Monday, December 29, 2014

Adventures In Cold Process Soap Making

3 handmade soap recipes

After making my own soap, I don't think I will ever go back to store bought!
It feels amazing on the skin, I know exactly what's in it and I love creating all kinds of combinations!

I have been looking into making my own soap for the past couple of years and have been researching all parts of soap making. I looked into melt and pour, hot process and cold process. I watched videos, read up on the safety of lye, ingredients and recipes. After all of that, I decided cold process was the route I wanted to take.

I make our own body butters, hair and body oils, salves, balms, conditioners, tinctures, infusions and other homemade concoctions, so I had a good selection of oils, butters, essential oils and hydrosols on hand. Instead of going out and purchasing more for a specific recipe, I plugged some of the ones I had into a Lye Calculator, picked up some Lye at a local hardware store and I was ready to get started!

I stock my oils, butters, extracts and other ingredients from a variety of sources.
Mountain Rose Herbs
Essential Wholesale
New Directions Aromatics
Sometimes Whole Foods, Sprouts and Vons, but I like to buy in bulk, so the other resources work better for that.

ingredients for soap making

*Safety* Lye is caustic and can cause serious damage if you get active lye on your skin or in your eyes. Keep vinegar nearby to neutralize the lye if it gets on your skin or in yoiur eyes. It's not necessary to be afraid of lye, but it is necessary to know what you're working with and take proper precautions. I wear a mask when I mix the lye and liquid and I also do this outside. I wear gloves when mixing the lye into water and the liquid mixture into the oils. Eye protection is also recommended. Lye reactes with the water and fat causing them to combine into soap. There is no lye present in your final soap product. I used Rooto 100% Lye.

rooto lye for soap making

*Tools* Don't use any aluminum when making soap. Aluminum combines with the lye and will keep your mix from reaching saponification. Glass, plastic and stainless steel are best. You can use wood, but lye eventually will eat away at the wood.

These steps are for all of the below soaps:
-measure all ingredients and have them ready to go

lye for soap making

-mix lye and water solution and set aside (remember to mix lye into water, not water into lye. You may create a dangerous overflow if you do)

mixing lye into water

-heat butters and oils until melted and combined

butters and oils for soap making

-pour lye into oil/butter mixture and blend together when they are both at about 100 degrees

soap making trace

 -Use short pulses with a stick blender and stir in between. You can also use a whisk, but it will take a little longer to reach trace.
soap making

 -Trace is achieved when your liquid and fat are well combined and the mix starts to thicken. Light trace resembles a viscous milk. Thick trace is like pudding.
Your trace time depends on what ingredients you are using, how quickly you mix and any additives, essential oils or frangrances you use.

soap making trace

-Pour the soap into your molds, cover and let sit 12-24 hrs or until firm enough to cut or unmold. If you use glass, line with wax paper or plastic wrap, so the soap releases easier.

green tea citrus soap

-Let the soap cure in a well ventilated for 4-6 weeks or even longer. The longer it sits, the firmer and milder the soap will be.

green tea citrus soap

This is fresh cut the day after it was made.

green tea citrus soap

My recipes are just guidelines. Use a lye calculator to experiment and do what you like. Safely of course!

Green Tea and Citrus
5oz avocado butter
1.3oz castor oil
6.5oz coconut oil
1.5oz oat oil
7.5oz olive oil
3.1oz lye
8oz filtered water
1tbs green tea powder (seperate 1/3 of mixture after tace and mix in powder)
lemon grass essential oil (added after trace)
sweet orange essential oil (added after trace)
Layer or swirl together

green tea citrus soap

green tea soap at trace

It's a very creamy lathering soap, leaves skin soft without leaving residue.

creamy handmade soap lather

creamy handmade soap lather

Acai Coconut
2oz sweet almond oil
10oz coconut oil
2oz kukui nut oil
1.8oz macadamia nut oil
2oz oat oil
4oz wheat germ oil
3.2oz lye
8oz filtered water
1tbs ground dried acai berries (seperate 1/3 of mixture after tace and mix in powder. The acai doesn't completely dissolve, so it acts as an exfoliant)
natural coconut fragrance (I bought this natural fragrance oil years ago and never used it. I now don't buy or use any fragrance oils at all. Even the natural ones. I prefer to use essential oils, hydrosols, etc.) (added after trace)
Layer or swirl together

Benonite Clay Shaving Soap
This shave soap hardens up very nicely and has great slip and dense lather for shaving. We love it!
2oz aloe butter- soothing
2oz cocoa butter- skin conditioner
5oz coconut oil- skin conditioner, healing, slip and dense lather
2oz olive oil- skin conditioner
1oz rosehip seed oil- healing
2oz wheat germ oil- healing and I have a ton of it, so I've used it in every soap I make thus far :)
2.1oz lye
4oz filtered water
1tbs bentonite clay- skin purifier and slip (mix into oils before you combine with liquid)
few drops of blue chamomile essential oil (added after trace)

Let me know how these recipes work out for you and share pictures!

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