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:
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.
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.
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.
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