Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the soap diaries

I'm kind of going crazy lately.  I'm on this sort of quest to convert all our everyday toiletries to homemade.  Or, at least, simpler/natural-er.  (ie. baking soda and apple cider vinegar hair treatment)

I've told you about my hair washing (see above link) and now for body and hands!


I've been anxiously collecting ingredients for a couple weeks now and Saturday morning the hubs built me a soap mold.  The ends come off, and the sides are hinged for easy soap retrieval. 

Soap mold

It all started when I wanted to find a bar of soap locally (aka I can grab it while grocery shopping) that was free of yucky ingredients.  Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap is great.  It has a 0 score on EWG's Skin Deep Database which is amazing.  It only has 3 ingredients.  Olive oil, water and lye.  "3 ingredients!?  I can do that!"  And for the sake of saving some cash (and because I think it's fun) our first batch of olive oil (or castile if you like) soap was born.


There's a bit of idle time during soap making, so you can see I enjoyed a bowl of Ben and Jerry's.  =]  The hubs is folding freezer paper to line the mold.  That took awhile to figure out, but then we played bananagrams while we waited for the lye water and olive oil to be the correct temperature.  Okay, we don't actually own bananagrams.  We use our scrabble tiles and bananagrams rules, but it works!

Stick blending

Something awesome happened.  I knew my life would be a lot easier if I had a stick blender to use while making soap (and lotion!) but I didn't want to go spend the money.  I figured I'd just use the beaters on my hand mixer (which I've had since our wedding).  I got out the box and lo and behold, there's a stick blender attachment!  I was so excited!  The picture above is me blending the soap to trace (a thicker consistency that will leave a trail on top if dripped onto itself).  From what I've read it can take a very long time for 100% olive oil soap to come to trace.  I blended for about 1/2 an hour.

At trace, you can add coloring, fragrance or essentials oils, or things like oatmeal for exfoliation.  I didn't add anything, I just wanted a simple, sensitive skin bar.  Olive oil soap is gentle enough to use on babies!  Hooray for no more reliance on expensive, natural baby shampoos!

Castile soap

I didn't remember to take a picture after we poured the soap into the mold, but here it is cut, after almost 24 hours of setting up.  We got 8 approx 8 oz bars, and some smaller "tester" pieces that I want to pass out to family and friends to try.  If we had cut 10 1" bars, according to my calculations each bar would cost around a dollar.  Not bad!

Now the soap has to cure for at least 4 weeks, but the longer olive oil soap cures the better it gets!  Some people say 4-12 MONTHS!  You probably won't see me waiting that long, but I'll try to wait as long as I can.

I'm so excited to make more soap!  I can see myself making fancy scent combos and giving them out as gifts.  I really want to make a coffee soap next!  And for anyone who is wanting to try soap making, I say just go for it!  Keep it simple, do your research etc, but just go for it!  It's fun!