Why Should I Make Soap?

Making handmade soap is one big step towards your health, towards the health of our planet; it’s an eco-friendly solution, and a fun one at that!

Like many of you, I have spent most of my life buying soap in those neat little packages with a fun design, and the scent, oh the scent was to die for! 

making handmade soap

But what I’ve discovered was when I used soap my skin got dry. Sometimes it even got patchy and began to peel off.

So, I read the ingredients on the back of one of those neat little packets, and what did I find? A bunch of chemicals whose names I couldn’t even pronounce!

No wonder my skin got so bad, I’ve been bathing it in chemicals! So, now what?

I’ve got two words for you - HOMEMADE SOAP.

I realized it is not time consuming, it doesn’t cost a lot (and it even saves you money which you would have spent on drugstore soap), it’s healthy – you get to choose what to put into the soap, it’s easy to make, and it’s just so damn fun!

What Ingredients Do I Need To Make Handmade Soap?

Do you know what you need and what the ingredients do?

First, let me answer your million dollar question - Can I Make Soap Without Lye?

I’m not going to lie to you, the answer is NO. Lye is something most beginners fear and it was one of my biggest concerns too, but you just need to educate yourself on the topic, and it will cease to be scary.

Lye - Also known as Sodium Hydroxide

Lye is a caustic alkali. When handling, handle with care, and of course use gloves (eye protection and a mask is also recommended).

For making handmade soap only use the crystal form of pure Sodium Hydroxide. Also, you must add lye to water, not the other way around. Both of these things are extremely important!

Now, I know you might be a bit scared by lye, but I promise the end result, a bar of natural soap, is completely harmless.

The only reason lye is used is because soap making is basically the chemical reaction between oils, which are acids, and lye, which is a base. Mixed together they form a completely new, safe and harmless material which are nearly neutral in PH.

Through a process called saponification lye reacts with the oils in your soap, and when the process is finished – NO LYE will remain.

If you still don’t trust lye, I suggest you do what I did for most of my beginner’s days – use ‘Melt-and-Pour’ (it still consists of lye, but you don’t have to handle it by yourself).

This is already premade - a base & oils mixed together. It usually comes in small cubes which you melt in a pot or in a microwave.

Water

Water is the second most important ingredient in making handmade soap, and as mentioned before, it is extremely important to add lye to water and not the other way around!

Water helps the chemical reaction with lye. When you first remove your finished product - the soap - out of your molds – they will feel a bit soft, creamy almost.

But don’t worry, the water evaporates from the bar in a few days, and it becomes harder.

Oils

Oils, which are acids, are needed to complete the reaction with lye, which is a base. Luckily, oils and fats are easy and safe to handle, and one of the best things about making handmade soap is you definitely have at least one of them in your kitchen cabinet! 

The fun thing about oils is that you can use several of them in one recipe. Sometimes that is even a better idea, because handling only one oil in a recipe can be quite difficult.

Each oil has its own characteristics, so choose wisely. The most common oils uses in making handmade soap are:

  • COCONUT OIL is used if you want a harder bar of soap and it is great for all lather fans.
  • BEESWAX also creates a hard bar of soap, but at the same time it has that sweet, honey scent!
  • OLIVE OIL is great on its own – it does wonders for removing your nail cuticles! It is good for sensitive skin, and overall for all skin types.
  • COCOA BUTTER is my jam in the winter months! It is great for moisture and skin protection.
  • SHEA BUTTER is a bit more difficult to work with, since it will usually just stay in bits and pieces in your soap. But it is worth the try, especially if you have skin prone to dryness.
  • PALM OIL is great to use in making handmade soap, however if you want to be eco-friendly, and prefer to use a cruelty-free option, I suggest you buy oil that has a 'sustainable' certificate listed – it means the making of this palm oil didn’t cause any animal or rain forest deaths.
  • SWEET ALMOND OIL is great to moisturize your skin.
  • CASTOR OIL helps soften your skin.
  • AVOCADO OIL is good for hydration and elasticity of skin.
  • MANGO BUTTER is rich in antioxidants, and it helps retain and maintain moisture in your skin.

Add-ins To Customize The Color, Texture, And Scent

Add-ins are such a fun way to create art out of your bar!

Color

  • SPIRULINA gives a very dark, rich green color.
  • TUMERIC creates a sunset, it is mostly yellow and light orange.
  • BEET ROOTS are my favorite, it splashes orange, burgundy, and sometimes even scarlet color.
  • CALENDULA PETALS create golden orange.
  • MADDER ROOT for lovely pink.
  • ALKANET ROOT for gorgeous purple.
  • SAFFRON for sunsets or sunrises.
  • CINNAMON or COCOA POWDER for caramel brow.
  • COSMETICS CLAYS have a beautiful diversity of colors; from pink, to brown, red, green and white.
  • OILS are important for the color you wish, e.g. – olive oil gives a yellow shade, while coconut oil is completely white.

Texture

  • GROUND COFFEE
  • CLAYS
  • OATMEAL
  • SALTS
  • GROUND ALMONDS
  • GROUND PUMICE STONE
  • HERBS & FLOWERS
  • DRIED FRUIT

These are all great for exfoliating your skin, or to give you that extra scrub!

Scent

  • ESSENTIAL OILS can heal your skin, and some are great to clean your sinuses and airways. Although, the downside is they fade away rather quickly. Lavender essential oil is a great stress reliever, and lemon uplifts you with energy, but there are so many different essential oils out there – you can simply pick one which agrees with you the most.

  • FRAGRANCE OILS are used in perfumes, and they do last a long time, but the down side is that they are artificial, and they usually contain petrochemicals and allergens – so for people with sensitive skin, allergies, and skin conditions – these are not a good idea.

  • LITTLE HELPERS – as I mentioned before, essential oils tend to fade away quickly, but you can always mix them with oils that can help ‘ground’ them, make them last longer – you can use Balsam Fir Needle Oil, Cedar-wood Oil or Patchouli Oil.

Making Handmade Soap Even More Stylish 

The first part of design is color, which we talked about above. Be creative - mix colors together, and create something new! Make red and green soaps for Christmas, orange and gold for Halloween, little pink ones if your friend is expecting a baby girl - it can be an awesome gift!

The Molds and Shapes

The second part of design is the molds. Now, this can get a bit tricky if you don’t have any molds in the kitchen.

Here’s a little tip from me: just (re)use something you can find at home, an empty butter container, or an empty milk carton.

Sliced into two pieces, use whatever you can find that is a square shape, is empty, and you were just going to throw it away, and clean it well before use!

Of course, it doesn’t need to be square shaped!

You can just use your muffin tray, make cute little cylinder shaped soaps! Sometimes round soaps without corners are even better.

Now this next piece of advice is my little secret, I use it for gift soaps. My friends are crazy about them!

I use the tray for ice cubes or just some leftover mold from a box of chocolates (the heart shaped ones are smash hit!), and make little tiny soaps, take three of them, put them in a shiny colorful bag, wrap them with a bow, and voila - a perfect gift for any occasion.

Another one of my tricks is using a ‘cookie stamp’. It doesn’t work on all soaps, especially the hard ones after they’ve set, but sometimes it works on the softer, creamy soaps.

If you stamp them at the right time, with cookie stamps you can create so many different designs on your natural soaps!


Happy Soapy to You.....


You Can Also Try More Soap Recipes 




> Making Handmade Soap


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