I never knew I could make my own soap. I used to buy it in store and think about the fun ingredients they had included, like avocado and fennel seed. The colors were so much more exciting than bright white drug store soap bars, too.
Once I eventually stumbled upon a blog about handmade, natural soap and how this person was making it from scratch, I was intrigued! Is this something I could do? I was already into making my own hand scrubs and face masks, how hard could it really be?
Well, 1 soapmaking class, and 30 more batches at home, I've discovered it's definitely possible, and even a little addicting!
It does take some specialized equipment, certain ingredients, and some basic knowledge, but I'm hoping to summarize a bit today to give you a behind the scenes peek at how I make L&C soap!
FYI - I like to make my soap using the cold process method which gives me complete control of the ingredients, a long lasting bar of soap, and the ability to create fun designs in the wet soap batter!
- Carefully choose your ingredients
I have decided to only use natural, vegan ingredients, pure essential oils, and simple recipes to create beautiful bars that work well, and last a long time. The mix of oils and butters I’ve chosen gives a cleansing (coconut oil), hard (cocoa butter), moisturizing (olive oil), and lathering (castor oil) bar.
I only use plant based colors which makes for a lot of fun. Who knew you could make an orange shade using paprika!? And the scents are all essential oils derived from real plants!
- Measure, weigh, and melt
It’s important to measure everything correctly. Because I am making my soap from scratch, I'm using lye (sodium hydroxide) which is corrosive on it’s own. Once mixed with the oils though, the lye is totally consumed and together, they create glycerin. I even add a little extra castor oil just to be sure all of the lye will be used up!
Most everything is weighed and some of the additives like the coffee or poppyseeds are measured with a measuring spoon. The solid butters and oils have to be melted, and the lye is dissolved in water so it can better mix with the oils.
- Mix mix mix
Once everything is liquified, it is mixed together with an immersion blender. Before these were available, you had to whisk by hand! Ah, technology! Once it’s all mixed well, the essential oils, colors, and other additives are added in and mixed by hand.
- Put to bed
The batter is then poured into the molds and “put to bed” as we like to say. I like to add some flower petals to the tops of some of the bars, and do little swirls in the tops of others. Over the next 24-48 hours the saponification reaction will be completed and we will have our soap!
- Cut and label
After the soap loaf has firmed up, it can be removed from the mold and cut into bars. At this point, the soap is safe to use, but still pretty soft. I like to practice patience and let the bars sit for about 4 weeks to let most of the remaining water evaporate so that the bars will last a long time once they get into your hands! Once the 4 weeks is up, I hand wrap each bar and send it on its way for you to enjoy!
Thanks for following along, and I hope you learned something new! If you liked this blog post and want to be notified the next time I write one, please sign up for the mailing list below!