Monday, December 15, 2014

DIY Homemade Soap



Hi Everyone! I'm super excited to share this post with you today on DIY homemade soap :)

There's a lot of information bombarding us about eating right, and how important what we put into our bodies is. A lot of us will buy into (at least somewhat) the importance of buying certain fruits and vegetables as organic; and that we'd rather our food be non-GMO when given the option. But how often do we treat what we put ON our body the same way we treat what we put IN our body? This is something I think about frequently. Anything you use on your skin will get absorbed into your body-- and do you really want to absorb chemicals X, Y, and Z with names you can hardly pronounce? I know I don't. 

Over the past several months I've begun to make transformations in the products I use in my hair and on my body. I've been using a bar shampoo and conditioner from Lush that is made with fresh organic ingredients (and not to mention they have an awesome commitment to sustainability!); an organic coconut oil cocoa butter moisturizer from Forever Eden Organics (local to Southern MD!) on my face; and now, I'm using my own homemade soap. Let me just say that less is more-- I've noticed such a difference in my hair and skin by using products where I know every.single.ingredient on the packaging. I don't use any other hair products anymore, and yet my hair is soft, shiny, and voluminous and I have no need to apply anything artificial; my face is clearer (who would have though putting an oil on your face would prevent acne??); and my skin is so soft and smooth. 

Anyway, enough ranting about how awesome it feels to rid yourself of beauty products saturated with chemicals-- I'm sure your wondering how you can make your own homemade soap! It's super easy.

You will need some equipment:
- Scale. A digital one works best. I purchased the Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale from Amazon.
- Immersion blender. I purchased the Proctor-Silex 59738 Hand Blender from Amazon (which actually had reviews from others who bought it for soapmaking!).
- Medium to large non-aluminum pan. One with tall sides works best, just in case anything splashes.
- Large non-aluminum bowl or pitch. Hard plastic works well too.
- Long-handled plastic spoon
- Household dishwashing gloves
- Safety glasses
- Apron or old clothes
- Old newspaper or cardboard to use as a work surface to contain the mess
- Soap mold. This can be an actual soap mold,  or you can use washed milk / OJ cartons. 

Next you'll need to purchase the soap supplies. In order to make soap, well soapy, you need lye. Lye is the essential chemical needed to saponify oil to make soap. Lye can be tough to find because people have used it for bad reasons. Lucky for us-- we have the internet! I purchased my lye and essential oils from Bramble Berry. You have to digitally sign a waiver to purchase the lye, but it's not a big deal. I will say, though, that it was weird getting something in the mail that had a scull and crossbones on it. 

Being a "Safety Steve"!

For the recipe I'm going to show you, you'll need the following ingredients:
- 72 oz olive oil
- 6 oz castor oil
- 24-28 oz water
- 12 oz lye
- dried rosemary

Ingredients!

Once you have all your equipment and supplies, and are wearing your safety gear, you're ready to begin! 

First thing you'll probably want to do is open a window before your start mixing the lye. It has a very strong smell to it that you don't want to breath in. 

1. Measure out 24-28 oz of water and place it into the large bowl or pitcher. Set the pitch in the sink.

2. Weigh out 12 oz of lye. Be sure to adjust your scale for the weight of the container you are measuring the lye in.

3. Carefully pour the lye into the water. Using the long-handled spoon, gently stir until the lye is dissolved into the water. A thermal reaction will be occurring between the water and the lye. The solution will get very hot and will also emit fumes (hopefully you opened the window!).

Lye-Water Mixture

4. Weigh the olive oil, coconut oil (will be a solid unless the temperature of the room is greater than 74 deg), and castor oil and place them into the pan on low heat until the coconut oil is melted, then remove from the heat. 

5. When the outside of the lye container is comfortable to touch and the oils are warm (not hot), you can begin mixing the two (here's where the immersion blender comes in).

6. Pour the lye-water solution into the oils and stir it a bit with the long-handled spoon. Without turning the immersion blender on yet, immerse it in the mixture down to the bottom of the pan. 

7. Turn the blender on and slowly circulate it around the circumference of the pan. Keep blending. The mixture will soon begin to become more opaque and thicken. When the mixture is the consistency of runny pudding and part of the mix trailed across the surface leaves a visible trace you can stop blending. 

Mixing the Ingredients

8. Now it's time to add the essential oils! Pour them into the mixture, along with the dried rosemary, and give it a final whirl to blend it all together.

9. Pour your soap into the mold. 

Soap in the mold

10. The next day your soap should be firm enough to unmold and cut into individual bars. I recommend still using the gloves because the soap could be a bit caustic yet. 

11. Leave the bars cure for at least three weeks.


I'd love to hear how your soap turns out :) Leave me a comment below telling me about your DIY soapmaking experience! Also, feel free to leave a comment or send me a message if you have any specific questions.

Soapmaking is a lot of fun, and you'll feel good knowing you made something that's good for your body.

AK