What’s in your soap? Sometimes dirty ingredients like†Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and†Triclosan, a suspected cancer causer. When it comes to personal care products, it’s easy to load up on a bunch of junk and dangerous toxins. That’s why Iím always on the hunt for the best handmade products and instructions for making things myself. In the past, Iíve covered making and buying natural†candles, laundry detergent, lip balm, deodorant, lotion and eye shadow. Now, letís talk about soap!
Soap, like many of the beauty products I’ve outlined, is easy to make, because it requires few† basic ingredients and not a ton of manpower. My favorite part of making my own products is that itís easy to customize your soap, so if youíve got specific needs due to your skin type or you just want a specific scent, you can make it!
BASIC SOAP RECIPE
- 17 fl oz Olive Oil
- 10 1/2 oz Coconut Oil
- 7 oz Palm Oil
- 5 oz Lye (Sodium Hydroxide/Caustic Soda)
- 13 fl oz Water
- 1 oz (2 tbsp) Essential Oil or Fragrance Oil (Optional)
- Additives such as lavender flowers (optional)
1. Gather your ingredients and tools. Line your soap mold with freezer paper, shiny side to face the soap.
2. Place a stainless steel pot on a digital scale and measure your solid oils. Use the tare button on your scale as you add each one.
3. After youíve measured the solid oils, warm the pot over low heat for the solid oils to melt.
4. Measure your lye (sodium hydroxide) carefully into a bowl.
5. Measure your water.
6. Pour your water into a heat-resistant bowl. Then pour your lye into the bowl of water. Stir. It will have a chemical reaction, giving off fumes and heat. After a minute or two the water will turn clear. Use hot pads if you pick up the bowl. Consider wearing glasses and rubber gloves as a safety precaution.
7. Measure your liquid oils into a separate bowl. Once the solid oils are melted, add the liquid oils to the pot. Turn the stove burner off, itís probably hot enough. You want the oils to reach about 110 degrees (F).
8. To help the lye solution cool down, put it in a sink of cold water. Check the temperature of the lye solution. You want it to be around 110 degrees (F).
9. Once the lye solution is cooled, pour it slowly into the pot. Blend with the stick blender until it looks smooth.
10. Every now and then leave the blender off and just stir with it. Alternate blending and stirring. Be careful not to raise the blender up so that it would stir in air bubbles.
11. Blend and stir for about 5 minutes. It starts to resemble pancake batter.
12. It will start to look dull on the surface and thinly coat the blender. This is called “trace.” Fragrances and colors are now added. Pour the soap into the mold before it gets too thick.
14. Put the mold inside a cardboard shoe box, put the lid on it, and then cover it with a towel to keep it warm. Let it set as long as needed.
15. Rinse off the lye from your bowls and utensils, and then wash everything in soapy water.
On the next page, check out five of my favorite natural, handmade soaps currently being sold online!
All the good stuff: moisturizing oils for a no-nonsense clean. Lightly sweet, clean, intoxicatingly fresh floral with honeysuckle petals and crisp green grass and then proceed to notes of jasmine, musk, sweet mandarin, green rose, and earthy leaf. Soap is made from scratch, using the cold process method. Handmade soap contains moisturizing glycerin and will leave your skin fresh and soft. You will receive a large 3.5+ oz bar in a signature kraft box. (Bunny Butt Apothecary, $5.50)
Romantic, subtle, lovely, floral. Beautifully scented, Jasmine Rose bars are enriched with rose clay for extra skin softening, and real rose petals. The current batch of jasmine rose bars weigh closer to 4 oz. They are cut by hand and beautifully imperfect. Each bar comes charmingly packaged and labeled, ready to use or gift. (Twenty Seven Soap, $5)
Bar of all natural, handmade, cold process, unscented soap, between 4.5 and 5 ounces. Activated charcoal acts like a magnet in the presence of toxins. It adsorbs carbon based toxins rendering them ineffective. Adsorbtion is defined as a molecular adhesion of gases, liquids and dissolves solids to a surface (and you thought it was a typo). In short this makes a great facial bar, or use it all over! Only the finest food grade bamboo activated charcoal is used in this soap. (Rocky Top Soap Shop, $6)
Made from scratch using the old fashioned cold process method, California Avocado contains vitamin-rich Hass avocado and moisturizing avocado oil. Because avocado has high moisturizing properties, it is recommended for normal to dry skin types. This simple yet luxurious soap is all natural, vegan, and unscented making it especially excellent as a facial bar. (Fabled Soap Co, $6.75)
A customer favorite. The fresh scent combination of mint and lavender smells wonderful. Packed it full of skin nourishing oils, butter, and clay. Produces amazing lather! Dead Sea Clay – has long been used to benefit the skin. It is known for gentle exfoliation, fight free radicals, absorb dirt/toxins, purify, tone/tighten skin, sooth eczema, and hydrate the skin. Lavender Oil – Calms and neutralizes the skin while also adding to an overall natural glow. Suitable for all skin types as a face and body bar. (Soap Revolt Naturals, $6)