If you've always wanted to make soap but are worried about working with lye, here is your answer. This homemade lye-free soap is basically the scaredy cat version of How to Make Homemade Soap (well-sort of!).
The Story of My Desire to Make Soap......
For years, I have wanted to make my own soap. And yet, I have never done it.
I've googled over the craftiness of others and felt that somehow I was deficient in my thriftiness, my craftiness, my domesticality...simply because I have never made soap.
One of my clearest memories is of a friend back in the Chicago area who made HUGE batches of olive oil soap. This friend had enough money to buy whatever soap she wanted, but she just LOVED making soap and her soap was just gorgeous.
I first tried this lovely soap when I was pregnant with my first child, so basically I wrote off making it because I knew that it would necessitate my working with lye in a kitchen where I would have to time things so I didn't have a busy and inquisitive infant or toddler underfoot. Let alone the fact that during nap time I would often be napping myself!
So I basically gave up all dreams of soap-making, and they never really came to be.
I even, at a second hand store, bought the very book that my friend's soap recipe came from, and I STILL haven't made soap.
So when Andrea approached me about sharing a recipe for melt and pour soap that was easily made into "homemade soap" style, I was thrilled.
I assumed that many other busy moms out there would love the chance to be crafty without being around something caustic that might be a problem for their children's safety.
Would you like to create an all natural product, free of harsh chemicals, that radiates your personality and taste? Consider hand-milled soap!
Also known as melt and pour soap, this method allows you to forgo the hazards of working with caustic lye, while enjoying the creativity of soap making.
The reason being? Well, this is why the title of the post includes "you'll see what I mean." The lye work has been done for you already in making the melt and pour soap base.
Reasons to Make Melt and Pour Soap
Skip the Additives
So many soaps on the market are loaded with artificial colors and artificial fragrances. If you make your own melt and pour soaps, you can use quality ingredients without the nasty additives
Of course if you make your own melt and pour soap, you will save a bunch of money over store-bought.
More and more people have sensitivities. Making your own soap allows you to customize ingredients to your needs.
Other Easy DIY Personal Care Products You Can Make
How about trying out the following DIY Personal Care Products too? These are great ways to take more steps towards clean living.
Nourishing Sugar Scrub - skip the harsh artificial fragrances in most store-bought products
Healthy Lip Scrub - works great!
Homemade Foaming Soap - frugal alternative to store-bought soap pumps Citrus Body Wash - smells and works great
Tips for Choosing Melt and Pour Soap Ingredients
1. Natural Soap
Look for soap that is free of chemicals and fragrances. The simpler the better when it comes to hand milling. White or cream colored work best. Suggested online sources include:
- Bulk Apothecary
Here are some great options for melt and pour soap bases:
- Goat's Milk Soap Base
- Shea Butter Soap Base - this one seems to perform very well and has great reviews.
- Glycerin Soap Base
- Cocoa Butter Soap Base
A simple bread loaf pan will work depending on how much soap you're melting. Line the mold with parchment paper for easy removal.
Silicone molds work well too. These come in fun shapes and sizes like this flower mold (similar to the one used for the soaps in this post).
You will need parchment paper if you choose the bread mold pan option.
3. Herbs and Plants
Do you love lavender? Dried lavender or even fresh lavender makes a perfect addition.
Roses? Dried rose petals or even fresh rose petals work beautifully.
Plant powders will double as natural colorants. Turmeric, for example, turns the soap a lovely orange while adding skin nourishing qualities. Spirulina powder makes a lovely green. Ground oatmeal offers a nice exfoliating quality. Himalayan pink salt adds a nice pink hue.
4. Essential Oils
Forgo the petroleum-based fragrances and add scent using 100% natural essential oils. Essential oils carry through the hand milling process quite well - so pick a scent you enjoy and have fun!
Herb/essential oil combinations that work well include:
- Thyme Oil with turmeric powder
- Plumeria Oil with dried lavender
- Peppermint Oil with activated charcoal for a deep cleansing experience.
Here is Adrienne's source for "the best" essential oils, or click here to read the whole series about how she chose them.
You'll need to add a slight amount of liquid to keep the soap from burning during the melting process. While water works fine, possible liquids include coffee, green tea, kombucha, infused herbs, coconut milk and floral hydrosol.
- Grate 8 ounces of soap. (Two regular size bars.) A cheese grater works well, as does a salad shooter. A food processor also works.
- Sprinkle 1-2 ounces water or other liquid over the grated soap.
- Heat on low setting in a double boiler or crock pot. You can also place in oven-safe pot and heat in the oven at lowest setting. Stir frequently to avoid burning. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
- When soap is liquefied, remove from heat. It will be somewhat lumpy and translucent.
- Add desired ingredients.(For the main photos here, I used Pink Himalayan salt and dried rose petals from my daughter's wedding. I added Rose Geranium essential oil which created a lovely rose scent.)
- Stir to desired consistency. Pour (or spoon) soap mixture into molds. I placed some dried rose petals on the bottom of this flower mold.
- Cool the soap and remove from mold (place mold into freezer for up to 1 hour to make this easier). Cut into desired sizes and shapes using a soap cutter or a food scraper/shovel.The mold used in the above photo is this one.
- Allow soap to dry for several days or more. Note that the more liquid you use the longer it will take to cure.
- Dry the soap thoroughly between uses to extend its life.
That's it! Easy as--well, melting and pouring.
These would make a fabulous gift for almost any occasion.
Have you made soap using the melt and pour method?
What herbal combinations would you like to try?
Andrea is a former journalist and the mother of nine children ranging in age from 28 to 12. Following a toxic mold exposure, Andrea and her family discovered the wonders of natural living. Andrea is the founder and president of momsAWARE, an educational organization designed to empower others to live healthy in a toxic world. You can follow her family’s journey at It Takes Time. She is also the owner of Just SoNatural Products.