There are so many things people wish they learned how to do personally for different purposes. Some for commercial purposes, some for the sake of finding a hobby, others to have these things in large quantities in their house without having to buy them.
One of such things people do not mind learning how to produce for whatever purpose is soap, and there are tons of reasons why people would want to learn how to make soap.
Ranging from being tired of off-the-shelf products, to wanting something that suits their skin, and to wanting something that can correct chemical damage on their skin. There are many reasons, really.
However, while there is a reasonable amount of people who would want to learn how to make soap for whatever reason, there are also just a few who go through with the actual process, because the idea of soap making sounds like a really difficult one.
So, first things first.
Making soap is a process that requires patience, time, attention to detail, and delicacy, but it is not such a complex or rather a difficult one that cannot be handled.
It is also a very fun-filled, creative, and amazing process.
As long as you are willing and have the time and patience to spare, it is a very rewarding process.
You are bound to look at the time spent in a few days when you are lathering up your body and soaking in the richness of all the essentials you put in that soap and realize that it was a time well spent. You get your time’s worth in rich lather.
There are about four methods of making homemade soap.
The melt and pour process: In this process, you melt already made soaps, pour in the oils you like, and let harden again.
The hot process soap: Where you cook all your ingredients in a pot.
The rebatching: You grind up different bars of soap, add milk and water, then that’s it.
The cold process: This is the process where you make the soap from scratch, with all the oils and lye, from the start to finish.
The cold process is what we would be learning.
Making a cold process soap
Making a cold process soap is literally giving you power over the soap, you decide what ingredient goes in and what does not. While others require you use a base, this requires that you start from scratch, so all that is about your soap is in your hands. Your soap is as good as you want it to be.
Make your lye solution: To make your lye solution, you have to be really careful, as your lye solution must be as much as your recipe calls for, no more, no less. It’s the first and the most delicate process of making soap. You would need safety goggles because you do not want any of that solution splashing into your eyes, you would also need gloves to protect your hands. Make sure to do this in a well ventilated area! Something to cover your mouth and nose is highly recommended. YOU CAN NOT INHALE THE VAPORS! This can’t be overstated. It can kill you.
You need pure lye and distilled water, if your soap requires salt or sugar, then add as much as is needed in your soap, if it doesn’t, leave it out.
The distilled water you are using should be the exact amount for your soap recipe.
For the preparation, you need a pitcher, scale, thermometer and, a spoon.
You can decide to use a Mason jar in place of the pitcher. Just make sure either of them has a lid covering the top.
Weigh the water to be sure that it is the right weight; to get the right weight, weigh the pitcher without the water first, then weigh the water with the pitcher.
Weigh the lye to get the correct mass the same way you checked for the water.
Carefully add the lye to the water, making sure none of the flakes fly out.
Never ever add the water to the lye, it gets foamy and splashes everywhere and it will be a waste of ingredients, in the end, it is also unsafe.
Stir the mixture until small bubbles begin to form and the container begins to heat up and the solution is mixed thoroughly.
If salt or sugar is part of your ingredients, make sure to put them in the water and stir properly before adding the lye.
Lock the pitcher and keep the lye solution away.
Heat all your oils: Get all your essential oils, as much as you would like to be in the soap, and then put them in a pot and heat. Heat till they are 100 degrees.
Mix with the lye solution: Slowly pour in the lye solution into this mixture and blend it all together until it thickens and mixes to the point where the water and the oil are no longer fighting to be separate from each other. This is called the ‘trace’. Where the oil and water have mixed to become one.
Add the remaining parts of the soap: The fragrance, the color and the other additives you find worthy of being in your soap will be added at this point.
Now you wait: First, you wait 24 hours for the mixture to harden, then you wait a month or thereabout before your homemade soap is ready to use. It is in this period you need the patience because you make use of the soap in its early stages, even though it looks hard and ready, it is still not safe for usage. You will have to wait a little while. You probably want to cut your soap 24-48 hours in, depending on how hard you expect it to be. If you wait too long to cut a hard soap, it will be a fight.
There is this feeling of fulfillment that stretches all around your insides when you lather that bar of soap all over your skin and you know that you made this!
And here is the best part, you can in one make, make a large amount of soap that will last you for months, saving you the numerous trips to the supermarket to get an expensive bar of soap that might not even give you the results you so badly want.
Thank you for reading! If you’d like to know more about different oils and what they can do for your hair/skin just follow that link. I strongly encourage everyone to gain as much technical knowledge about the process (especially lye) as possible. We cover that and what saponification is in What are Acids and Bases, and more on lye here. Your harder to find DIY materials can be found here. Don’t forget to add mimosa hostilis root bark powder to your soap for the awesome benefits! We have a very easy to follow MHRB soap recipe here. Any questions just ask, we love to help!