Ways & How

How to Make Cold Process Honey Soap

How to Make Cold Process Honey Soap

Honey is a humectant, a substance that helps other things retain moisture. Therefore, it is an ideal ingredient for moisturizing products, as it keeps skin hydrated and soothes it as well. This natural ingredient may not retain its beneficial properties once exposed to high heat however. If you're thinking of buying bath products with honey, make sure that the manufacturing process happens at temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can forgo commercial options and learn how to make cold process honey soap.

  1. Gather the following materials: rubber gloves, apron or protective clothing, plastic goggles, face mask (surgical masks will do), stick blender or heat-proof stirrer, thermometer, heat-resistant stirring spoons or wooden spoons, spatula, measuring cup, spoons and cups, a large and small bowl, medium-sized glass jar, a scale, soap molds, parchment paper, lye, various oils (e.g., olive, coconut, and palm), and an essential oil (optional).

  2. Make sure that your work area is bright and well-ventilated.

    You should also have enough space to move around comfortably and lay out your materials and finished product. If you have kids in the house, they should not join in, as the process can be dangerous.

  3. You can experiment with various oil bases. However, make sure to use an amount of lye proportional to the type of oils you use. Here's a combination you can try: 34% olive, 28%, coconut, 19% palm, 5% castor, 9% sunflower, 5% cocoa butter. To find out how much lye you should be using, refer to lye calculator.

  4. Prepare the soap molds by lining them with parchment. Cover with a large towel or tray to keep foreign objects from landing inside while you make the soap mixture.

  5. Measure out water and all other ingredients. You can use these amounts: 34 ounces of coconut oil, 48 ounces of olive oil, 25 ounces of distilled water, 11.9 ounces of lye, a tablespoon of honey, 2 additional tablespoons of oil, and 20 drops of lavender oil (optional).

  6. When measuring lye (sodium hydroxide), make sure you wear goggles, a long-sleeved top, surgical mask, and rubber gloves so the chemical doesn't get on your skin and burn you. You may also want to keep some vinegar nearby to neutralize it in case of accidents.

  7. Pour the water in the glass bowl. You can put this bowl on top of a damp towel or in your kitchen sink near a window before you add in the lye to catch the splashes or drips. Make sure that the water is cool or not warmer than room temperature.

  8. Slowly pour in the lye. This will result in bubbling similar to a “volcanic” reaction, so be careful and add it in gradually to keep the bubbling to a minimum. You can turn your face away to avoid the fumes. Then, stir the mixture with a long wooden spoon until it’s completely dissolved and place it in a safe location. Let it cool to 90-125 degrees Fahrenheit.

  9. While waiting for the mixture to cool, put in all the oils (except any essential oils) in a stainless steel, enamel, or ceramic pot assigned for soap-making purposes. Never use any aluminum for this project. Put the pot on the stove and heat it on low until the oils reach 90-125 degrees Fahrenheit.

  10. When both mixtures are at similar temperatures, you can combine them. To speed up the cooling process, immerse the pot in a basin or sink filled with ice water.

  11. Use a stick blender and a stirrer to mix. Stop every now and then to check the consistency. When it resembles a thick pudding or when the mixture leaves a pattern on the surface of the solution when you drizzle some of it, it means that the batch has reached the “trace” stage.

  12. You can now add in the honey, the extra oils (optional), and a fragrance (also optional). Mix well.

  13. Pour the soap mixture into the molds and smooth with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

  14. Pick up your molds and repeatedly drop them onto the table to remove air bubbles. Then, cover the molds with their designated covers, a thick blanket, or a towel to trap heat and effectively insulate them to facilitate the saponification process. Leave for 24-36 hours.

  15. Once done, remove the blocks of soap from the molds and cut them into bars using a ruler and knife. Some people use a fine piece of string to do this, which you can also try.

  16. Let the bars cure in open air on brown or wax paper for 4 weeks. Turn them once in a while so the curing occurs evenly.

One crucial step in the process of how to make cold process honey soap is checking the soap to ensure it has cured adequately. One way is to touch the bar to the tip of your tongue. If you feel a “zing,” it's not ready and needs further curing. Once it’s done, enjoy the fruits of your hard work.


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