When you decide to make your own soap don't be tempted into being to adventurous by adding lots of different oils/butters, colours, botanicals and patterns. Although some photos of gorgeous looking soap might make you want to dive straight in I'd suggest choosing a simple basic recipe to start with - no colours, no additives, no superfatting, no pattern just basic soap with a basic aroma.
I suggest you start with gorgeous oils/butters like Coconut Oil, Shea Butter and Olive Oil that not only make a great, creamy skin loving soap but are economical to buy and easily sourced.
The equipment needed is very basic and found in your kitchen cupboards :
Plastic bucket for mixing your soap
Electric stick blender
Measuring jugs for oils and lye - you can never have enough of these
Measuring container for essential oils
Measuring spoon for colours
Stainless steel spoons
Long handled spoon
Moulds - silicon or wooden (baking sheets to line mould if using wood)
Sharp knife - for cutting finished soap
Kitchen roll and dishcloth
Double burner saucepan
Bowl filled with ice water
You need to be near a sink, cooker and have work space.
Ingredients : Makes approximately 1Kg of soap
Coconut Oil 328g
Shea Butter 280g
Olive Oil (Pomace) 328g
Water - distilled or spring 250g
Sodium Hydroxide * 130g
* This ingredient can give a nasty burn if it cones into contact with skin - stay safe and use with care. Always store in a sealed container marked with 'POISON' sign.
To Make : Work in a well ventilated room
Wearing rubber gloves and goggles weigh the water into one jug and the sodium hydroxide into another jug. Safely pour the sodium hydroxide into the water, stiring well until all has dissolved - always pour sodium hydroxide into the liquid, never the other way round as this can cause a volcano effect! You will notice the temperature of this rise to about 200F.
Place the jug into the bowl containing ice water.
Weigh your coconut oil and shea butter and place in double burner - melt.
Place olive oil into the mixing bowl. Once the two butters have melted pour onto the olive oil.
Allow the lye and the oils/butters to cool to between 90-110F
Using the long handled spoon stir the lye mixture into the melted oils/butters - stir. Place the stick blender into the mixture and blend until the mixture has emulsified. Continue to blend until trace has been achieved
Read blog What is trace in Soap Making
Add your essential oils and stir well.
Turn mixture into your mould.
Cover with towel or blanket to stop anything falling into the mixture and to incubate it.
Leave for 12-24hrs before turning out of the mould.
Leave your soap to mature for at least 6 weeks before using.
Cut with sharp knife, soap cutter or cheese wire.
If you are still worried about making your own soap please feel free come along to the Soap Making Workshops