My journey of making natural skincare, hair and beauty products all started with soap. I have made many variations and love this one (recipe from my mom – thanks Mom), it is great for eczema, sensitive skin, your face or your babies skin. It doesn’t create much lather, but it’s gentle and mild and leaves your skin feeling lovely.
I used to be addicted to hand and body cream because commercial soap would leave me feeling dry. Now my skin only feels dry after swimming in a chlorinated pool, but soon returns to normal without moisturising. I don’t moisturise my hands Or body anymore, it’s great! Commercial soap contains a long list of ingredients, including harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances and dye.
“But what about the caustic soda?” Yes I hear you, you need this to turn the fat into soap, there is no way you can make soap (from scratch) without it. However the caustic soda is neutralised during the soap making process (saponification), so once it’s cured and ready to use, NO caustic soda remains in it, it is completely safe at this point.
We do have to be careful while making it, because the caustic soda (lye) burns! Wear gloves (and goggles if you wish) if you are new to this and if you get it on your skin, wash it off immediately. Same goes for your work surfaces, floor and clothes. Keep the room well ventilated and do it when there are no kids or pets around. Don’t use any aluminium pots or spoons. Use stainless steel, cast iron pot and steel, wood, silicone or plastic utensils. Line your work surfaces with newspaper if you think they might stain.
Ingredients and equipment:
165g Full cream milk
63g lye/caustic soda/ sodium hydroxide
500g Olive oil
Essential oils of your choice (optional). I put Ylang Ylang in this one, it smells nice and has great properties, however I’m not convinced they hold their properties after the whole process. Most essential oils don’t hold their fragrance well. Peppermint is one I sometimes use, it gives a good fragrance, but you need to use quite a bit. I sometimes put lavender or tea tree in as well.
Stainless steel saucepan
Thermometer (I use a sugar thermometer)
Stick blender (Emerson blender). I have seen recipes where people use their Kenwood mixer on a low setting so it doesn’t splash. Hand beater might splash the mix, so it’s not good as the caustic soda is still present.
Mould-you can use one plastic container and cut it up the next day, just line it with cling film to assist removal. I use silicone cupcake holders, the soap comes out easily and they look cute.
Blanket or towel.
Weigh your milk and get it in the freezer, it needs to be slushy. The lye heats up when added, freezing it first prevents the milk proteins from cooking.
Now slightly heat your oil in the saucepan. Take the temperatures for both milk mix and oil. You need them to be the same temperature, around 110-125 F. If one it warmer put a little cold water in the sink and sit the bowl or pot in there to cool, or put an ice pack under the warmer one.
When they are both the same temperature, carefully add them together and mix using your stick blender. Try not to splash it. Mix for a minute or two and then leave it for a few minutes (get your mould ready during this break) and repeat until you reach trace (the mixture gets stable, the ripples formed stay on the surface, it’s thick and pourable).
Pour your soap into your mould/s and cover with cling film (optional, I cover it to prevent it going onto my blanket).
The next morning it/they should be firm, remove from the mould and cut into blocks if you used one mould. Place your soaps on a drying rack or somewhere ventilated and allow to cure and harden for around 6 weeks. The longer the better, some will wait a year, I haven’t got the patience or storage space for that! The colour changes slightly and should go really hard.
This batch makes 10 cupcake size soaps. If you would like to purchase some before making it, please check out my Facebook page
If you followed my other blog (simplelivingmum), you’ll recognise this one, yes I copied it to here. It is one from my early soap days.