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.
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