I’ve been wanting to make soap for quite some time, but I’m still using up soap that I stockpiled a few years ago so there’s really no need to make more at this time. Recently, I found a recipe for “bar shampoo” that sounded very interesting. I’m always looking for good shampoo and never really find anything that I think is wonderful, plus I’m about out of shampoo, so this seemed right up my alley. I checked out quite a few recipes, read about different oils that are used and what they’re good for or not good for, and then chose the recipe that I thought would be best. I had some of the ingredients that I needed and I ordered the rest of them from smile.amazon.com. I use the “smile” Amazon because they give a portion of what you’re spending on the charity of your choice and it doesn’t cost you anything extra, so it’s a win-win situation!
The recipe called for:
10 oz. coconut oil
10 oz. tallow (or palm oil) ***note – I used red palm oil (not thinking about the color) and the soap turned out pretty orange, almost pumpkin colored. Next time I will use the white and will add some coloring if I choose.
10 oz. olive oil (I only had about 6 ounces, so I used extra palm oil and castor oil to make up the difference)
6 oz. castor oil
5 oz. lye
12 oz. distilled water (I used our water, which is well water)
1.5 oz. essential oils for scent
You also need a glass or good quality plastic bowl for mixing the lye and water (I used an old glass jar), a non-reactive pot or crock pot for warming the oils, a candy thermometer or two (I got two so I could use one for the oils and one for the lye mixture, a scale, stick blender, wooden spoon, gloves and protective eyewear (for working with the lye), and white vinegar in case of lye spills.
Put on your gloves and eye protection. Pour water into bottle (I set my bottle into an old pan to protect my counters) and then slowly pour lye into water. You need to do it in this order and it needs to be done in a well-ventilated area. Stir carefully with wooden spoon and allow to sit. It will get very warm because of a chemical reaction and it’s very caustic, so be extrememly careful with this and keep it away from children and pets. It will heat up and then you will let it cool to approximately 110-120 degrees.
Pour coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil, and tallow (or palm oil, which I used) into a crock pot or something that’s non-reactive and can be heated. Heat slowly to about 110-120 degrees. I suspended my thermometer in the liquid (clipped it over a heavy plastic straw) so it wouldn’t touch the bottom or sides of crock pot in order to get an accurate reading. Hold at that temp.
When both the lye and the oils are between 110-120°, slowly pour the lye/water (make sure you still have your protective gear on) into the oils. Using the stick blender, mix it until you have “trace”. You can tell when you get that because when you drop a small bit of the soap onto the mixture in the pan, it will sit on top of the surface for a few seconds before it blends back in. It doesn’t take long to get to this point and you’ll notice that the soap has thickened quite a bit. When you’ve got trace, add your essential oils and mix well. Pour into pans or molds. I used two old loaf pans that I lined with waxed paper. Cover with a cardboard box and cover the box with a towel to keep it warm. Allow to set for 24 hours, then remove it from the pans and slice it to the thickness of your choice. Stand the bars up and allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks in a well ventilated room.
***After you’ve covered your soap to cure, while still wearing gloves, clean all your utensils. Use hot, soapy water that has some vinegar in it. The vinegar will help to neutralize the lye.***
The soap set for 24 hours and I sliced it today. I got about 16 bars (each bar looks like a slice of butternut squash 🙂 from this recipe and I think each bar will go a long way, so it’s going to be a good value. Right now I’ve got the slices setting on a rack and they’ll stay there for 6-8 weeks, as the recipe calls for. My house smells soooo good! I didn’t use a lot of essential oil, but you can really smell the jasmine. Can’t wait to try this!
Note: All of the recipes I’ve found for hair soap or home made shampoo suggest rinsing with some diluted apple cider vinegar. I’m going to give that a try when I use my hair soap.