The need to make Soap

I have missed making soap! As you may know I have been in the middle of redoing my house, starting with popcorn ceiling removal. I am mentally downsizing, now having an empty nest and looking forward to a future of possibilities.

Tuesday was a day off from the day job and I opened the drawer of essential oils and began to play. I had been making batches of sake kasu soap for a company and had not had the chance to do other recipes. Now I had time and it was hard to focus on which soap I wanted to make. I thought ahead to the holidays and how my daughter had picked an apple rose fragrance with the hope that I would make soap for her. So I did.

Apple Rose

I have been seeing more and more elaborate recipes for soap and while I love the idea of being able to be all things chemist I simply can’t afford all the oils, babassu, meadowfoam, argan and so many more. I have been reading all the soapers who are waxing on the benefits of varying oils and herbs and I get it, I do. But for me, I want it simple and basic and between affordability and pretending to be an herbalist, I can’t and won’t. So, here again is my simple recipe for soap and it made both of the soaps you see using two different essential oils, natural clays, cocoa and some dried rose petals from my garden. The technique was mine.

Apple Rose Soap

Please read all safety issues concerning lye before making this or any cold process soap recipe!

Basic Soap Recipe

16 oz. Canola Oil
16 oz. Palm Oil (use a sustainable source, please!)
16 oz. Coconut Oil
6.9 oz. Lye
15.8 oz. distilled water
2 oz. essential fragrance oil
clays or micas for coloring

1) Safety glasses, glove, long sleeves, closed toe shoes. You think you won’t need them but you do.
2) Have all soaping materials ready to go: lined mold, 8 cup glass measuring cups, cups for mixing oils and clay, scale, thermometer, immersion blender, spatula, non-aluminum pan to melt oils, etc.
3) Measure the water. Add lye to the water, never the other way around!  You can keep the water on the scale, zero it out and add the lye to the water while measuring. Stir well taking precautions not to breathe the fumes. I use an 8 cup glass measuring cup, water, then lye and I put a glass plate on top and sit it where it can’t be bumped.
4) Measure and heat oils. 110 degrees is a good point and they should be within 5 degrees of the lye when you start the mixing process.
5) At the point where the two mixtures are within 5 degrees you can start blending. If you are using several colors you can take a tablespoon or two of the oil and mix it in a separate container with the color. Use a tiny whisk so that you don’t have lumps and go light to dark if mixing separate colors. (Grab a good you tube video-Soap Queen rules).
6) Add the lye mixture to your oils. Run it down the side of your immersion blender. You do this as you don’t want a lot of bubbles. Pulse lightly, stir, pulse. You are going to look for a light milkshake. Trace is when you lift the immersion blender out of the mix, touch the top of the oil mix and you have the very lightest circle from the blender. Don’t over blend or you will have little time to work with the trace.
7) Add your essential oil and do a quick pulse to blend followed by a light stir. You can now use this to add to your colored oils.
8) I leave the pouring to you. There are so many good techniques out there.
9) Some say to spritz the top of your mold with isopropyl alcohol to keep ash from forming. I dust with silver mica and wrap the mold in a towel and do my best to ignore the soap for 3 to 5 days.
10) Unwrap, remove from mold, slice it and put your soap on a rack (cookie sheet as an example) and let it cure for 4-6 weeks.

Chocolate Espresso Soap

Now go take a bath.

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