Home-Made Soap - My First Attempt

Home made, cold processed soap. Organic and natural.Ever since we wrote the article about soap I have been wanting to try and make some soap myself. Cold processed, organic and natural soap, with complete control over the ingredients. Even if I from time to time have dabbled in DIY skin-care products, so far I have not yet made soap. Now I have finally come around to it. After careful studies of different techniques and ingredients, I decided to follow a basic recipe from Jan Berry who runs the blog "The Nerdy Farmwife", partly because it was simple and did not require other ingredients than I already had at home and partly because she is one of few big soap bloggers who make completely natural soaps free from palm oil and without additions such as sodium lactate, isopropyl alcohol, titanium dioxide or other non-natural colorants.

The chemist in me though, found it difficult to stay away from experimenting. To make one batch of 7-8 soaps, all of them the same, and then wait for 4-6 weeks to try them out seemed like an unthinkably slow process. So I down-sized the recipe to fit a silicon mold with 6 individual cavities and after I stirred the soap batter and reached so-called "trace", i.e. emulsified the batter with the help of a stick blender, I separated the batter into 6 containers in order to at least variate the additions. Honey, coffee scrub, crushed oat and 3 different kinds of clay; kaolin, green montmorillonite, rhassoul (top to bottom, left to right). 

The result? First impression, it was successful. They hardened as they should and I managed to unmold them. They feel slightly soft, but that is supposed to be normal for soap containing high amounts of olive oil. With the muddled colors and irregular tops, they have a lovely natural and home-made look about them. How they are to wash yourself with? That, sadly, I will find out in 6 weeks time.

Equipement for soap production
Soapmaking equipement. Digital scale, preferably a precision scale that ways down to 0,01g. I used an ordinary kitchen scale though. Measuring containers, spoons and spatulas. Thick-bottomed pot or waterbath to melt hard fats. Protective glasses and gloves. A Thermometer is needed to check the temperature of the oil and lye solutions. Either a regular cooking thermometer or even better, an infrared. Stick blender to stir the emulsion of oil and lye solution. Before you start, learn about safety, how to deal with lye (NaOH) and how to use a Lye Calculator.

Cold processed soap day 1Cold processed soap day 2