Begin the Soapin’ Adventure

Just this past fall I got into DIY Health and Beauty products. We didn’t have a lot of money for Christmas gifts, but I still wanted to be able to give our family special and useful gifts. There’s nothing worse than spending your hard earned money to get something for   someone that ends up collecting dust, completely forgotten in a few short weeks.

I made all natural, fragrance and dye free lip balm, lotion bars and soap. I’ll share the lip balm and lotion bar recipes later. Today is about soap!

I found a lot of soap recipes online that included ingredients I didn’t have. I didn’t want to buy all sorts of special (and expensive!) ingredients so I ended up designing my own recipe using a soap calculator. Yeah, a little crazy, I know. My husband said “For the very first soap batch you made, you just made up your own recipe?!”

I had ordered lye online. I didn’t realize that almost $9.00 for one pound was pretty expensive! I had virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and unrefined shea butter in the house. I did a little research on oils and butters in soap making and decided on

10% shea butter (it was recommended to keep shea butter under 15%)

20% coconut oil (more than 30% was said to be really harsh and drying)

70% olive oil (can be used up to 100% and it’s very gentle)

I used the Bramble Berry Soap Calculator to calculate my recipe. The cold winter air in Maine is extremely drying and my hands always suffer so I went for the maximum superfat allowed: 10%!

Here are the exact measurements I used: 280g olive oil, 80g coconut oil, 40g shea butter, 132g water, 51g lye.

I decided I wasn’t going to use any fragrance or dyes. I just wanted pure, natural, gentle soap!

I hot processed the soap since that has a shorter cure time and Christmas was right around the corner. I poured the soap batter into a wonderful silicone mold I bought online. The next day, I popped them out and what do you know….they were UGLY!2015-01-17 12.04.07

I let them sit for 2 weeks, then tried one out in the shower. It was so soft that nearly half the bar was gone by the end of my shower! My husband tried it too and said it smelled like cooked pasta (?!). What a failure. I set them aside and decided that our family members would be getting just lip balm and lotion bars….2015-01-17 12.05.15

Fast forward to now (7 weeks later) and I decided to try a bar again. Their color lightened up a bit and the “pasta” smell was pretty much gone. It’s now my favorite bar! It has a creamy lather and is the only soap I’ve washed my hands with that doesn’t leave them feeling tight and dry. So what I thought was a failure, ended up being quite a wonderful bar given enough time. 20150117_123824

2 thoughts on “Begin the Soapin’ Adventure

  1. I just made soap today for the first time! We added some essential oils for fragrance, and made two batches – one with regular olive oil, and one with organic (we ran out of regular). The organic one smells way too strongly of olive oil right now! The top is all lumpy like yours- hopefully they set nicely though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great job making soap! Doesn’t it feel awesome when you make something yourself? After a few washings, the “lumpiness” goes away and the soap is as smooth as a river rock. I hope your olive oil odor fades just like my “pasta” odor eventually faded 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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