Starting with Soap – Day 3 4


Finished Soap

Finished Soap

Today we will be making our first batch of soap. For our first batch of soap, I wanted to use Shea Butter as our luxury oil.  Shea Butter makes for a very nice soap. It adds conditioning and emollient properties. What does this mean for your skin? It means this soap feels super creamy and rich. And the best part of it all? You made it!

Weighing Oils

Weighing Oils

Now that we have decided on our luxury oil, it is time to determine to rest of our oils. I am fond of using Coconut Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and Olive Oil. These are all oils that are easy for me to get and I know they make a firm bar with lots of lather.

Making Lye Solution

Making Lye Solution

There is just one more thing we need to decide before we get started. The percentage of excess fat we will leave in this soap. Excess fat where we leave some extra fat that we don’t convert into soap. We do this to prevent the soap from having excess lye. Excess lye soaps can feel harsh to the skin. The excess fat contributes to the conditioning feeling.

Mixing Lye Solution and Oils

Mixing Lye Solution and Oils

The sweet spot is anywhere from 5% to 8% excess fat. Any more than that and we can struggle with our soap turning rancid or dreaded orange spots (DOS). Any less and the soap can be too harsh. I really like to use 6% excess fat. You can determine excess fat for yourself using our handy-dandy lye calculator! Let’s go make some soap!

 

Ingredients
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Shea Butter
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

 

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
170 grams Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
142 grams Coconut Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
29 grams Shea Butter
64 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
5 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
2.26 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
31.25% Coconut Oil
25% Olive Oil
6.25% Shea Butter
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Ready to Blend

Ready to Blend

Weigh the oils into a microwave safe container. Place into the microwave and heat. While the oils are heating, weigh the lye. Slowly add the lye to your container of water. DO NOT add water to your container of lye. The two chemicals reacting can cause a dangerous volcano. It is best to create good safety habits now, before you make a batch of soap that is 20 lbs in size.

Mixing Soap

Mixing Soap

For most soaps, you will want to mix your oils and lye solution when both are somewhere between 110°F to 130°F. We recommend having your oils and lye solution within 10°F of each other. In the winter when your soaping area is cooler, you will want to soap at higher temperatures. In the summer when your soaping area is warmer, you will want to soap at cooler temperatures. With the current weather we are having in Utah, I am soaping closer to 110°F to 115°F.

Mixing Soap

Mixing Soap

When your lye solution and oils are within the ideal temperature range, slowly pour the lye solution into the oils. Using either an immersion blender or a soap spoon, mix until you reach trace. Trace is when the raw soap has been mixed enough that oil will no longer rise to the surface when mixing has stopped. If you aren’t sure if you have achieved trace then stop mixing, go get a glass, fill it with water, do not drink it. Come back to your soap. Is oil floating on the surface? This short distraction will allow unmixed oil to rise to the surface.

Pouring Soap into Mold

Pouring Soap into Mold

Once trace is reached you can pour the soap into a mold. Allow the soap to sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. After the soap has been allowed to sit for up to 24 hours, you can unmold the soap and cut it. Arrange the cut bars of soap in an area where there is good air flow but where they will not be in the way. I like to put them on a sheet of cardboard. You are now ready for the curing process. The curing process is just allowing the soap to dry out, giving you a nice hard bar. You can use your soap immediately after cutting but it will not last as long as a fully cured bar.

Soap in the Mold

Soap in the Mold

A great way to determine if your bar has cured all the way is to use our Cure Cards! Did you know you can get them free in qualifying orders? How cool is that?!

Taylor

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About Taylor

I’m a twenty something happy, animal loving, curious experimenter. I love reaching back into history and trying old recipes for cosmetics or foods. I’m constantly asking “Why?” My curiosity has me trying new things. I love taking walks with my dog as well as staying at home to cuddle with the dog and my cats. Some of my favorite scents include Hinoki Wood, Rose Garden, Jasmine and Gladiator.


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4 thoughts on “Starting with Soap – Day 3

  • Tracy

    Thank you for having this series. I am new to cold process soap making and I appreciate the knowledge you share. With the 6-5-4-1 formula, is it possible to add an essential oil for fragrance, and if so, how would one determine how much to add?

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    • Tina

      Tracy,

      Yes! You can add a scenting oil to the mix. Please never exceed 3% unless you have good reason and know the safety of the scenting oil. This is one area in which more is not better.

      Welcome to the soapmaking world!
      Tina

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  • Joyce Blake

    Well after ruining a few cold process soap recipes, someone suggested I check out your site, lots of great information, I think I understand how it is all made a lot better now. I am going to try the recipe you supplied, but will remember to always run it through the lye calculator.
    Looking forward to learning more about this awesome craft.
    Thanks
    Joyce Blake

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    • Taylor Post author

      Joyce,

      Welcome! We are glad to have you here! If you need any help with your soaps, let us know. We are here to help!

      Cheers!
      Taylor

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