There is nothing more satisfying than a nice hot bath with a luxurious heavenly smelling lather. Except there is…if you made that perfectly crafted bar of heaven yourself….for pennies on the dollar.
Handmade real soap is made from lye but this ain’t your great-grandma’s lye soap. I’m talking about high quality skin nourishing luxury soap that will leave your skin feeling moisturized and unbelievably clean at the same time. the kind of soap you simply can’t buy at the big box stores and rarely find in even the most expensive spas.
It’s easier than you might think to make and you dont have to be a chemist to create your bubbly batch right in your own kitchen.
I bought a few bars (at $11 each) at a local gift shop. I started with one and went back for more. I was hooked! I’m a self proclaimed professional soaker but nothing in life prepared me for the experience of a good handmade soap bath. I stepped out feeling clean, smelling great, and my skin GLOWED! Hooked I tell ya! Instantly addicted.
But OMG! the price!?! Worth every penny but surely it didn’t cost that much to make? So I did my homework, learned a lot, bought a little, and after some trial and error I perfected my own scented soapy slice of satisfaction for a fraction of the price I was paying in the gift shop. And you can too.
All you need for a 2 pound batch is 20 ounces of fats such as lard, shortening, shea butter, coconut oil or cocoa etc AND/OR oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola, vegetable, palm etc (no they aren’t created equal – each creates different characteristics in the finished product. Coconut makes it softer, palm makes it harder, etc. Any combination of fats/oils will work as long as you have 20 ounces total. (Bacon grease is not a good idea but you CAN use strained used cooking oil)
3 ounces of Lye (my secret is food grade lye but you can buy lye in any hardware store – or make it yourself if you want to go that route).
4 ounces of water
3 ounces of Castor Oil (that’s the key to the rich lather!)
2 ounces of essential or fragrance oil such as lavender or use your favorite cheap body spray (just make sure whatever you use is skin safe!)
That’s it. Just 5 basic ingredients including water.
You’ll also need dish gloves (for safety), a mold (a small flat rate postal box lined with plastic is perfect for this – reuse and recycle!), 2 large plastic bowls, a whisk or submersible blender, and a microwave.
Step 1: Pour the lye into the water (NEVER POUR WATER INTO THE LYE – it can cause severe injuries). The water and lye mixture will heat up to about 200 degrees due to chemical reaction. Let it set and do it’s thing while you continue on to….
Step 2: Melt the fats (do not include the Castor Oil yet). Microwave in one minute intervals until it’s no longer solid (use caution when handling hot grease).
Step 3: When the two mixtures are approximately the same temperature pour the oils into the lye mixture (AGAIN – NEVER POUR THE LYE!). At this point you’ve combined everything except the castor oil and the fragrance (those go in last).
Step 4: In the bowl blend, whisk, stir, etc. If you have a submersible blender that’s the ideal tool but it really isn’t mandatory. Do not make soap in a blender or food processor (you can thank me later for that advise – lol just don’t ask me how I know that!). Mix until it’s the consistency of soft pudding. If doing it by hand it may take a while. If using a submersible it can take less than 20 seconds.
Step 5: Add the fragrance oil
and Castor Oil. Mix it well one last time and pour it into your prepared plastic lined box.
Step 6: Let it set for at least 24 hours before trying to remove it from the mold. Now is th time to cut or slice it before it hardens too much. Soap should cure in the open air for 6 weeks before use, however at this point it IS safe to use. The lye is no longer caustic after saponification (aka step 4). The longer it cures the harder it will be and the longer it will last.
That’s all there is to it! Now you have 8 quarter pound bars for approximately a dollar or less each. That wasn’t difficult at all was it?
Let me hear from you! I want to know how your first batch turned out!