This easy soap is perfect for face and body. It uses 2 simple oils that are easy to find. Because it has a long working time, it's great for beginners, giving them time to work and add fun ingredients without being rushed for time!
Mix the lye into the water (Not the other way around!) in a recipient that can handle heat. (See safety tips below!) The mixture will heat up and become cloudy.
Once the lye has dissolved, leave the mix to cool in an area where no kids or pets have access to it while you go measure out your oils! It will clear up as it cools down.
Mix the oils
Meanwhile, weigh out the olive oil and coconut oil and mix them together in a large bowl. (Make sure it's large enough to add the other ingredients and safely mix them together.)If the coconut oil is in a solid state (in cooler room temperatures), melt the coconut oil. Otherwise, there is no need to heat your oils.
Combine the oils and lye solution
After the lye mixture has cooled enough to easily handle the container, pour the warm lye solution into the oil mixture. Mix them together gently at first.Note: You do not need to wait very long. The residual heat of the lye solution reaction can help speed the process along. I normally just have it cooling while I measure out the oils and then immediately proceed to mix everything together.
Once the lye solution has been incorporated into the oils, you can start to blend them with an immersion blender. Be careful not to spray the mixture all over! You can do this step by hand, but it supposedly will take a very long time. (I'm not patient enough to have ever tried myself.)
When the mixture starts to thicken and look like a thin mayonnaise (after a few minutes), you are at the stage that is called "trace." That is what you want!
Customize the soap
Now is the time to customize your soap and make it fun! You can add fragrances, colorants, exfoliants, etc. I use essential oils to naturally add a fragrance, but the scent doesn't last as long as synthetic fragrances.
Pour into soap molds. Silicone loaf pans work great as a soap mold. I also have successfully used plastic kitchen containers. Some people even recycle tetra briks and other food packaging. (Avoid using metals as they may react with the lye in the soap.)
Set aside for at least 24 hours. It will probably get warm. If it will be in a cold environment, consider covering the soap with a towel.
Unmold the soap
After 24 hours, uncover and gently press on it to determine if you can easily unmold it. If it is too soft, wait a few more hours/days and unmold. If you are having a hard time unmolding the soap, you can freeze it for a short time to help shrink it a little and slightly harden. If you have used a loaf pan, don't wait too long to unmold the soap or it will be too hard to easily cut it into bars.
If you've used a loaf pan, cut the soap into bars. I like the look of big, chunky square-ish bars. The nice thing about making your own, is that you can decide how you want to cut them.
Cure the soap
Let the soap cure/set for around a month. Separate the soaps so that each one has air circulating around it. At first, turn the soap every couple of days. This helps the soap dry out and harden evenly.
Enjoy your soap!!
Wear gloves and safety glasses when working with the lye.
It's best to mix the lye solution outside or in a well-ventilated area. Try not to breathe in the fumes released.
Mix the lye solution in a recipient that can handle heat, preferably stainless steel or plastic. (Glass may break with the heat from the chemical reaction. Other metals may react with the lye.)
You can use regular olive oil or extra virgin olive oil. If using pomace, you may need to adjust the recipe using a lye calculator.
While you can use refined coconut oil or virgin coconut oil, don't use special coconut oils with higher melting points like fractionated coconut oil. (To use them, you'd also need to adjust the recipe with a lye calculator.)
It's best to use distilled water, or at least filtered water, to avoid issues with any impurities in the water reacting with the lye.
You can experiment with using other liquids, but some, especially those with sugars in them like milk, may cause a more violent reaction. For learning how to work with milk, check out my pumpkin spice soap recipe or my goat milk with honey.
For bar soaps, use NaOH, or sodium hydroxide. It can often be found in the cleaning section of supermarkets with the drain cleaners. Most suitable lyes will mention that they can be used for soap making on the container.
Customizing the recipe
Once you've reached trace, you can add other ingredients to customize your soap. Add the ingredients and mix them into the soap well before pouring the mixture into your molds.
Fragrance: Add essential oils or fragrance oils. (When using fragrance oils, choose those meant for soaps and cosmetics.)
Colorants: You can use soap colorants, iron oxides, and/or micas. You can also experiment with using clays and/or spices to add natural color.
Exfoliants: Add sugar, salt, coffee grounds, poppy seeds and/or other exfoliants to your soap, as desired.
You can use special soap molds or use plastic or silicone containers that you already have at home.
Plastic food storage containers
Silicone loaf pans, muffin tins, or candy molds
Recycle some food packaging like milk cartons.
Avoid using metal molds as the metal may react with any remaining lye in the solution.
If using metal or wooden molds, line them first with plastic wrap and/or parchment or wax paper.
All bar soaps benefit from a curing time of around a month. During the curing time, the crystalline structure of the soap continues to form. As it dries, the soap hardens which allows it to last longer. It also generally improves other properties like its ability to lather.
More lather/Cleansing - Alternate soap recipe
For those who want a soap that provides more lather and cleansing, consider adding more coconut oil and less olive oil. Keep in mind that the working time will be slightly shorter and the soap will set a bit more quickly. Try using:
450g olive oil
150g coconut oil
Follow the same instructions above.
Recipe printed from Oh, The Things We'll Make! Blog. https://thethingswellmake.com/making-a-basic-beginner-soap-and-then-making-it-fun/