What’s in your soap? Sometimes dirty ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate and triclosan. It’s important to not only find a soap that you love (the way it smells, the way your skin reacts, etc.), but to make sure it’s also good for the environment and isn’t carrying scary toxins.
Soap, like many of the beauty products we’ve outlined in our DIY posts, is simple to make because it requires few basic ingredients and not a ton of manpower. It’s easy to customize your soap, so if you have specific needs due to your skin type or you just want a special scent, you can make it!
BASIC SOAP RECIPE
- soap mold
- freezer paper
- digital scale
- 10 1/2 oz. coconut oil
- 7 oz. palm oil
- 5 oz. lye (sodium hydroxide/caustic soda)
- 13 fl. oz. water
- 17 fl. oz. olive oil
- kitchen thermometer
- stick blender
- 1 oz. (2 tbsp.) essential oil or fragrance oil (optional)
- additives such as lavender flowers or natural food coloring (optional)
- cardboard shoe box with lid
- protective glasses
- rubber gloves
1. Gather your ingredients and tools. Line your soap mold with freezer paper, with the shiny side to face the soap.
2. Place a stainless steel pot on a digital scale and measure your solid oils. Use the tare button on your scale as you add each one.
3. After you’ve measured the solid oils, warm the pot over low heat for the solid oils to melt.
4. Measure your lye (sodium hydroxide) carefully into a bowl. [Note: Lye can be harmful if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes, so make sure to wear rubber gloves and protective glasses, or get help from a parent!]
5. Measure your water.
6. Pour your water into a heat-resistant bowl. Then pour your lye into the bowl of water. Stir. It will have a chemical reaction, giving off fumes and heat. After a minute or two, the water will turn clear. Use hot pads if you pick up the bowl. [Note: Lye’s fumes also can be harmful, so make your soap in a well-ventilated room.]
7. Measure your liquid oils into a separate bowl. Once the solid oils are melted, add the liquid oils to the pot. Turn the stove burner off; it’s probably hot enough. Check the temperature of the oils with a kitchen thermometer. You want the oils to reach about 110 degrees F.
8. To help the lye solution cool down, put it in a sink of cold water. Check the temperature of the lye solution with the kitchen thermometer. You want it to be around 110 degrees F.
9. Once the lye solution is cooled, pour it slowly into the pot. Blend with a stick blender until it looks smooth.
10. Every now and then, turn the blender off and just stir with it. Alternate blending and stirring. Be careful not to raise the blender up so that it would stir in air bubbles.
11. Blend and stir for about 5 minutes. The mixture will start to resemble pancake batter. It will begin to look dull on the surface and thinly coat the blender. This is called “trace.”
12. Add your fragrance oils and additives, if using. Pour the soap into the mold before it gets too thick.
13. Put the mold inside a cardboard shoe box, put the lid on it and then cover it with a towel to keep it warm. Let it set as long as needed.
14. Rinse off the lye from your bowls and utensils, and then wash everything in soapy water.
Would you ever try making your own soap? Do you try to buy natural beauty products? Let us know in the comments below!