Dive into the World of Homemade Soaps: A Step-by-Step Guide
Making your own soap can be a rewarding and creative endeavor. With a few simple ingredients and some basic equipment, you can craft personalized, all-natural soaps that are gentle on your skin and allow you to express yourself. In this blog post, I'll guide you through the process of making soap at home, allowing you to unleash your creativity while indulging in a truly unique self-care experience.
Step 1: What You'll Need
Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary supplies. You'll first need a tried and true soap recipe. I recommend checking out The Soap Queen for some great recipes to get you started.
You'll need a heat-resistant container, 2 medium size pouring containers, a small bowl for fragrance or essential oils, a thermometer, safety goggles, rubber gloves, a stick blender, soap molds, and ingredients such as oils, lye (sodium hydroxide), distilled water, and optional additives like essential oils, clays, herbs, or exfoliants.
Scared of purchasing a ton of different oils? Brambleberry also has a great line of pre-mixed and pre-measured oils called Quick Mixes that are perfect for beginner soap makers.
Step 2: Safety First
Soapmaking involves working with lye, which is a caustic substance and can burn you severely. It's crucial to take safety precautions to protect yourself. Wear safety goggles and rubber gloves throughout the process, work in a well-ventilated area, and keep vinegar nearby in case of lye spills. Always handle lye with caution and keep it out of reach of children, pets, and clumsy spouses.
Step 3: Weigh and Mix Oils
Choose a combination of oils that suits your skin type and preferences. Common choices include olive oil and coconut oil. Butters can also be added to give your soaps additional skin nourishing benefits. Oils and butters will both be listed in your recipe.
Weigh the oils and butter according to your recipe and heat them in a pot until they reach a specific temperature, usually around 125°F. Stir them gently to ensure even distribution of heat and to make sure your oils and butters have thoroughly combined.
Step 4: Prepare the Lye Solution
Carefully measure the required amount of lye using a scale. While your recipe should include your lye amount. It's always best to double check using a lye calculator. Lye calculators are imperative once you start creating your own recipes.
Next, measure the appropriate amount of distilled water. Slowly add the lye to the water, stirring until it dissolves completely. NEVER add water to the lye. Always add your lye to your water. Remember "Snow on the Water", never the other way around. Be cautious, as the mixture will heat up and release fumes. Ensure you always work in a well ventilated area.
Step 5: Combine and Blend
After both your lye water and your oil and butter mixture have reached approximately 125°F each, gradually pour the lye solution into the pot of oils while stirring continuously with a stick blender. The mixture will begin to emulsify and thicken. Blend until the soap reaches "trace," a stage where it leaves a visible trace or trail when drizzled from the blender. This process takes only a few minutes. Be careful not to over blend or you could accidentally accelerate the process, ending up with soap on a stick.
Step 6: Add Fragrance and Additives
Once the soap reaches trace, it's time to personalize it with fragrance and additives. Here you can add fragrance oils, essential oils, dried herbs, or exfoliants like oatmeal, poppy seeds, coconut shells, or coffee grounds. You can also add natural colorants made from clays and natural elements. Stir gently to incorporate them evenly throughout the soap mixture.
Step 7: Mold and Cure
Pour the soap mixture into your chosen molds and gently tap them to release any trapped air bubbles. Allow the soap to cure in the molds for 24-48 hours or until it hardens. Different recipes will require different cure times depending on the types of oils you have selected. After unmolding, cut your bars and let them cure for an additional 4-6 weeks in a well-ventilated area. This curing period ensures a longer-lasting bar of soap that's simply perfect. Your bars will evaporate water during this time.
DIY Handmade Soap
Making soap at home is a delightful journey of creativity and self-care. By following these steps and taking necessary safety precautions, you can craft unique, all-natural soaps tailored to your preferences. Explore different oils, scents, and additives to create your personalized soap that nourishes and pampers your skin, making each shower a truly indulgent experience.
Want to watch me make soap? Check out my video on Making Lavender Sage Handmade Soap.