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Herbal Organic Soap Making Instructions
Whether you choose to buy them or make them yourself, organic herbal soaps can make great gifts for yourself or for someone else. You may choose to fill a Christmas stocking with Buck Ridge’s Handmade Mint Chocolate Soap or Pina Colada Bars, or you could get your hands dirty - so to speak - and give making your own a try. If you’re feeling crafty, here’s what you need to know about making your own organic herbal soaps and customizing them to make sure that they are the perfect choice for you.
Why make your own herbal soap?
These days, there are some great organic soaps out there, but making your own can be an enjoyable way to express your creative side. You can also tailor-make your version, whether you want an unscented bar or one customized with your own choice of organic herbs, essential oils, or flowers.
Equipment needed to make herbal organic soap
Heavy-duty plastic or stainless-steel container for the lye/hydrochloric acid solution
Mixing bowl made from either heatproof glass, heavy-duty plastic or stainless steel
Goggles and gloves
Spoons and spatulas
2.5lb soap mold or individual silicone molds; you could also use an empty milk carton
IMPORTANT: Don’t use non-stick or aluminum equipment as these materials can react negatively with the lye.
This should make around 8 bars of soap.
3.85 oz. your choice of herbal infusion, cooled
7.85 z. sodium hydroxide (lye)
7 oz. organic coconut oil
12 oz. organic olive oil
3.5 oz. sweet almond oil or organic sunflower oil
4 oz. organic kokum butter, cocoa butter, or shea butter
1.5 oz organic castor oil
Organic essential oils, herbs, or flowers (your choice and optional)
What to do
1. Put your gloves and goggles on and place your herbal infusion into your container.
2. Weigh your lye in a small cup and then sprinkle it into the infusion, stirring well until it is completely dissolved.
3. Allow the lye solution to sit for around 30 minutes or until its temperature is between 100° and 115° F.
4. Melt the butter and coconut oil and combine with the other oils. These should be at a temperature of between 95° and 115° F.
5. Mix the lye solution into the oil. Stir by hand, and then give the mixture short bursts with a blender.
6. Pour the mixture into a mold or 8 smaller molds.
7. Use a spoon to texture the top and decorate with flower petals or herbs.
8. Cover with parchment or wax paper.
9. Insulate with a blanket or towel and leave for at least 48 hours before removing the soap from your molds.
10. Turn it out onto wax paper and cut into bars if you have used a larger mold. If it is too soft initially, leave for a day before cutting.
11. Cure by leaving them out on the wax paper and allowing plenty of air to flow between each bar. Rotate every three days to evenly cure, and leave the soap for at least six weeks before using.
If you have never made soap before, there are a few things that you should know:
The lye solution will get hot quickly as you mix, so it is important to be careful.
Don’t breathe in the fumes that come off the lye mixture as you mix, and make sure that you work in a well-ventilated area.
Don’t overmix during blending, or you risk making too many bubbles and making the soap thicken too fast.
Stop mixing when you reach "trace". This is when the soap batter has the consistency of warm custard. Drizzle a spoon of the batter across the surface, and if it leaves a trace before it sinks back in, that means it is ready.
If you’re making soap in a very cold area, add extra layers of insulation.
If your soap starts to crack as it sets, it means it is too hot. Uncover it a little or move it somewhere cooler.
Don’t worry if your soap starts to look darker in the center or has jelly-looking areas. This is perfectly normal, especially a couple of hours after you have mixed it up.
Customizing your soap
To make your herbal infusion, you could simply use cooled herbal tea. Pick your favorite; peppermint and chamomile are popular choices. You could also use wheatgrass and chlorella to add natural color, along with soothing herbs such as plantain and calendula. You can add organic herbal powders to the mixture once it reaches trace.