Now that we've got all the basic ingrediants down
Who's ready to make soap? I am! I am! First thing that we need to discuss, is SAFETY FIRST! When working with Lye, you need to wear gloves. Lye is caustic, and can give chemical burns. I would also recommend wearing long-sleeves, and goggles. If you happen to wear glasses like me, perfect! You are already wearing eye-protection. Oh, it can't be that bad, if I'm careful, I won't get burned. Yes, that is exactly what I thought. For a while I didn't use gloves, or roll my sleeves down, and I got burned for it. Not ER-bad burns, just little dots of skin where lye got splashed. Got you gloves on? Sleeves rolled-down, and glasses/goggles on? Great! Let's start!
First step, is to make or find a recipe. There are many wonderful recipes out there, and if you like to experiment, you can always make one yourself here. Here's a really nice place for recipes. Recipe Link
I know you hear all these terms 'Stearic acid' 'Lauric acid' 'Oleic acid' and the like. I didn't really know about it myself until I read this post. It explains it better than I could.
The Actual Soap-Making
Ready for the real soap-making? First weigh all your oils, and place them in a stainless steel pan. Heat on low, till you hit about 100 degrees. Set aside. Weigh milk and lye, and place frozen/slushy-like milk in a metal or glass bowl, and sprinkle your lye over top. Stir until dissolved, and check with thermometer. The lye and oil blend should be within 10 degrees of each other.
In our last soap post
we talked about a oils and their different properties in soap. In this post, we'll discuss additives and all that other fun stuff! Prepare for a long read, additives, like oils are almost uncountable. ;)
Additives are (big surprise) anything that you add to soap, that is not oil, lye or necessary liquids. There are many categories of additives. Exfoliants, dyes, salts, botanicals, and more. Check out more here.
Fine-ground Oatmeal, Fine-ground Pumice, Baking Soda, and Fine-ground Bamboo extract.
Walnut Shells, Jojoba beads, Sugar, Salt, Shredded Loofa sponge, Crushed Grape seeds, and Ground Pumpkin seeds.
Poppy seeds, Coffee grounds, Cranberry seeds, Loofa sponge, and Strawberry seeds.
Credit goes to the Soap Queen for the list above
There are a few more such as Rice, Barley, and Almonds.
Exfoliants remove dead skin, which helps your live layer of skin underneath look cleaner and healthier, along with giving soap a scrubby texture.
Gentle exfoliants are best used on sensitive areas like the face. If you are looking for a scrubby feel, medium or large exfoliants will meet your needs better, since the gentle exfoliants mentioned above are ground so fine that they are reduced to dust.
Medium and large exfoliants can be used for body or hands, but are a bit scratchy to be used on the face.
Dyes fall into two categories, synthetic and natural. Synthetic dyes are made in a laboratory, and is the smaller category of dyes. Natural dyes however, range from micas and oxides, to herbs and charcoal.
I don't have much experience with dyes yet, but the following link will show you how to get started. Click me!
As the name explains, botanicals are herbs or extracts that can be put into your cold-process soap to give scents and/or vitamins. I've composed a list of botanicals which is by no means complete.
Almonds, Anise, Basil, Barley, Bay, Calendula petals, Catnip leaves, Chamomile flowers, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coconut, Coffee, Comfrey, Fennel, Grapefruit peel, Juniper berries, Kelp, Lavender buds, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, Lemon peel,
Lime peel, Luffa sponge, Madder root, Majoram, Marsh Mallow root, Oatmeal,
Orange peel, Peppermint leaves, Plantain (the herb, not the banana-looking thing), Poppy seeds, Rose petals, Rosemary, Safflower powder, Sage leaves,
Spearmint leaves, Thyme, Yarrow flower.
Scents, like dyes, come in the forms of synthetic and natural. Synthetic scents are the ones that you usually buy at the store, with scents that you can't usually get in nature. E.g Almond biscotti, Cotton candy, Beach breeze, Fresh linen, etc.
Natural scents come in the form of Essential oils. Some people cannot tolerate fragrances, but soap can be just as easily made without them. It does take a lot of oil to scent soap, 0.5-1.0 oz, by weight, per pound of soap.
I had to make an 'extras' category for those that just didn't fit in any other categories, but deserve an honorable mention.
Milk, Honey, and Beer.
Milk has wonderful properties in soap. Goats milk soap is great for conditions such as eczema, dry skin, and acne. The cream is excellent for moisturizer, which really helps in the winter months when many people's hands, including yours truly, get chapped and red. There are many vitamins and minerals in milk, such as vitamin A, D, B6, C, Selenium, Zinc, Phosphorus, and magnesium.
NOTE: I recommend raw milk, as a feel it is superior to the homoginized, cooked, standardized stuff from the store.
Honey is a Humectant or Hydroscopic, and helps naturally moisturize, thus helping dry or damaged skin. Honey is also an antimicrobial, and helps with acne. It contains Antioxidants which helps the skin look younger, and protects from sun damage. It also adds a bit of lather to the soap.
Beer contains skin softening amino acids, and the yeast is an antibacterial agent which helps with acne. Soap containing beer has a nice lather. It also has vitamin B along with other vitamins that help moisturize.
So you wanna make your own soap, huh?
Well it couldn't be easier! In this 3-part blog will show you exactly how to make your own Goats milk (or cows/sheep/nut/coconut/yak/horse/soy/etc. milk) soap. The first step is choosing the oil that you want to make soap out of. We use a combination of Olive oil, Coconut oil, Canola oil, Shea butter, Grapeseed oil, Vegetable oil and Lard to make ours. We hope to add a few more like: Sweet Almond oil, Rice Bran oil, Meadowfoam oil, and Castor oil. I probably left out a few, because the types of oils that you can choose are almost unlimited. I'll run you through the few that we use.
Olice oil is a soft/hard oil, meaning that soap made from olive oil will start out soft, but will cure into a nice firm bar over time. Olive oil is a humectant which will attract moisture to the skin. It also is good for sensitive skin, and contains vitamins A, E and antioxidants. Olive oil has nice conditioning properties, and has slippery lather with not much foam.
Coconut oil is a hard oil, which means that the resulting soap will harden faster and produce a firmer bar. Coconut oil has antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidants. Coconut oil is good for superfatting, and helps nourish and moisturize the skin. Coconut oil produces soap with big fluffy bubbles, and good cleansing.
Shea butter is a hard oil like Coconut oil, but produces smaller, creamy lotion-y like bubbles. Shea butter is a great moisturizer, and contains vitamins A, E, and C. Shea also helps aging.
Canola oil contains vitamin E, an antioxidant, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which helps with pre-mature aging, and dry skin. Soap made with Canola oil has a nice dense creamy lather. However if used alone, (like all soft oils) the finished soap will be too soft.
Lard is rendered pork fat–HEY! Stop scrolling and read this. I know 'rendered pork fat' makes you think 'bacon grease' but Lard is wonderful for soap. And yes. I know what I'm doing. Lard is a hard fat, and produces a firm bar with a creamy conditioning lather. Lard tends to make soap a nice pretty white too, so if you like nice white, firm bars, Lard is for you!
Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil is a soft oil, and results in a soft bar of soap with mild cleansing and medium lather. Grape seed oil has antioxidants, and is good for sensitive skin.
The Vegetable oil that you pick up at Walmart in really Soybean oil. We got this to make cheap soap, but as soon as we run out, we are omitting it from our recipes. The quality of Veggie oil is just is a bit lower than I like in soap. Soy bean oil, however, have a nice creamy conditioning lather, and if added with Palm, or Coconut oil, can help make a firmer bar.
Stay tuned for Part 2!