Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tutorial - How to Make Homemade Cold Process Lavender Soap with Shea Butter

I’ve been promising to post a recipe of homemade soap, so here is my own recipe of handmade cold process soap scented with Lavender and Patchouli 100% essential oils, which is especially good for dry skin.

Equipment:· 2 mixing bowls, preferably stainless steel or tempered glass
· A cake mixer or a blender.
· A thermometer, scale and a rubber spatula
· Several measuring cups and spoons
· A microwave or a stove top (clean is good, sterile not necessary)
· Container/mold with cover
· Lots of paper towels
· Rubber gloves and safety glasses

Olive Oil ~ 7.9 oz (225 g)
Coconut Oil ~ 4.4 oz (125 g)
Rice Bran Oil ~ 1.8 oz (50 g)
Cocoa Butter ~ 1.8 oz (50 g)
Shea Butter ~ 1.8 oz (50 g)
Alkanet root powder 1 ¼ tbs

Lye (3% superfatted) ~ 2.51 oz (71.2 g)
Water ~ 5.3 oz (150 g)

Jojoba Oil ~ 0.53 oz (15 g)
Lavender and Patchouli essential oils ~ 0.4 oz (12 g)

1. Suit up in safety goggles, gloves and long sleeves.

2. Add the lye to the water. Stir well taking precautions to not breathe in the fumes. Set the mixture to the side and allow it to cool to approximately 110F (~45°C ). You can put the lye water mixture outside if you are not in a well ventilated area.

3. Add all your fats and oils together and melt. Allow them to cool to approximately 110F, or within 5 degrees of the lye water.


Since I only use natural colorants, I had to prepare my Olive oil with Alkanet root powder in advance, hence the deep purple color of my oil mix.

4. Add the lye water mixture to the melted oils, carefully. Stir vigorously until trace occurs. Trace looks like a thin pudding. A stick blender will help speed trace along.


5. At the end of your trace, add extra oils (superfat your soap) and essential oils of your choice.


6. Pour your traced soap mixture into your molds.


7. Pop out after 3 to 5 days, cut it in bars and allow to sit for a full 4 to 6 weeks to cure and finish the saponification process. Recipe yields approximately 4 bars of soap, 4.5 oz (~ 125 g) each.


Mitsy / ArtMind said...

Supercool tutorial - but a lot of work - I think I buy my handmade soap, a lot easier! :)

antigoni said...

Bravo!!! Very nice post! I'm in temptation to make a soap of my own!

Kreativlink said...

Ah! So that's how they do it!
Mhh.. I better leave that alone, though. I'd sure make a mess... :)

Unknown said...

Wow, this is an amazing process! Mom made soap once. Beautifully done instructions and the end result is so lovely!

ingermaaike said...

Great and marking for future use! Thanks so much.

creationsbyeve said...

Great tutorial!I always wondered how soap was made!Thanks!

StaroftheEast said...

I won't be able to make it, but it is sure interesting to see how you do it! Thanks for sharing!

ofifteen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
twolefthands said...

Wow, so much work goes into a bar of soap! I don't think I will even attempt it, but very interesting to see how it is made!

ThePeachTree said...

you have hit new levels on my AWESOME meter :) Step by steps with images are my ABSOLUTE favorite things ever!

Heli said...

Oh this is great!! I've been always wanted to know how people make their soaps! Thanks for sharing!

Angie - said...

Thank you for posting this AWESOME tute!! I can't wait to try it!

Ribasus said...

I have been perishing to make my own soap for a long time. I am assuming that one can use any essential oils combination but the soap will be purple anyway (not a problem for me!) Thank you so much. Now to go find the ingredients!

Arctida said...

The purple color comes from Alkanet root powder that I've added to my oil mixture. So to answer you question, Yes you can use any essential oil combination without it affecting the color of the soap :)

Anonymous said...

Just curious: why is the lye necessary?

Arctida said...

Without lye the saponification process will not start. You will simply have a blend of oils/fats and water, no soap :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, thanks:) I was just a bit scared of what could happen if I got it on my fingers, I've heard a lot of scary stories. Gonna try this recipe some day soon:)

Arctida said...

Most of those stories are probably true, even the exaggerated ones :) So the most important rule in soap making is protection, protection, protection! Your eyes, your hands and your clothes! And always add *lye to the water* not the other way around :)

Lalaleah said...

Beautiful. Thinking xmas gifts for friends & family. About the water though...starting with boiling water i take it? And where does one buy lye??

Arctida said...

No, absolutely not! The water should be as ice-cold as possible or the the lye-to-water-reaction will be to violent!

Where to buy lye, I have no idea because I can not see what country you come from :) Here in Sweden you can buy it in any hardware stores and even regular grocery store have it.

Sofia said...

Hi, if you start with ice cold water to mix with the lye, why do you say to set the mixture aside and let it cool to 45º in the tutorial? does the temperature rise when you mix in the lye?

Arctida said...

Yes, lye-to-water-reaction is very violent and the temperature will rise, so you will need to let it to cool down in most cases.

Evik said...

Hi Arctida,

this is one beautiful soap, frankly!

The white "patina" is on purpose, or partly soda ash? I can imagine the top was soda ash, however, what about the patina of the leaf pattern on the side? How was this done, please? It looks really good!

I see you are from Sweden - I am gathering information on where to buy lye all over the world on my blog (basically info about what product name should we search for, what would be the name/type of the store, if there are any legislation problems - e.g. in Switzerland, it is very difficult to get lye, you need to present an ID and make a special order in a pharmacy...)

Would you be so kind to contribute with some info about Sweden, please?

Soap well!

Evik - Curious Soapmaker

Christine said...

Beautiful soap colour. I was hoping to see a demo on how you textured the top but more, tosee how you did the leaf pattern and what you used to get the dusty effect. Would you mind sharing?

Arctida said...

Thank you Christine. I will probably make a demo on how I textured the top! That is a good idea for tutorial :) The leaf pattern was made with a cookie cutter right after cutting soap while it is still soft and the dusty effect on the leaves was achieved with Mica.

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