Friday, March 27, 2009

soap tutorial with photos

detailed instructions here. this is the baby soap recipe, just a very gentle all-natural soap. i love this as face soap.

1. i infused my olive oil with lavender, yarrow, and slippery elm bark by heating the oil gently with the herbs in it and then letting it "steep" on super low heat for a couple hours. then strained through a fine mesh sieve to keep the pokies out. obviously not required but i wanted to get as much "nutrition" in the oils as i could since this is for kiddo and faces.

2. combine oils and melt together if needed. the large white "chunks" are coconut oil and shea butter.

3. measure NaOH carefully. also be careful if the air is relatively dry; NaOH granules can get staticky and fly around and land on your skin. wear gloves.

4. pour NaOH into water and stir stir stir. the lye solution will be cloudy at first. allow to cool to lukewarm.

5. pour lye solution into oils. see how the lye solution has cleared up? stir stir stir, preferably mixing with a stick blender.

6. continue blending until trace is reached. see how opaque the soap is now? you will be able to feel a difference in the raw soap as well; it feels thicker when you stir. this is the point where you would stir in any additives, fragrances, or colorants. this is also the point at which you would add any additional oils for superfatting (the calendula oil in the recipe).

7. pour into your prepared mold; cover and place in a warm spot. i generally warm my oven (about 170º) and keep the soap in there; it's out of the way and stays warm. however i have a wooden mold; i would not recommend this for plastic molds or cardboard shoeboxes. silicone baking pans would be fine in the oven of course. we're approximately 1½ hours in at this point, including a little over an hour to allow the lye solution to cool. (from mixing oils and lye to this point is generally only about 15-20 minutes.)

8. gel stage, approximately 2½ hours after start, 1 hour in the mold. the gelling soap is the mustard color in the center. the end result will be whiter, like the soap at the edges of the mold. soap stays in the mold and in its warm place for approximately 48 hours.

i'll post a couple more photos in a couple days, when i unmold, cut, and store for cure.


Anonymous said...

How neat, I think its great that your making your own soap, and I bet it lasts a really long time. Have you ever made a liquid soap?

Kelly said...

This may seem like a dumb question- but, do you leave the oven on for the 48 hrs?

Sarah @ said...

Hey there, I just wanted to stop by and apologize. I keep meaning to write an e-mail about the baby stuff (almost put "baby making stuff" but that, you know, sounds way wrong) and catch up on your blog, but apparently I'm too lame to keep up. So HELLO and SORRY and I'll try to get that e-mail off SOON, as in sometime before the century ends!

eireann said...

jenna, i've never made liquid soap. i believe one would usually use potassium hydroxide (KOH) to make liquid soap, and getting KOH at a chemical company is more work than i want to do. NaOH i can just pick up at the grocery store. :)

kelly, no the oven isn't on that whole time. usually only about an hour, and then i just leave the mold in there and let the oven cool on its own.

sarah, no worries! i had an insanely busy weekend this weekend and didn't even look at a computer.