The idea of making your own soap at home can seem intimidating – there are chemical reactions involved and fancy words like Saponification! But fear not – in this article we are going to break it down for you so you can make your own soap the easy way!
Why Handmade Soap?
There are several benefits to making your own soap at home:
Control Over Ingredients
When making your own soap, you have complete control over the ingredients that go into it. This means you can avoid using harsh chemicals or additives that may irritate your skin or cause other health problems.
Making your own soap allows you to customize the scent, color, and texture of the soap to your liking. You can also create soap bars that are tailored to your specific skin type or skin concerns.
Homemade soap can be a cost-effective alternative to store-bought soap, especially if you buy your ingredients in bulk or make large batches at once.
Making your own soap can be more eco-friendly than buying commercial soap. You can choose to use organic and sustainably sourced ingredients, avoid plastic packaging, and reduce waste.
Soap making can be a fun and creative hobby that allows you to experiment with different ingredients, scents, and designs.
An Introduction to Soapmaking Methods
There are two main ways to make soap at home.
1. Cold Process Soap Making
This method involves mixing lye with oils and other ingredients to create a chemical reaction called saponification, which results in the formation of soap.
The mixture is then poured into molds and allowed to cure for several weeks before it is ready to use.
2. Melt and Pour Soap Making
This method involves melting pre-made soap base and adding your desired ingredients, such as fragrances, colors, and additives, before pouring the mixture into molds to set.
The soap does not need to cure and can be used immediately after it has hardened in the mold.
Both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. Cold process soap making allows for greater control over the ingredients and can (sometimes) result in a higher-quality soap, but it requires more time and effort and can be more challenging for beginners.
Melt and pour soap making, on the other hand, is easier and quicker, and allows for more creativity in terms of color and fragrance, but it may not result in as high-quality of a soap as cold process soap making.
Melt and Pour for the Win!
For beginner soap makers, the melt and pour is the best choice for making soap – for two main reasons.
- First – it’s easier
- Second – it’s safer
Making soap with lye involves a chemical reaction between Lye (sodium hydroxide) and fats or oils, which results in the formation of soap through a process called Saponification.
This process requires precise measurements and handling of lye, which is a caustic substance that can cause chemical burns if not handled properly.
Making soap with lye also requires more time and effort, as the soap needs to cure for several weeks before it is safe to use.
On the other hand, making pour soap involves melting pre-made soap base and adding your desired ingredients, such as fragrances, colors, and additives, before pouring the mixture into molds to set.
Pour soap does not require handling lye or waiting for the soap to cure, making it a safer and easier alternative to traditional soap making.
Pour soap also offers more creative freedom and versatility in terms of color, fragrance, and texture, as you can easily experiment with different ingredients and combinations to create unique soap bars.
Additionally, pour soap can be made in smaller batches, allowing for more flexibility and less waste. Overall, while making soap with lye can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, pour soap is a simpler and safer option that offers many of the same benefits of homemade soap without the need for handling hazardous chemicals.
Melt and Pour
Now that I’ve sufficiently pumped up the melt and pour method, let’s get into how you actually do it!
Basic Soap Recipe
Soap Making Tools and Ingredients
1 pound of clear glycerin soap base
Soap coloring (optional)
Soap fragrance or essential oil (optional)
Rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle
Cut the glycerin soap base into small cubes.
Place the cubes in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until the soap base is fully melted.
If desired, add a few drops of soap coloring and soap fragrance or essential oil to the melted soap base and stir well.
Pour the melted soap into the soap molds.
Spray the top of the soap with rubbing alcohol to remove any bubbles.
Let the soap cool and harden for at least 1-2 hours.
Once the soap has hardened, gently pop it out of the molds.
Your homemade pour soap is ready to use!
Moisturising Homemade Soap Recipe
Soap Making Tools & Ingredients:
1 pound of shea butter soap base
1 tablespoon of almond oil
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil
Double boiler or microwave safe bowl
Spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol
Cut the shea butter soap base into small cubes and place them in a double boiler or microwave safe bowl. Melt the soap base over low heat or in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally.
Once the soap base is melted, remove it from the heat and add the almond oil, coconut oil, honey, and vitamin E oil. Stir well to combine.
Pour the mixture into the soap mold and lightly spritz the surface with rubbing alcohol to remove any bubbles. Allow the soap to cool and harden in the mold for at least an hour.
Once the soap has hardened, remove it from the mold and wrap it in plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container.
This moisturizing soap will leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated. You can customize this recipe by adding different essential oils or natural colorants to create a soap that is uniquely yours.
Develop More Soap Recipes
These are just two basic recipes to get you started. The melt and pour process is very forgiving. Experiment with proportions of soap base and moisturising ingredients. If Add soap turns out a bit soft, pop in the freezer for a day or two and it will set to a much more solid consistency.
Add Essential Oils
Single note or essential oil blends can be added to your soap for a personalised scent and added benefits. These are our top suggestions:
Lavender essential oil: Lavender oil is known for its calming and relaxing properties. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety, promote restful sleep, and soothe irritated skin.
Tea tree essential oil: Tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial agent that can help to combat bacteria and fungi. It is often used in soap to treat acne and other skin conditions.
Peppermint essential oil: Peppermint oil has a refreshing and invigorating scent that can help to improve mood and boost energy levels. It can also help to relieve headaches and soothe sore muscles.
Eucalyptus essential oil: Eucalyptus oil is a natural decongestant that can help to clear sinuses and relieve respiratory problems. It is also a great choice for its cooling and soothing properties, which can help to alleviate sore muscles and joints.
Lemon essential oil: Lemon oil has a fresh and uplifting scent that can help to improve mood and boost energy levels. It is also a natural astringent that can help to tone and brighten the skin.
Rosemary essential oil: Rosemary oil has a fresh and herbaceous scent that can help to improve mental clarity and concentration. It is also a natural antiseptic and can help to stimulate hair growth.
Frankincense essential oil: Frankincense oil has a warm and woody scent that can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress. It is also known for its anti-aging properties and can help to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Patchouli essential oil: Patchouli oil has a musky and earthy scent that can help to promote feelings of grounding and balance. It is also a natural insect repellent and can help to soothe and heal skin irritations.
Geranium essential oil: Geranium oil has a sweet and floral scent that can help to balance hormones and reduce symptoms of PMS. It is also a natural astringent and can help to tighten and tone the skin.
Ylang-ylang essential oil: Ylang-ylang oil has a sweet and exotic scent that can help to reduce stress and anxiety. It is also a natural aphrodisiac and can help to improve mood and enhance feelings of romance and intimacy.
Natural colorants, such as beetroot powder, spirulina powder, and activated charcoal, can be used to add color to soap without the use of synthetic dyes. You can even match the color to your chosen scent – yellow for lemon scent, red for peppermint soap, etc.
Read our post on DIY Lip Balm to learn how to make your own natural coloring powder.
Add Other Organic Ingredients
Other natural ingredients can be added to your soap to customize your product for you needs.
Herbs and spices
Dried herbs and spices can add color and texture to soap, as well as provide gentle exfoliation. Some examples include chamomile, rose petals, cinnamon, and turmeric.
Carrier oils, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and jojoba oil, can add moisturizing properties to soap and help to nourish the skin.
Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that can soothe and hydrate the skin. It can be added to soap in the form of aloe vera gel or juice.
Honey is a natural humectant that can help to retain moisture in the skin. It can be added to soap as a natural sweetener and moisturizer.
Oatmeal is a gentle exfoliant that can soothe dry and irritated skin. It can be added to soap in the form of ground oats or oat milk.
Chamomile is a gentle and calming ingredient that can help to soothe irritated or sensitive skin. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce redness and swelling.
Calendula is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help to soothe and heal the skin. It is often used in soap to treat conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Coconut milk is a natural moisturizer that can help to nourish and hydrate the skin. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals that can help to promote healthy skin.
Green tea is a natural antioxidant that can help to protect the skin from damage. It is also rich in catechins, which can help to reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin.
Activated charcoal is a natural detoxifier that can help to absorb impurities and toxins from the skin. It is often used in soap to help draw out impurities and leave the skin feeling clean and refreshed.
Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help to reduce redness and irritation. It is also rich in antioxidants that can help to protect the skin from damage.
What are you Waiting For?!
With just a few simple ingredients and some creativity, you can make soaps that are not only beautiful, but also nourishing and beneficial for your skin.
Whether you’re looking to create a special gift for a loved one or just want to indulge in some self-care, making melt and pour soap is an easy and satisfying DIY project that anyone can do.