Ways & How

How to Make Homemade Soap

How to Make Homemade Soap

For beginners, learning how to make homemade soap seems fairly intimidating, especially since most soap-making tutorials carry strict warnings about the dangers of caustic soda or lye. The rest of the soap-making process is actually fairly easy, but since soap is basically made of fat and lye, the volatile nature of lye makes it rather delicate. Thus, some people who would like to dabble in soap making for the fun of it can be turned off by trying. Luckily, there is a shortcut to making homemade soap. It does away with the need to handle lye. This method, which is called the melt-and-pour technique,is somewhat like using a cake mix to make your batter. You still have to do most of the work and you do get to customize the soap formulation. It still uses caustic soda or lye, but in a stabilized form. Here’s the step-by-step approach to making homemade soap using the melt-and-pour technique:

  1. The secret to performing this technique is to use an unscented and uncolored soap base. The soap base has already been pre-processed, meaning that the saponification of fat has been done (thus eliminating the need for raw caustic soda or lye).

    All you need to do is add essential oils and coloring agents to create your customized soap blend. You can buy soap bases from most craft stores. There are also a number of online retailers.

  2. Choose the essential oil that you want to use. Essential oils are quite different from fragrance oils; essential oils are basically concentrates that maintain the benefits of certain botanical extracts, while fragrance oils just provide scent. For example, while tea tree oil has anti-acne and antibacterial properties, tea tree fragrance oil just smells good; it doesn’t help heal skin breakouts. Patchouli, chamomile and lavender are said to induce relaxation. Sweet almond and avocado have great moisturizing powers while grapefruit oil is said to relieve anxiety or depression. We would suggest using just one kind of essential oil, but of course you can mix them if you wish. Do test the blend to make sure that you like the final scent first. If you wish, you can even distill your own oils; there’re plenty of tutorials on the internet on how to make essential oils.

  3. To add color to your finished soap bars, you can use ordinary food coloring. Gel-based food coloring agents typically produce the most vibrant colors, but you can also use powders or liquids, of course. You may want to coordinate your food coloring with your essential oils; you can do a straightforward match (like yellow dye for lemon oil), or you can be creative if that’s what you prefer.

  4. Aside from the soap base, the essential oil/s, and the food coloring, you will need the following: a double broiler big enough for your soap base (the yield of your soap base is generally 1:1 because the essential oils and the food coloring do not really take up much room), mixing spoons, and soap molds. For molding, you can use recycled yogurt cups, shaped ice trays, or even silicone muffin cups.

  5. Melt a block of soap base in the double broiler, making sure to avoid burning the soap. Once the soap base is completely melted, carefully measure about half an ounce of essential oil/s and a few drops of coloring. Remember to add just a little then top off as needed. You can also add other ingredients like oatmeal (great for exfoliating), honey, cocoa butter, or shea butter for a more luxurious bar.

  6. Once everything is well mixed, turn off the heat and pour the soap into your molds. Leave the filled molds in a place where they can cool or rest undisturbed for several hours.

  7. When the soap hardens, remove it from the mold and wrap it in wax paper until it is ready to be used.

Once you have learned how to make homemade soap, you can get creative by playing around with different mixtures. These homemade soaps can make a great personalized gift for someone, especially if you know his or her favorite scent or essential oil.


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