I get such satisfaction from making natural personal care products from scratch like my Homemade Sugar Scrub, Healthy Lip Scrub, Homemade Foaming Soap, and Citrus Body Wash, but I have always been afraid of making Homemade Soap. Now, thanks to Andrea of It Takes Time, we can all learn how to make soap — without lye!
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 oogled 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.
So here you go — “sort of ” Homemade Soap :).
Update 4/16: Please note – I have gotten a lot of comments from angry readers insinuating that I made this post in a deceptive manner. I wrote the title as I did so that it wouldn't seem to be something that it wasn't so please take that into consideration before making any more accusations. Thank you!
Now – to Andrea……
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.
How to Make Soap Without Lye
– Natural Soap Base
– Herbs or flowers (like these lavender flowers), rose petals
– Essential Oils
– Parchment Paper (depending on what mold you use)
– Molds (I love these flower molds, circular molds, or these simple bar molds)
– Something to grate (a cheese grater, salad shooter, or food processor are good choices)
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 or the one most people are using these days…
You can use many kinds of soap. Here are some good choices:
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 this soaps in this post).
You will need parchment paper if you choose the bread mold pan option.
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:
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.
2. Sprinkle 1-2 ounces water or other liquid over the grated soap.
3. 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.
4. Add desired ingredients.
(In these photos 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.)
5. Stir to desired consistency. Pour (or spoon) soap mixture into molds. I placed some dried rose petals on the bottom of this flower mold.
6. 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.
Again, the mold used in the above photo is this one.
7. Allow soap to dry for several days or more. The more liquid you use the longer it will take to cure.
8. Once you begin using your soap, be sure to dry it 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.
Note that the top photo in the post is from Andrea's store at Just So. Aren't they just gorgeous?
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.