How to Make Homemade Soap
Homemade soap is one of my newest hobbies. I’ve always been a fan of bars of soap since it is a finely-crafted artisan product, and because there are so many different types to choose from. Homemade soap allows a person to explore many different creative possibilities. If you ever look up homemade soap online, you will find that there’s everything from sparkly and brightly colored soaps to rustic and resinous soaps.
Learning how to make homemade soap isn’t as hard as you would expect. It has to do with a little something called saponification. But how does it work, and what kind of materials do you need?
How to Make Homemade Soap
There are many different methods to make homemade soap. There’s the melt and pour process which requires you to get bars of soap and melt them down into new bars. While this is a great way for beginner soap makers to get started, there is limited creative freedom. This is because you’re not really making the soap from scratch.
I prefer the cold process which allows you to start from scratch with whatever ingredients you want. There is also the milling process which requires you to shave and melt down bars of cold process soap. This creates a harder and longer-lasting product, but it is more time consuming and harder to make.
The cold process requires oil, water, and sodium hydroxide (lye). Many people are afraid of working with lye because it is a caustic and potentially dangerous substance. But it is impossible to make a bar of soap without it. Also, if you handle this substance properly, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Soap forms when you blend water, lye, and oils together. Normally, oil and water can’t mix. But when you add lye to the mix, it forcibly mixes these two ingredients. This is known as saponification. This creates a smooth and creamy mixture. Once the oil and water mix, you can add other ingredients like herbs, essential oils, colors, and so on.
Many people like to add lavender, rosemary, goat milk, and other ingredients to their soap. Salt, clay, and dried flowers are also popular options. You can make your soap look, smell, and feel however you want, depending on how you make it. Some of the most popular oils used in soap are palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and castor oil. These are all very moisturizing for your skin.
Some like to use tea tree oil to clarify the skin or lavender oil to promote calmness. It is important to make sure that all your ingredients are balanced in your soap recipe. Otherwise, the soap might be too oily, too full of lye, and so on. Once you create your soap mixture, you have to pour it into a mold and let it sit for about 24 hours.
This will allow the mixture to harden. You can then take the soap out of the mold and admire your work. You will have to cut the loaf of soap into bars, but this may not be necessary if you use smaller molds. Once you cut it, you need to wait about three days to a week before you can use the soap. This is known as the curing process.
It will harden the soap and enhance its colors. Making soap may take some trial and error, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a very rewarding hobby.