Soap is something that we use every day, without much thought. We grab a bar in the shower, lather up and rinse off. We often overlook this opportunity to bring a slice of delight to our day. Our sense of smell can transport us in an instant, to vivid memories of moments in our past, or visions linked to the scent in question. A beautiful soap is a time portal in your shower – what an incredible gift to give to your loved ones – particularly if it is homemade and free from chemicals.
The Good Human has scoured the internet for the very best homemade soap recipes that you can create to share with your friends…..although we won’t tell anyone if you decide to keep them! But first let’s cover a few basics. When making soap, you can choose to make the process as complex as you like. If you are a complete novice then start with a simpler recipe, we will indicate below which ones are ideal to start with. You can use the recipes to the letter, or make your own tweaks depending on your preferences. The one thing that cannot be substituted is lye. Look for 100% sodium hydroxide or lye in crystal form when collecting your soap ingredients. Do not use liquid lye, nor drain cleaners.
Lye is caustic! Handle with care! That means gloves, eye protection and a mask are a must. Use a calculator to work out exactly how much lye you require in your recipe, depending on the ingredients you are using. Be prepared for the reaction which takes place when you initially mix the lye with water – it will heat up and give off fumes for around 30 seconds. Try not to inhale. Make sure your work space is very well ventilated. Be sure that you always add lye to water, and not the other way around. This is to disperse the chemical reaction, stopping the lye from clumping together at the bottom, which might heat very quickly and explode. Despite these warnings, once the reaction is complete, the lye is altered by the oils in your soap – and your finished bar will be perfectly safe.
Do not use your cooking pots for making soap! Stainless steel and enamel are great mixing bowls. Avoid copper and aluminium which will react with the lye. Plastic may melt – so don’t use plastic bowls or spoons. You can use silicone molds or baking pans to shape your soaps. Also keep to hand a thermometer, newspaper, towel and your lovely embellishments for your finished soap.
Essential oils are always a great choice. Essential oils are those extracted from the plants themselves, while fragrance oils are produced artificially.
Dried herbs can be added to most soap recipes – chamomile, lemongrass and lavender are popular choices.
You can use spices to color soaps naturally. Try cinnamon or cocoa powder for a brown soap, turmeric for yellow, powdered chlorophyll for green and beet root for orange.
This has to be the most beautiful way to gift soap, found on PV Soap.com and is made using a soap base instead of lye – making this a great starter recipe.
- 1-2 lbs. of clear MP soap base
- 1 oz or less of fragrance oil
- green, blue yellow soap colorant (liquid)
- 1 oz or less of silk mica powder
- 3 small (5 x 7 trays) or use our square loaf molds container of your choice, label, ribbon
- knife, stir, zip lock baggie
Directions Melt the soap base in the microwave until liquid – do not boil. Divide the soap into 3 parts and color each with the colorants to achieve the glass-like colors. Add the fragrance and stir. Pour the soap into the bottoms of the trays or mold to 1/4″. Once the soap is set up and hard, remove from the tray or mold and cut into 1/2″ strips and then into small pieces about the size of sea glass. No need to be too fussy with the size pieces. In the zip lock baggie add a bit of the silk mica and some of the soap pieces. Shake until coated, repeat until all your pieces are frosted. Use a soft brush to even out any of the mica that might clump on the pieces. Add to your container, label and top with a soft ribbon. — Share!
Yes – you read correctly…BEER soap. What better gift to give to a gentleman in your life? For this recipe you need to start with flat beer, which has been put into a freezer zip-lock bag and frozen. When combining with lye, this most be done very slowly! Also use a very large bowl – this allows space for the chemical reaction. As long as the beer is cold and flat it will work well. The following great recipe is taken from Suzy HomeFaker.com.
- 24 oz. coconut oil
- 24 oz. olive oil
- 38 oz. Crisco
- 32 oz. FLAT BEER
- 12 oz. lye
- *any fragrance or dye of your choice..I used 2 T. honey , pumpkin pie spice and some fresh orange zest.
Some things to know before you start… Place your lye pitcher inside of a roasting pan or in the sink to mix it. That way, if it does bubble over, the lye solution won’t go onto the counter or floor. Make sure that your liquid is chilled before mixing the lye into it. (This isn’t a bad idea even if just using plain water.) Work in an area that has very good ventilation. The fumes from the mixture will be heavy and foul smelling. If you’re working with a carbonated beverage, like beer, make sure that it is completely flat. Leave it out on the counter for several days, stirring often. Remember, absolutely, completely flat. If you’re using a liquid that contains alcohol and/or a high sugar content, you may want to do a small-batch test first. Sometimes the alcohol and/or sugar content can do odd things in the soap batch. At the very least, it’s going to make the gel stage VERY hot! Don’t insulate these batches – they’ll cook quite well on their own. Work very slowly, especially if this is the first time you’ve used this particular liquid in your soap. Add the lye slowly. Stir slowly.Directions
Melt/heat the Crisco in a enamel pan and place on stove to melt and heat. Place cold water in a glass bowl and slowly add lye while stirring with a wooden. Stir until water is clear if you can. When the Crisco and lye are warm to the touch, pour lye into Crisco while stirring. Keep stirring until you get trace. Trace is when it thickens to the point where you can drop some of the mix back in to itself and it leaves a trail. At this point use any herbs, scent, or coloring and stir and pour mold(s). This recipe fits nicely in a bread pan lined with plastic wrap container, but other containers, such as pringles cans or specialty soap molds work just fine, too. Put molds in a warm, insulated place, let set 24 hours and then cut. Place on to rack and let cure for 2-3 weeks.
This soap will be great for shaving and moisturizing the skin, and because of the sugar in the beer, it will bubble like crazy.
Want to have a taste of the ocean in your bath? The give this amazing recipe, found on SoapRecipes101.com a try. You can use regular sea salt, really any kind you like, but not Dead Sea Salt, which draws moisture from the air. You can sprinkle the top of the bar of raw soap with coarse salt to give the bar a real exfoliating texture. This is a little trickier than the previous two.
- 30% olive oil
- 30% coconut oil
- 30% palm kernel oil
- 5% castor oil
- 5% shea butter
- 7% sea salt
- lye (NaOH)
- mineral or distilled water
- EO of choice (0.5 to 1 oz PPO)
Directions Prepare the lye-water first: carefully add the lye to the water and set aside to cool. Melt the oils and butter in a pan, and when both the lye-water and the oils are below 130F (and ideally are within 10 degrees of each other), carefully add the lye-water to the oils. Mix with a stick blender or a hand-mixer until light trace. Add the salt and the essential oils and mix some more until fully incorporated. Pour into mold, insulate and let the soap set for 24 to 48 hours. Once the soap has hardened, unmold and cut. Place the cut soap pieces on a cooling rack, preferably in a well ventilated room and let them cure for 4 to 6 weeks.
This is fantastic 3 ingredient recipe is found on MommyPotamus.com. The recipe can be adapted for cleansing, laundry and shampoo! Check out the video to see how.
This mouthwatering recipe was uncovered on A Pumpkin and A Princess.com. Lemon soap has to be one of my all time favourites, giving an invigorating, zesty kick to the morning.
- 1 1/2 cups Goats Milk Soap Base or Shea Butter Soap Base, cubed
- 4-6 drops Lemon Essential Oil
- Dried Lemon zest of 3-4 lemons
Directions Cut soap into cubes and microwave in 30 second intervals (I like to use a large Pyrex measuring cup to melt the soap in). This recipe makes 3 bars of soap and I used about 15 cubes of goat’s milk soap base. Melt soap for about a minute. Add another 15-30 seconds if it’s not completely melted. Once soap cubes have liquified add a few drops of the lemon essential oil and the lemon zest; stir well. Pour into soap molds and allow to harden for at least one hour. Press mold to release soap.
Humble Bee and Me.com have come up with this effective looking soap, that I am sure will be great at giving your body a good scrub while you wash! They ask that you start by making basic batch of soap , you can choose any of the recipes here.
Directions You’ll want to take it to a fairly light trace so it will quickly and easily permeate the entire loofah. Set the loofah in your mould, and pour the raw, liquid soap over top of it. Let that batch saponify and set up for a day. After the loofah batch has set up, remove it from the mould. Using a knife, trim the extra soap off from around the loofah. Smooth out the soft soap around the loofah to make it more or less cylindrical. Next up, the suspending batch. Make it contrast colour-wise with the loofah. Bring it to a nice, thick trace; it has to support the entire soap-filled loofah, which is pretty heavy. Take your lined mold, and pour in about 3cm of the suspending batch. Add the soap-filled and trimmed loofah, and top off with more suspending soap. Let it set up, slice, and cure. Voila!
The Nerdy Farmwife brings us this fresh zingy mint soap – top of my list to test.
- 4 ounces Avocado Oil
- 24 ounces Coconut Oil
- 28 ounces Olive Oil
- 4 ounces Castor Oil
- 2 ounces Mango Butter
- 9.0 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
- 19 ounces mint infused water (mint tea)
To infuse the water, add handfuls of fresh (or dried) mint leaves to a jar and pour simmering hot water over them. When it’s cool enough to handle, move the jar to the refrigerator and allow it to steep for several more hours before straining. At trace add:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons French green clay
- 2 to 3 tablespoons peppermint essential oil
This recipe is sized to fit a homemade 5 lb wooden loaf mold. The inner dimensions are roughly: 16″ long x 3.75″ wide x 4.75″ tall.
Mother Earth Living is the source of this classic, luxurious recipe. Milk and honey evokes visions of Cleopatra…the perfect gift for a lady who has it all.
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essential oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 cup oatmeal (do not use quick-cooking oatmeal)
- 2 pounds shea butter melt-and-pour suspension soap
2 small bowls Double boiler with lid Glass measuring cup: 4-cup Large knife Measuring spoons Metal spoon for stirring Mold: square muffin or brownie pan with multiple sections Paper towel Rubber spatula Spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol Strainer or cheesecloth Vegetable spray Directions Lightly coat the pan with vegetable spray. Using a paper towel, remove any excess spray. Using the large knife, chop the oatmeal so the flakes are about half their original size. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the chopped oatmeal evenly on the bottom of each square in the pan. Using the large knife, cut the soap into cubes, then melt the soap in the double boiler, covering the double boiler with the lid. While the soap is melting, mix the buttermilk powder with the hot water in a small bowl. Using a separate bowl and a strainer or cheesecloth, strain the mixture to remove any lumps. Once the soap is melted, add the buttermilk mixture and honey, stirring gently to incorporate. Stir in 3/4 cup of oatmeal until it is evenly distributed, then stir in the essential oil. Transfer the soap into the glass measuring cup using the rubber spatula. Slowly pour the soap into the pan, then spray the surface of the soap with rubbing alcohol to eliminate any bubbles. Allow the soap to cool and fully harden, then remove the soap from the pan.
Happiness is Homemade has concocted this easy 10 minute soap recipe! Perfect for fall.
- Shea Butter Soap Base (2 lbs of soap base will yield eight large 4 oz. bars of soap)
- Red and Yellow Soap Colorant
- Soap Mold
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Microwave Safe Measuring Cup w/ Spout
Directions I use about 1 lb (or half of the block) of soap base at a time which makes four large 4-ounce soaps. The block of shea butter soap base is smooth and silky, and it cuts easily with a kitchen knife. I slice the soap base into cubes, place them inside a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, and melt in the microwave in 20-30 second increments, stirring well after each microwave session to ensure that the soap is completely melted. For 1 lb of soap, I generally microwave for 30 seconds, stir, microwave for another 30 seconds, stir again, and microwave a final time for 20 seconds. When the soap is completely melted, stir in 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice and a few drops of red and yellow soap colorant. I added 2 drops of red and 4 drops of yellow color to my soap because I wanted it to have a subtle color instead of being bright orange. If you prefer a brighter orange, just add more colorant until you reach the desired shade. No need to worry about the color coming off on your body in the shower since the colorant is designed specifically for this purpose. Pour the melted soap into the soap mold, and allow to sit undisturbed until cool (about 30 minutes or so). Remove & enjoy!
So there you have it. 9 wonderful soap recipes that you can make from home and package to share with your loved ones. They range in difficulty, some using base soaps and some using lye. Enjoy making yours – and please share your pictures. If you have any favourite recipes to add we would love to hear from you!
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