Getting back to basics with the things that come into contact with your body can soothe your skin and ease your mind.
Let’s jump right in!
It’s important that you only use equipment that will not be used for cooking.
- Use mixing bowls made of stainless steel, tempered glass, or enamel.
- Your spoons should be made of silicon, though styrene plastic is also acceptable.
- You will need molds. These can be special soap molds that can be purchased at a craft store or you can find them at Elements Bath & Body. Another choice is to use silicone baking pans.
Other equipment needed:
- A pint canning jar
- A quart canning jar
- A thermometer (be sure it reads between 90 and 200 degrees)
- An old towel
- Anything that you want to add to the soap
What can be added?
There are a plethora of things that can be added to your soap, though here are the most common additives:
- Dried herbs. For a batch this size, use about ¼ cup.
- Essential oils. 15 to 20 drops will do the trick.
- You can use natural ingredients like cocoa powder, cinnamon, chlorophyll, turmeric, or beet root.
- Other ingredients. Some examples are aloe vera gel, oatmeal, dry milk powder, ground coffee, or salt.
- ⅔ cup coconut oil
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ⅔ cup almond, grapeseed, sunflower, or safflower oil
- ¼ cup lye, which is also called 100% sodium hydroxide
- ¾ cup cool purified or distilled water
- Cover your work area with newspaper. You’ll want to wear gloves. Measure the water into the quart canning jar. Make sure your spoon is handy and measure your lye. It should be exactly ¼ cup. Stirring constantly, slowly pour the lye into the water. You can stop stirring when the water starts to clear. *Note: Use caution when adding the lye as there will be fumes.
- In the pint jar, add the three oils together. Heat in a microwave for approximately one minute. At this point, the temperature of the oils should be 120 degrees. The lye should also be the same temperature. They both need to cool until they reach somewhere between 90 and 105 degrees. *Note: If the temperature dips too low the soap will be rough and crumbly.
- Once the lye and oils reach the correct temperature, pour the oils into a mixing bowl. Slowly add the lye and stir until it is completely combined. You will need to stir for a full five minutes. As much of the lye needs to get in contact with as much of the soap as possible. After you have stirred for five minutes, continue stirring until the mixture becomes thick and lightens in color. When it resembles vanilla pudding, it’s ready.
- Now is the time to add essential oils, herbs, or other additives. After you’ve stirred the mixture well, pour the mixture into the molds and cover them with plastic wrap. Wrap it up in the towel.
- After 24 hours you can check it. If it is still warm or soft, it needs to sit longer, anywhere from another 12 to 24 hours. When it’s cold and firm you can remove it from the molds by turning it over onto parchment paper. At this point the soap needs to cure for 4 weeks, turning once a week to expose all the sides to air.
- When the soap is cured, wrap it in wax paper and store it in an airtight container.
The clean up is an important part of the process due to the lye. Neutralize the lye with white vinegar and then wash normally. The rest of the equipment should be left to sit for several days to keep from burning yourself on any residual lye. Waiting allows it to turn into soap and it can be cleaned with hot water.