Basic Cold Process Soap
16 ounces of olive (or sunflower) Oil
8 ounces of coconut oil (76 degree)
8 ounces of palm kernel Oil
12.8 ounces of cold water
4.8 ounces of NaOH (lye)
eye protection: glasses or goggles
1-qt plastic bowl
2-qt plastic bowl or 2-qt non-aluminum pot
immersion blender (aka stick blender)
soap mold or molds
Making soap isn't all that much harder than making a cake, but it does take some practice and does involve the danger of working with lye. The following instructions are no substitute for taking a soapmaking class or at least reading a few good soapmaking books.
Make sure not to use any aluminum pots or bowls, as they can react badly with lye. Put the water in the 1-qt bowl. Making sure your hands and arms are dry and wearing gloves and eye protection, sprinkle in the lye, using a digital scale for accuracy. Never add the water to the lye; always add the lye to the water. Right away, stir gently until lye is dissolved; try not to breathe in the fumes. The mixture will heat up on its own. Leave the bowl uncovered to cool in a safe spot away from children, spouses, pets, stray animals, or anyone who might mistake this for drinkable water. Also store any remaining lye out of the reach of children and pets.
Next, add oils to the 2-qt microwavable bowl and microwave on high about 4 minutes or until completely melted. Alternatively, you can heat the oils in a pot on a stove. Once melted, allow to cool. Important: If you want to substitute any of the oils in this or any recipe, you need to run your new oils through a lye calculator, like the one on this site here. This will tell you if you need to adjust the amount of lye to accomodate the new oils. Not doing so could result in lye-heavy soap that burns.
Optional: If you wish to add scents and/or colorants, add them to the oil mixture (after the oils are all melted). Add about 1.5 oz of fragrance or essential oil. Add about 1.5 tsp of oxide or ultramarine colorant, or 3 tsp of mica colorant. You may adjust these usage rates to your own taste, and see our website catalog for specific recommendations on individual scents and colors.
Wait for both the lye water and the oil mixture to cool to about 100F on a thermometer, or until the outside of the bowls feel only slightly warm to the touch. Gently pour the lye water into the oil mixture, and stir and blend with a stick (or immersion) blender. Alternate 15 sec bursts of blending with 15 seconds of stirring. Don't bob the stick blender in and out of the mixture as this will add air bubbles. The mixture should become cloudy off-white and gradually thicken. After about 5 minutes, the mixture should approach the thickness of gravy and begin to sheet off the blender when it is lifted out. At this point the soap is at "trace" and can be poured into a mold. Some fragrances (especially florals) actually accelerate trace and you will have to be ready to pour quickly when trace occurs.
Cut into bars after 2 days. This recipe is somewhat soft so it will need 4 weeks curing time.
Shea Butter Soap
19 ounces of Olive Oil
19 ounces of coconut oil (76 degree)
13 ounces of palm kernel oil
13 ounces of shea butter
2 ounces of castor oil
24 ounces of water
9.6 ounces of NaOH (lye)
Follow basic soapmaking instructions as above. Mix at temps of 100F and let cure 3-4 weeks.
9.44 oz of distilled water
2.28 oz of 76 degree coconut oil
2.2 oz of shea butter
1.6 oz of emulsifying wax
0.16 oz preservative, such as Optiphen or Germaben II
0.16 to 0.32 oz scent (depending on preference)
Heat water to 170 degrees F. Combine emulsifying wax and oils and heat to 170 degrees F. Slowly pour the water into the melted wax/oil mixture. Use a handmixer to combine (not a stick blender). Blend periodically to keep emulsified. When the cream has cooled to around 100 degrees, mix in the preservative and fragrance. Pour into jars when it is a thick gravy consistency - the cream will thicken once it is cooled. Makes 16 oz of cream.