I first started out reading this book to learn the basics. It was a great starter book that kept things really simple. Soapmaking can really be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be!
I joined this mailing list in which “soapers” post questions, ask advice, etc. It is run out of Australia, but I have found soapmaking is really the same, no matter where you are! It is fun to join together with like minded people.
Recently, they posted a soap swap challenge — since the people on this list are all over the world, we really can’t make soap and send to other people (well we could, but postage might be a little challenging), so it was decided we would each make the same soap, and share our experiences. Fun!
This is the recipe we all made. There was a lot of talk on the list about sustainability, and lot of people don’t use coconut oil or palm oil, because of sustainability issues. I don’t claim to understand it all, but I do understand the need or want to use only local oils in your soap. Personally, I don’t know what kind of oils would be local to me!
Lemon Salt Scrub Soap
110 grams lye
220 grams filtered water
760 grams pomace olive oil
40 grams castor oil
200 grams salt
1 tbsp sage
10 drops texas sandalwood essential oil
40 drops lavendar essential oil
40 drops lemongrass essential oil
2 tsp ground oats
First, measure out the water into a container of your choice. I use a bucket I got at a thrift store. Measure of the lye in a separate container.
I buy the lye at our local Ace Hardware.
When you mix the water and the lye together, you ALWAYS want to pour the lye into the water, not the other way around. Protective gear is a must!
Yes, I really do wear all of this. Lye is dangerous, and you can really get hurt. Once I decided not to wear the goggles, and I splattered some lye mixture about 1 mm away from my eye. I really could have gotten hurt, and I am super careful ever since then!
I take it outside, so the fumes are not in our house.
It will immediately cause a chemical reaction, and get super hot. Stir until all the crystals are combined.
Now, the mixture has to cool down a little, so I just leave it outside to cool as I prepare the rest of the ingredients.
You want to heat the oils to around 110 degrees F. I use a small crockpot for this. You could also heat it in the microwave, or on the stove.
Also, prepare the salt mixture. Combine the salt and the sage and mix well. I used a fine grain salt, and a coarse grain.
Pour just a little of the salt on the bottom of the mold.
Also, prepare the essential oils and oats.
Now the fun begins! When the oils are around 110-115 degrees, and the lye is around 115 degrees F as well, it is time to mix!
Mix the oil mixture and the lye mixture together, and using an immersion blender, blend them to combine.
You are looking for what soapmakers call “trace”, where if you trace a line across the mixture, it would leave an impression. To me, I just look for when it turns into pudding consistency. This took me about 5 minutes.
At this time, add in the essential oil mixture, and beat again just to combine.
Time to pour into the mold!
I scooped in 1/2 the mixture, then put the rest of the salt on top, which will actually be the middle of the soap.
With a knife, I mixed the salt into the soap.
Add the rest of the soap mixture. I had a little extra salt, so I mixed that on top of the soap.
Now, the soap needs to “incubate” overnight. I just cover it with a towel and let it firm up. You don’t want it to cool to quickly, or too slowly. So, you wouldn’t want to put it next to a breezy window, or by a heat vent.
Let it sit 24 hours, or at least 12. Remove from the mold, and cut into bars.
I just use a regular knife to cut them into bars.
Aren’t they pretty?? They smell so good too!
Now, they need to cure for 4-6 weeks before you can use them. Because this was made cold-process, the lye is still active. Letting the bars set for a few weeks will give the lye a chance to simmer down and because non-caustic.
So – would you ever try making soap at home? It is addicting!! I have so much soap right now, we will never need to buy it again! I love that I can add healing herbal properties in my soap, and I know exactly what is in it!