All posts by Taylor

Starting with Soap – Day 10

Finished Tamanu Oil Soap
Finished Tamanu Oil Soap

The next luxury oil that I wanted to feature is Tamanu Oil. Tamanu Oil is amazing to work with in lotions and creams. It has been used in many formulations designed to soothe and hydrate irritated skin. I am also partial to the butter pecan ice cream scent Tamanu Oil has. It has a phenomenal odor that is just scrumptious! If you haven’t tried Tamanu Oil, I highly recommend it.

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

In past experiments I have conducted, many naturally scented fixed oils loose their scent when converted into soap. Virgin Coconut Oil is one such oil. You can imagine my worry as I made this soap. While the butter pecan scent in not as intense as it is in the oil, it is still in the finished soap and I think it makes the soap smell wonderful and clean! Want to know the best part? No fragrance or essential oil required!

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Palm Kernel Oil
Tamanu Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
113 grams Coconut Oil
170 grams Olive Oil
142 grams Palm Kernel Oil
28 grams Tamanu Oil
67 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
4 oz Coconut Oil
6 oz Olive Oil
5 oz Palm Kernel Oil
1 oz Tamanu Oil
2.38 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
25% Coconut Oil
37.50% Olive Oil
31.25% Palm Kernel Oil
6.25% Tamanu Oil
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Now to make soap. Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Safety first!

Waiting for materials to cool.
Waiting for materials to cool.

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and prepare my mold during this time.  (Some days I might even have time to make myself a cup of tea and listen to the radio.) This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 100°F-110°F, add your lye solution to your oils.  Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace. (Your mixture will morph from the beautiful green color to this alarming brown-orange color. This is normal. The color will return to a soft green in about 12 hours.)

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk not cooked custard. That is pretty fluid!

Ready to pour into the mold
Ready to pour into the mold

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. I like to use cardboard boxes that I have cut up under my soap so I don’t damage my shelves. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! Let us know if you want a pack.

Taylor

Finished Soap in Mold
Finished Soap in Mold
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Starting with Soap – Day 9

Finished Beeswax Soap
Finished Beeswax Soap

Today I wanted to work with what can be a rather finicky material, Beeswax.  Why is Beeswax finicky? Well, it is extremely temperature sensitive and we recommend no more that 0.5 ounce per pound of fats. That is a tiny amount!

While Beeswax contributes this amazingly creamy sensation, it can do some strange things to your soap. A tiny amount can help you make a harder bar but the more Beeswax you add, the more spongy your soap becomes. Why? Beeswax is really high in unsaponifiable material. The more unsaponifiable material there is, the more it affect the texture. This is a great example of where less is more.

Weighing Coconut Oil
Weighing Coconut Oil

Beeswax can also be a bit of a lather killer. For this reason, I will be using both Palm Kernel Oil and Coconut Oil because I want lots of lather. Remember that Palm Kernel Oil and Coconut Oil can make a hard bar. To offset that, I will be using lots of Olive Oil. Let’s go make soap!

Ingredients
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Palm Kernel Oil
Beeswax
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
113 grams Coconut Oil
184 grams Olive Oil
142 grams Palm Kernel Oil
14 grams Beeswax
67 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
4 oz Coconut Oil
6.5 oz Olive Oil
5 oz Palm Kernel Oil
0.5 oz Beeswax
2.35 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
25% Coconut Oil
40.62% Olive Oil
31.25% Palm Kernel Oil
3.12% Beeswax
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Now to make soap. Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Safety first!

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 100°F-110°F, add your lye solution to your oils.

Heating Oils (Make sure your beeswax melts all the way!)
Heating Oils (Make sure your beeswax melts all the way!)

Remember that Beeswax is far better behaved when you use lower temperatures. You will also get a smoother texture if you use lower temperatures. One thing that is a little hard about making a Beeswax soap is that your oil mixture will get hazy and cloudy and it will STILL be too hot! There will be a little voice in your head screaming that you either need to make soap right now or reheat your oils. Ignore it. It will make you crazy and more antsy than being a teenager waiting for a date but do your best not to worry or pace while you wait. (It is super hard, I know. Guess who ended up walking laps around the building…)

Cooled Oils, Ready to make soap
Cooled Oils, Ready to make soap

Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace. Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk not cooked custard. That is pretty fluid!

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. I like to use cardboard boxes under my soap so I don’t damage my shelves. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. We can send some to you for free! (I like to tape them next to the recipe in my trusty notebook. It is super helpful!)

Taylor

Mixed Soap
Mixed Soap

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow! It get thick very fast!
Wow! It gets thick very fast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beeswax soap in Mold
Beeswax soap in Mold
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Starting with Soap – Day 8

Finished Soap
Finished Soap

I have so much fun making soap and using different luxury oils. It can be quiet the addicting hobby! Which soaps have you made? Which one has been your favorite so far? I want to know!

It is really hard for me to choose favorites but so far I think I have enjoyed the lanolin soap (Day 6) and the soap with both Palm Kernel Oil and Coconut Oil (Day 5). Remember, it is still a little early to pass judgement just yet. We still have a few more luxury oils to go!

Weighed Oils
Weighed Oils

Today’s luxury oil is Emu Oil. There are many stories of how Emu Oil has aided dry skin. While I don’t know how valid those claims are, it certainly makes an excellent soap. Try this oil for yourself. I think it will surprise and delight you.

 

Ingredients
Palm Kernel Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Emu Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
170 grams Olive Oil
142 grams Palm Kernel Oil
113 grams Coconut Oil
29 grams Emu Oil
67 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Olive Oil
5 oz Palm Kernel Oil
4 oz Coconut Oil
1 oz Emu Oil
2.38 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Olive Oil
31.25% Palm Kernel Oil
25% Coconut
6.25% Emu Oil
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Making Lye Solution
Making Lye Solution

Now to make soap. Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. If your Emu Oil has been sitting for a while, I like to give it a good shake so I know the stearines are evenly distributed. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water.  Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Safety first!

Adding Lye Solution to Oils
Adding Lye Solution to Oils

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 110°F-130°F, add your lye solution to your oils. (Because Emu Oil is prone to fractionation, you will want to make sure everything has completely melted. Otherwise you have get white dots in your soap.) Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace.

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk not cooked custard. That is pretty fluid!

Soap in Mold
Soap in Mold

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. I like to use cardboard boxes under my soap so I don’t damage my shelves. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! Let us know if you want a pack.

Taylor

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Starting with Soap – Day 7

Finished Soap
Finished Sea Buckthorn and Avocado Soap

The magic of soapmaking never ceases to amaze me. As a soapmaker, I think I get to make some of the most fantastic items with some incredible oils from around the world. One thing that I find really keeps the wonder is how each luxury oil can have such a big influence on what the finished bar is like. Some are super emollient and luxurious, others produce crazy bubbles and yet others produce beautiful colors. Today I wanted to share how simple changes in your soap formulation can cause spectacular color to form. Best of all, it is done naturally!

Weighed Oils
Weighed Oils

Today’s luxury oil is our Sea Buckthorn Oil. Now because the color of Sea Buckthorn Oil is so vibrant and intense, I am not going to use an entire ounce. That would just be way too potent. It also allows us to add a second luxury oil because we will be using so little of the Sea Buckthorn Oil.

Mixing Lye Solution
Mixing Lye Solution

I decided on using Avocado Oil. Avocado Oil has a fair amount of unsaponifiable material in it, making it gentle and luxurious feeling. After making this soap, you will quickly see why Avocado is a favorite among formulators for baby products. It is that amazing. Just wow.

 

Ingredients
Olive Oil
Palm Kernel Oil
Coconut Oil
Avocado Oil
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Water
Equipment
Scale
Microwave Safe Container
Spoons
Pipettes
Thermometer
Immersion Blender

 

Recipe:

Recipe in Grams
170 grams Olive Oil
142 grams Palm Kernel Oil
113 grams Coconut Oil
26 grams Avocado Oil
3 grams Sea Buckthorn Oil
68 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Olive Oil
5 oz Palm Kernel Oil
4 oz Coconut Oil
0.9 oz Avocado Oil
0.1 oz Sea Buckthorn Oil
2.38 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Olive Oil
31.25% Palm Kernel Oil
25% Coconut Oil
5.62% Avocado Oil
0.62% Sea Buckthorn Oil
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Adding Lye Solution to Oils
Adding Lye Solution to Oils

Now to make soap. Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. Remember that Sea Buckthorn Oil has a very intense color. While I have not had it color my skin permanently, I have found that it can take a little to clean up. This is where Windex® comes to the rescue. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Safety first!

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 110°F, add your lye solution to your oils. (Remember to pour the lye solution into your oils slowly. We want to minimize any splashing both for the sake of safety and for clean up.) Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace.

Pouring Soap into Mold
Pouring Soap into Mold

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk. That is pretty fluid! Take a break and fill a glass with some water. If any oil has risen to the surface during that time, you know it needs a little more mixing.

Soap in Mold
Soap in Mold

After pouring your soap into your mold, allow your soap to sit  undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! Just let us know you want a package and we will stick them in your next order.

Taylor

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Starting with Soap – Day 6

Finished Soap
Finished  Lanolin Soap

Now that we have made our first several batches of soap and talked about why we choose certain “backbone” oils, let’s get into the really fun stuff. There are many different oils that you can choose to be your luxury oil. Each one will make your soap unique. Today I wanted to start with one of my personal favorites. Let’s get started!

Weighed Oils
Weighed Oils

One of my all time favorite luxury oils is Lanolin. Lanolin soaps are just incredible. Lanolin is high in unsaponifiable waxy esters. It is these very waxy esters that give lanolin soap a very conditioning feel. After washing with a lanolin soap, many people comment on how it feels like they have already applied a light, non-greasy lotion. I find lanolin soaps are very popular with people who wash their hands frequently and those who dislike applying lotion. It is a win-win situation for all!

 

Ingredients
Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Lanolin
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
28 grams Lanolin
63 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  Lanolin
2.21 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% Lanolin
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Mixing Lye Solution
Mixing Lye Solution

Now to make soap. Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. Lanolin can get a little sticky and be difficult. I like to warm my container of lanolin so it is in a slightly molten stage. It makes weighing it out and clean up much easier. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Safety first!

Adding Lye Solution to Oils
Adding Lye Solution to Oils

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 100°F-110°F, add your lye solution to your oils. (Remember, lanolin is a temperature sensitive ingredient. Using lower temperatures results in happier soap fairies and smoother soap.) Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace.

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk. That is pretty fluid!

Pouring Soap into Mold
Pouring Soap into Mold

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! Isn’t that awesome?

Taylor

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Starting with Soap – Day 5

Finished Soap
Finished Soap

We have made a few batches of soap together already. Are you having fun? If you have any questions, let us know. We are here to help you succeed. Today I wanted to talk about when we would shift around our 6-5-4 numbers and why. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

I wanted to make soap with both Coconut Oil and Palm Kernel Oil. Both make hard bars of soap and both contribute amazing amounts of lather. This soap will be like a lather power bar. We run into issues if we use 6 oz of Coconut Oil and 5 oz of Palm Kernel Oil and vice versa. Why?

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

Well, the bar gets so hard that we can use the edges of our soap to shave with. Ouch! Who would have thought you could ditch a razor completely? Because those super hard and sharp edges are not desirable, we are going to use 6 oz of Olive Oil. This helps buffer how hard the bar of soap gets. The nice thing about using so much Olive Oil is that not only do the edges of our soap round nicely but we get a lot of dense creamy lather along with those big fluffy bubbles.

Measuring Water
Measuring Water

Again I will be using 1 oz of Shea Butter as our luxury oil. It is a wonderful oil and while I am not trying to ignore other fabulous luxury oils, I think keeping your first few batches relatively similar allows you to choose which “base” oils you like the most and see how they affect your soap. From there it is easier to choose the luxury oils you enjoy the most. You will have already established what you like.

 

Ingredients
Palm Kernel 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
142 grams Palm Kernel Oil
113 grams Coconut Oil
170 grams Olive Oil
29 grams Shea Butter
67 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
5 oz Palm Kernel Oil
4 oz Coconut Oil
6 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
2.37 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
31.25% Palm Kernel Oil
25% Coconut Oil
37.5% Olive Oil
6.25% Shea Butter
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Mixing Lye Solution
Mixing Lye Solution

Now for the fun stuff. Weigh your oils into a microwave safe container. While the oils are heating in the microwave, weigh out your lye and mix with your water. Remember to add your lye to your water, not the other way around. Safety first!

Heating Oils
Heating Oils

Allow your two mixtures to cool. I like to put away my oils and set up my mold during this period. This helps keep my counters clean and my distractions to a minimum. When your oils are around 110°F to 130°F, add your lye solution to your oils. Using your immersion blender, mix your soap until you reach a light trace.

Adding Lye Solution to Oils
Adding Lye Solution to Oils

Remember, trace doesn’t denote a viscosity, it just means that we aren’t seeing the oils float to the top and separate out. Often we pour our soap into the mold when it is the viscosity of whole milk. That is pretty fluid!

Mixing Soap
Mixing Soap

Allow your soap to sit in the mold undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Then cut into bars and place out on a shelf where they can dry. You can use your soap immediately but it will last longer if you allow it to dry completely. A great aid in determining if your soap has fully dried are our Cure Cards. The best part is you can have them included in qualifying order for free! Sweet!

Soap in Mold
Soap in Mold

 

Taylor

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Mandatory Materials – A clean workspace

There are many things I recommend that any cosmetic crafter have available. Some of those include a good scale, a notebook and a large supply of paper towels. All of these items make life so much easier. But there is one thing that I forget to mention that I often take for granted – a clean workspace.

You may be wondering why I am mentioning this today. Well, our test kitchen has been commandeered for testing some new items we will be unveiling in the next few weeks. (You will want to watch the catalog for those sweet items.) So we have been making lots of soap and other products seeing what is up the the MMS quality standard and what isn’t.

It also means that when I stepped into the kitchen this morning to continue our Starting with Soap series, I had a sink stacked high with dishes, messy counters and oils waiting to be put away. Not a great working space. To my chagrin, I spent most of my day cleaning, putting away and scrubbing.

This is a good reminder that two minutes now saves 20+ minutes later. Wipe up spills, wash equipment and put supplies away. You will like your workspace a lot more and it is HUGE in reducing stress when your workspace is clean.

Today I am leaving with a clean blog kitchen so we can start fresh on Monday. I hope to see you there! In the mean time, have a fabulous weekend and a wonderful Mother’s Day.

Taylor

 

 

 

Psst! Send us a picture of your clean workspace for a chance to win some goodies for you to play with. Submissions must be submitted by 6:00 PM Mountain Time, Sunday. Winners will be notified Monday.

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Starting with Soap – Day 4

Finished Soap
Finished Soap

Last week we made our first batch of soap. Making your first batch of soap is exciting, overwhelming, terrifying and addicting all at the same time. It is a very emotional process. Today, I wanted to make another batch of soap but I only wanted to change one ingredient. Are you ready?

Weighing Oils
Weighing Oils

I wanted to make soap using tallow instead of Hydrogenated Soybean Oil. Why? Each of us lives in different parts of the country or even parts of the globe. What is readily available to one is not to another. For some, tallow or even lard is easy to get and is inexpensive. It can also change your finished soap. Try it. The worst thing that can happen is that you like it. wink2

Making Lye Solution
Making Lye Solution

Again I will be using 6% excess fat. This way when we compare our finished soaps, they will have different oils but they will have similar percentages of excess fat.

 

Ingredients
Tallow
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 Tallow
142 grams Coconut Oil
113 grams Olive Oil
29 grams Shea Butter
65 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
177 mL Water
Recipe in Ounces
6 oz Tallow
5 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Olive Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
2.29 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
6 fl oz Water
Recipe in Percentages
37.5% Tallow
31.25% Coconut Oil
25% Olive Oil
6.25% Shea Butter
Q.S. Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Q.S. Water

 

Mixing Lye Solution and Oils
Mixing Lye Solution and Oils

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.

Ready to Mix
Ready to Mix

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.

Soap Ready for Mold
Soap Ready for 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.

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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Starting with Soap – Day 3

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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Starting with Soap – Day 2

Today we should have our basic equipment. Ideally this means you

Welcome to the open road of soap making!
Welcome to the open road of soap making!

have your goggles, scale, mixing container, spoon, immersion blender, gloves and a mold. If you have selected a box, milk carton or drawer organizer for your mold, the first thing we need to do is calculate how much soap our mold can hold.

To do this you will need a few things. Your mold, a tape measure, a notebook and a calculator. Using your tape measure, measure the inside of the mold. We will need the length, width and depth.

Measuring Drawer Organiser
Measuring Drawer Organizer

Now we just need to calculate the volume. My mold (drawer organizer) is 3″x8.5″x1.75″. To calculate for the volume, multiply all of the numbers together. Or if you want to keep things simple, use our volume calculator! This results for my mold is a volume of 44.63 cubic inches. Divide the total cubic inches by 44. For me, this is almost one. This means that my mold can only hold a batch of soap from 1 lb of oils.

Measuring Kleenex Box
Measuring Kleenex Box

If I used a Kleenex box where my measurements are 4.25″x4.25″x5″ my volume is 90.31 cubic inches. 90.31/44 is 2.05. This means my Kleenex box could hold a 2 lb fat batch. How cool is that? You can choose almost anything to be a mold. And now you know how much your mold can hold! No guessing required.

The other thing that needs to be discussed is safety. When I first started making soap, I was astonished to discover that sodium hydroxide are like micro bouncy balls on steroids. They bounce like crazy. They are also sensitive to static electricity. So what does this mean for you?

This means you should make soap in a clean working space with no distractions. Prevent children and pets from coming into your soaping area while you are working. Wearing gloves, goggles and even an apron are helpful when making soap. Even shirts with long sleeves are helpful. When you are done, make sure you wipe down the surfaces well. You want to clean up any spills or drips as soon as possible.

Now that the hard work is out of the way, we can start to plan the fun stuff. For your first several batches of soap, we recommend that you try several simple formulas that suit your budget and what is available to you. Some of us have easy access to tallow and lard. Others have easy access to sunflower oil. So how do you create a formulation? Well it is as easy as 6-5-4-1.

What do I mean by 6-5-4-1? Well, this is the break down of our recipe. We are using 16 oz or 1 lb of fat to create our recipe. Let’s start with our smallest number.

1 stands for 1 oz. This is the luxury oil that we use in our soap. This can be a variety of oils. These oils can be things like Shea Butter, Lanolin, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, Neem Oil or even Rosehip Oil. I recommend you choose your luxury oil first, the luxury oil will determine what oils you choose for the rest of your formulation.

The reason these are luxury oils is because a little goes a long way. Additionally some of these oils can be expensive. So how do we keep our pocket book happy and the practice of making handmade soap sustainable? We use specialty/luxury oils appropriately. Many people are surprised at how a little can go a long way. In the case of soap making, more is not always better. Often it is detrimental to the sustainability of soap making and the health of your pocket book.

Our next three amounts are interchangeable; within reason. I will explain why I rearrange these numbers during my next several posts. Typically I use Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (6 oz), Coconut Oil (5oz) and OIive Oil (4 oz) in my soap. My Hydrogenated Soybean Oil is used because it makes a light colored bar that is firm. It also helps keeps my costs reasonable. You can use things like Lard, Tallow, or even Palm Oil in place of Hydrogenated Soybean Oil. You are looking for inexpensive oils that create a firm bar.

Coconut Oil give that big fluffy lather that we all associate with getting clean. Have a bar of soap that bubbles a lot? It probably contains Coconut Oil. Not wanting to use Coconut Oil? Try Palm Kernel Oil!

Last is the Olive Oil. This gives that dense creamy lather that we all know and love.  Other oils that contain high oleic fatty acids will be good alternatives to Olive Oil. Some of those alternatives can Rice Bran Oil, Sunflower Oil, Peanut Oil and even Safflower Oil.

Alright, I know you are on brain overload. So take a breath. When you are ready, go look in your cupboard for some oils you might want to use. We will meet back tomorrow and make our first batch of soap together!

Taylor

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