This sustainable, easy homemade soap recipe is perfect if you have never made Soap. Homemade Soap is a fantastic way to save money and explore your creativity. The good news is that Homemade Soap isn't as difficult or time-consuming as you may believe.
This Cold Process (CP) recipe is perfect for beginners; you probably have everything you need in your kitchen. And if you try this and want more fantastic instruction, head to The Soap School. There you will find excellent courses for all levels.
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This recipe will make roughly 12 bars of Soap. Let's get started!
The main ingredients for this soap recipe are:
- *Tallow/Palm Oil 400g
- Coconut Oil 300g
- Olive Oil 230g
- Lye 132.84g
- Filtered Water 353.4g
*Tallow is a type of fat derived from beef or mutton. You should be able to get some from your local farmer or butcher. It's what gives the Soap its characteristic hardness and long-lasting qualities. Vegan or vegetarian? Replace the Tallow with Palm Oil, which has roughly the same qualities. Make sure you only buy registered Sustainable Palm Oil.
Coconut Oil is known for its cleansing properties and ability to produce a nice lather. And last but not least, Olive Oil contains antioxidants and nutrients that your skin will love.
Now that you have the main ingredients let's look at the equipment
For this Homemade Soap recipe, you'll need the following:
- Digital scale
- Metal spoon to stir the lye
- A stick blender
- A mould: You can use either pre-made silicone or line an (anything you can find/box) mould with parchment paper.
For making the lye water, you need some protective equipment. Wear some old clothes. Get gloves, a face mask, and eyewear to protect your hands and eyes from the caustic lye water and fumes.
The soap-making process
Step 1 – weigh it
First, weigh the fat (tallow), coconut oil, olive oil, water & lye crystals. For success, try to be accurate and run your numbers through a soap calculator.
Step 2 – mix the oils.
In some cases, you might need to render the tallow. To render means melting it down so it's in a liquid form. You can do this by placing the tallow in a pot or double boiler and heating it over low heat until it's melted.
Next, add coconut and olive oil to the tallow and stir until everything is melted and combined. Then, remove the pot or double boiler from the heat and let it cool to between 38°C (110°F) – 42°C (107°F), depending on the weather; this shouldn't take too long.
Step 3 – make the lye water.
Making lye water is a simple process, but it's essential to take some basic safety precautions:
First, work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling the lye fumes.
Second, always add the lye crystals to the water, never the reverse, as this can cause a dangerous chemical reaction.
Use a heat-resistant container like glass or metal. Some plastics can handle high temperatures, but it's best to be sure!
Wear protective clothing: long gloves, a mask, and protective eyewear. Lye can burn, but with these simple things in mind, you can make lye water without any problems.
Pour the lye crystals into the water and stir until the water is clear again. The temperature can shoot up to 200°C (400°F), but only for a minute or two.
Step 4 – cooling
Both mixtures should cool to between 38°C (110°F) – 42°C (107°F) depending on the weather; this should only take five to ten minutes.
While both mixtures are cooling, prepare your mould by lining it with parchment paper. Mixing them when they are within 10° of each other is best. Once both mixtures have cooled, pour the lye carefully into the oil mixture (be careful of splashes!) and mix until trace.
Step 5 – Mix until trace.
Trace is when the soap mixture thickens and leaves a “trace” or lines on the surface when you drizzle it with a spoon. Coming to Trace can take 2-5 minutes, depending on how fast you stir.
You can do this by hand; it takes much longer. I use a stick blender and pause briefly every couple of minutes. If you are in a cold room, you can get a “false trace” where it looks like it's mixed, but it isn't; keep mixing for at least 10 minutes or until you don't see any emulsion separation.
Once Trace is reached, pour the Soap into your mould, cover it with a warm blanket and let it sit for 24-48 hours to solidify.
Step 6 – cut & cure
After 24-48 hours, your Soap should be firm enough to cut. Remove it from the mould and cut it into bars. Then, place the bars on a wire rack or towel and let them cure for 6-8 weeks.
Curing the Soap will allow it to develop its characteristic hardness and long-lasting qualities. Finally, the more olive Oil you add, the longer it takes the Soap to cure, so make sure you understand the recipe and all its ingredients.
Testing the PH
Before you test your Homemade Soap on yourself or give it away, please check the pH of your Soap between 3 and 5 days after cutting. Checking the pH is an important step and will help you to avoid any nasty surprises with sensitive skin.
And that's it! CONGRATULATIONS You have now made your very own bar of Soap!
Before you go
If you're looking for more challenging Homemade Soap projects, you can try experimenting with different oils, fragrances, and colourants. But even if you stick to the basics, you'll still have a high-quality product. The best thing about this whole process is that even if you cannot use all the ingredients in your Soap, you can use the rest in your cooking.
Please head to my shop to find some inspirational Essential Oils and more.