Coffee isn’t just an enjoyable, hot, uplifting beverage anymore. If you have ever paid attention to artisanal soaps at local craft fairs, you might notice a vendor or two displaying soap with coffee as the highlighted ingredient.
So what does coffee do as an ingredient in soap? Coffee can surprisingly provide a lot of interesting benefits to being added into soap. Below I’ll outline a few of the ways that coffee (the liquid and grounds) can provide unique benefits as an ingredient to soap.
The most straightforward way to put coffee in soap would be using coffee grounds as an exfoliant. Many soaps use various ingredients as an exfoliant. Anything from finely ground nut shells and jojoba beads to oatmeal can provide a wonderful exfoliating benefit to the soap it is added. Coffee grounds can do the same thing.
I intend on adding finely ground espresso powder as my exfoliant in my first attempt at a coffee soap. I will brew the grounds before I use them. (We will touch on what to do with the brewed espresso later.) My hope is that by brewing the grounds first, I will avoid potential discoloring around each little grain. I have no research to back this up. I’m using my culinary experience to create a hypothesis. Hey, it wouldn’t be called experimenting if I knew everything!
Think of it this way. When you make blueberry muffins, if you don’t handle and prep the blueberries properly, they will bleed blue into the muffin. That will leave unwanted patches of blue muffin bread immediately around the berry while the rest of the muffin will be the pure baked muffin color. I want pure soap color throughout my soap.
Adding the delicious, smooth beverage to soap can provide some surprising benefits. While some of them are very similar to the benefits you receive when you drink coffee, some of them are exclusive to being used on your skin.
Antioxidants – When you drink coffee, you ingest the antioxidants that the beverage has to offer. While using soap may not be as effective in an ingested antioxidant delivery, your skin can absorb enough antioxidants (before being washed off) to benefit your skin with their anti-aging properties.
Cellulite – While caffeine in soap won’t make your cellulite disappear, it has been shown to help temporarily firm up skin to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
To Note: In my research, I have seen a few places say that it actually helps to eliminate cellulite, but I have found nothing to back that up.
Eliminates Odor – While coffee isn’t effective as a deodorant, coffee does have wonderful deodorizing properties. It might just keep you smelling a little fresher longer than without. It can also help to remove some stubborn odors that might stick to your skin from external sources.
Sensitive Skin – If you have sensitive skin, you might want to consider a coffee soap. The caffeine within is very soothing to skin. It is typically considered gentle enough for sensitive skin, sunburned skin, etc.
Skin Brightening – In addition to helping promote healthy skin, a coffee soap can potentially help lessen acne, scarring, and dark spots. Coffee soap can leave your skin with a healthy radiant glow.
Under-Eye Bags – Caffeine can help improve circulation and firm up skin. This can help reduce the appearance of puffy under eyes.
Oh what can’t coffee do?