies Herbs

Oatmeal – My oatmeal and honey bar of course has oatmeal in it. My preference is to run the oatmeal through my coffee grinder so it’s more like a powder. It’s so gentle and great for the skin, also excellent to use in babies soap.

Robin Hood Quick Oats ,2.25kg

Charcoal – Activated Bamboo Charcoal – This is an exfoliate that I use in my acne or facial bar. The charcoal will open up the pores and draw toxins and dirt out without drying your skin. It makes and excellent facial bar.

Pumice – I make a bar that I add pumice to for the mechanics in my life. It makes a great scrub for those dirty, grimy hands. I would not recommend using it on the rest of your body as it is quite sharp.


Jojoba beads – these bead come in different colors and work as a mild exfoliate, they also look amazing in the soap bars. You can get them in various sizes and colors and they are biodegradable.

Hemp powder – I’m not sure why or when I started using hemp powder, but I put it in my hemp soap. It gives it a darker color and works as a light exfoliate.

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Pro 50, Plant Based Protein Powder, 454 g Tub

Salt – I have used salt in my soaps before, but be warned that salt can also cause the soap to sweat depending on where it is stored. I love the feel of it, but it didn’t seem to last to long in the shower.

Coffee grounds – the coffee grounds added to soap make a great kitchen bar. Not only do they scrub your hands well, but the coffee grounds will remove odors, so if you are chopping onions or filet a fish this is the soap for you.

How much exfoliate should you add to your soap recipe?

I add approximately 1 tsp for every pound of soap, this may vary slightly depending on the recipe. The best thing to do is to start with that and see what you like best. You may prefer less or more.

© 2018, Tes. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to Exfoliating soap – what to add to your soap?

  1. Jag says:

    I have never considered using poppy seeds as an exfoliation, but oatmeal I use often. I would love to learn more about the techniques of soap making.How long have you been making your own soap?

    The hemp I’ve heard good stuff about from my own girls. My girls have skin issues which are easily taken care of when they use this soap. Usually they buy it online, but now we will purchase the hemp you have here and try making our own. Thanks for the great idea. 

    • Tes says:

      Hi Jag,

      I have been making my own soap for 37 years now.  I have a small soap business and have been running that for 12 years.  

      I will be adding to this website more information on techniques etc as it grows.  If you want to have a look at the basic steps for making soap you can go to this link Make Natural Soap at Home -Step by Step instructions with pictures

      Hemp soap is one of my favorites, and adding the hemp powder only makes it that much better.  Thanks

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