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5 Amazing Homemade Soap Recipes For Natural Living

5 Amazing Homemade Soap Recipes For Natural Living

The idea of making your own soap can seem bizarre at first. It is not like soap is expensive, and nor is store-bought soap that harmful. So why go through all that effort?

The thing is, is that soap-making is not actually all that difficult. Yes, there are safety issues when it comes to using lye (and if you’re making soap without lye, you’re not making soap). But if you take some basic safety precautions, you will be fine and discover that in addition to the ease of making soap, you can put your own natural, artistic touch into it.

Different soap recipes can have different effects, so don’t hesitate to try and try until you find your favorite soap. Here are five easy recipes which can get you started on the road to homemade soap:

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1. Olive Oil Soap

At a fundamental level, every soap recipe consists of mixing together three ingredients: oil, lye, and some other liquid. Olive oil is one of the easiest and most popular oils to use for soap cooking, though coconut oil is another popular, basic choice.

A general soap recipe will work like this: first, you take your oils and heat them until they reach around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably in a slow cooker. Then while wearing protective equipment, you mix together lye and water by pouring the lye into the water (and this cannot be stressed enough: DO NOT POUR THE WATER INTO THE LYE). After that, you mix everything together until they reach a firm, but not solid consistency. Then you pour the ingredients into a mold and let it wait. Some soap makers will wait as long as a year, but there is nothing wrong with using your homemade soap bar after a few days.

Soap made just with olive oil is known as “castile soap” and is named after the Castile region in Spain. It is known for being fairly soft, though there are ways to make it harder. If you’re interested in a more detailed recipe for how to make Castile soap, then check out this recipe and get to work.

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2. Peppermint Soap

If you think that making soap is going to be too difficult or dangerous, there are ways to simplify the process. One way is to use a soap base such as Goats Milk Soap Base, which you can order on Amazon. When you get the soap base, melt it inside a microwave. Then you can add peppermint oil or peppermint zest and mix it to ensure that the soap has a good consistency. You can also use other oils if you’re interested such as lemon.

A peppermint-laced soap smells fantastic, ensures that your body smells fantastic after you’re done showering, and is great for your skin because it contains so many nutrients and vitamins.

3. Oatmeal Soap

Soaps may largely consist of oils, liquids, and lye, but those do not have to be the only ingredients you use. Solid ingredients such as herbs and flowers can be added into any soap mixture to give the soap new fragrances and textures. Mint is a good choice, as are fruit rinds and berries.

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But my personal favorite solid ingredient is oatmeal. While we should know the health benefits of eating oatmeal, oatmeal can also be used in other ways to improve our skin. Using oatmeal in the soap adds chemicals called saponins, which can cleanse our face from germs and dirty which harm your skin.

4. Pumpkin Soap

One of the best parts of making soap is that you can customize it to what you need. This can take on a health perspective – for example, a soap made for people with sensitive skin should use more oil and less lye.

But customization can be done just for fine, such as a pumpkin soap which is just perfect for fall. If you want to make pumpkin soap, follow the standard soap making recipes discussed above, but mix pumpkin batter in with everything else. Vanilla blends extremely well with pumpkin, but don’t use more than a couple teaspoons. Otherwise, it will turn your soap brown.

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The result is a hearty, rich-smelling soap which works just great on your skin and leaves you smelling of fall.

5. Christmas Soap

In addition to all the wonderful benefits of homemade soap talked about above, soap can also serve as a great holiday gift. Once your friends and family realize the work you put in to make soap from scratch, and feel the benefits of the natural ingredients you used, they will appreciate you all the more.

This recipe offers a fantastic path to creating a red, white, and green soap perfect for the holiday season. And combining with it with peppermint just makes too much sense for a Christmas soap. Don’t worry about using oxide in your soup, too. Just remember that it’s a form of coloring, because soap is an art.

Featured photo credit: a- kang via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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