Friday, April 8, 2016

Home Made Soap

It has been a very long time since I made soap for commercial sale, however I do still make my own batches for personal uses when the mood takes me. I often use it as way to use up random carrier oils, oils which may be starting to turn (and can't be used in the skin care products I make), or with hydrosols which are starting to bloom. I filter and boil these. this bog isn't a detailed 'how to' of home made soap making. If you have not done it before there are a number of careful considerations to take with regards the handling of caustic soda (which can dissolve skin if you mishandle it, or cause blindness if you splash it in your eyes!). My mum had a nasty accident with caustic soda where it had been put in an unmarked container and somehow she was cleaning out the laundry cupboard and water got into the caustic soda (which makes it highly volatile). It splashed in her eyes and she had to have her eyes painfully irrigated for over an hour in the ED with a very painful contraption fitted under the eyelids. She is fine now but it was a very scary reminder of basic home chemical safety. This blog here identifies the steps you need to take with photos. There are numerous other blogs and you tube channels as well.
This is my 'fail safe recipe' from the wonderful book by Carolynn Stubbin ' Do it yourself pure plant skincare'. It's now out of print and seems to be highly desirable as suggested by this outlandish price on Amazon. I treasure my autographed copy. So keep an eye out in second hand book stores!. What I like about this recipe is it gives the basics but I have used many variations of it, using different oils etc and they all seems to come out fine for home use.

Her basic recipe is: 
  • 500 gm hydrogenated coconut oil or olive oil, 
  • 200 ml purified water
  • 70 gm caustic soda
  • emollients up to 20 gm
  • exfoliants up to 20 gm
  • colourants up to 20 gm
  • pure essential ils 7-20 mls
For this recipe I used the following
Organic coconut oil and organic hempseed oil weighted

My own calendula infused sunflower oil added after the saponification

A small amount of moisturising base cream left over from a commercial batch

The caustic soda added TO the hydrosol- sometimes it goes clear

Caustic soda mix added slowly to the melted fats (avoid spalshes!)

Mixing after adding the caustic mix

Calendula oil approx 80 ml

Argan face exfoliant added last

And some spare
  • 400 gm coconut oil
  • 100gm organic hemp seed oil
  • 200ml lemon verbena hydrosol
  • 70 gm caustic soda
  • pre made moisturising cream 100 gm*
  • argan face exfoliant 50 gm*
  • lavandin essential oil 15 ml
  • 50 ml calendula infused sunflower oil* 
  • Mixing again
Cream added after mixing then mixed again
One little trick I have always done is add some additional fat after the saponification stage - this makes the soap highly moisturising as the fats are 'outside' of the chemical bond of the caustic soda and other fat. I also like to add an exfoliant to my body soaps.

Final result
As you can see from the photos once I added the argan exfoliant the mixture became a reddish brown and had the look of a chocolate mousse! I poured it into the moulds as it went thick very quickly. I then leave on top of the hot water cylinder for a few weeks and then take out the container and leave for another few weeks until quite hard. Enjoy! Wendy