History of soap:
The word soap derives from the Celtic word “saipo.” The Celts made their soap from a combination of animal fat and plant ashes. It is largely believed that the making of soap originated in Babylonia. Before the introduction of soap Ancient Romans used to clean themselves by covering their bodies with oil and then scraping it off with a specially designed instrument. Historically soap was made with a combination of ash and olive oil. Today soap and detergents are a multibillion dollar industry.
Recent excavations of ancient Babylon have shown that Babylonians were making soap as far back as 2800 B.C. This was largely done through a process of boiling fats with ashes. These soaps were more commonly used for leaning textiles than for personal hygiene.
Excavations of ancient Egypt have revealed that the ancient Egyptians made soap by mixing animal and vegetable oils with alkaline salts. Pliny the Elder recorded that the Phoenicians would use goat’s tallow and wood ashes to create soap.
Queen Elizabeth once bragged that she bathed once a month, whether she needed it or not. This is a far cry from what we now consider the standard of personal hygiene. Romans used to spend hours in public baths. And to some extent this carried on up to the Middle Ages. However, in the middle of the 14th century bathing was considered to be bad for your health. This was the time of the plague, and it was widely believed that bathing would open the body’s pours and allow toxins into the body.
The importance and popularity of cleanliness and soap really took off during the American Civil War. The reason for this was that a large percentage of soldiers died as a result of disease and infection. The discovery of germ theory has obviously furthered the public’s demand for soap and cleaning products.
The two main types of soaps that are used today are sodium soaps, and potassium soaps. Sodium soaps are made from sodium hydroxide and tend to be quit firm. On the other hand potassium soaps which are made from potassium hydroxide tend to be much softer. Before modern manufacturing took over, potassium hydroxide was acquired from plant ash.
About lye: Lye is essential for making soap. Soap is formed when lye combines with fat. In doing so the lye becomes a completely different compound and is no longer caustic. One should be careful when handling lye. It’s important to wear rubber gloves as well as eye protection. It is also important that you handle lye in a well-ventilated area since the fumes can be harmful when inhaled. If you get any lye on your skin wash it with a liberal amount of water. The same goes for spill. When it comes to lye mishaps dilution is the solution.
When it comes to combining lye to water, it’s important that you add the lye slowly and carefully to the water. You should never add water the lye since doing so can cause it “volcano up.” You should also immediately start stirring the water after adding your lye. The last thing you want is for the lye to settle at the bottom and clump together.
Improve lather: A simple trick for improving soaps lather is to add coconut oil. Adding coconut oil will help increase the amount of suds that your soap will produce.
How to make your soap harder: One common problem people have when making soap is that their bars will be too soft. This problem can be solved in several different ways. Most common mistake people make is to try using their soap to early on. You soap will need to dry in a well-ventilated area (preferably on racks) for at least a couple weeks before they become fully hardened.
If your soap recipe requires the use of bees wax, than you may consider adding more with you next batch since this is the main ingredient when it comes to hardening your soap. Also consider increasing the oils in the recipe that harden at room temperature. These include such commonly used oils as: coconut, lard, tallow, and butters such as cocoa or shea butter.
Adding salt to your water will make a harder bar. You will want to add the salt before mixing in the lye. Consider using between 15-25% salt by water weight.
Lavender body soap:
4 oz water for every pound of oil
60 oz. Lard
6 oz. coconut oil
8.95 oz. of lye
16 oz. of water
Step 1: The first thing you will want to do is weight out all of your ingredients. You may find it advantageous to age shredded lavender in your coconut oil for a couple of weeks. This will not only cause the lavender to become softer, but it will also infuse your oil with the lavender scent.
Step 2: Once you have weighed out all of your ingredients, you will be ready to mix your lye with your water. You always want to add your lye to the water. Also remember to do this in a well-ventilated area. You will also want to wear protect gloves and eye protection. You will need to stir in the lye until it has all dissipated. It is important that you keep the lye from clumping together at the bottom of your bowl.
Step 3: Add your dissolved lye to your lard. Thoroughly stir until the lard has melted and taken on a consistent texture that is free of any lumps. You may find it easier to use an electric hand stirrer.
Step 4: Add your coconut oil, shredded lavender, and lavender essential oil. Remember that it is easier to add essential oils and lavender than it is to take it out. You will then want to thoroughly stir your soap for several minutes.
Step 5: Once you have mixed all your ingredients, you will be ready to pour it into your molds. You will want to gently stir your soap in order to get all of the air bubbles out.
Step 6: You will want to let your soap sit in the molds for around 48 hours, after which time you will be ready to cut it into bars. After you have cut your soap into bar, you will want to either stack them or put them on a rack and let them harden for a couple weeks.
Oatmeal, honey, and vanilla soap recipe:
44 oz beef tallow
22 oz canola oil
22 coconut oil
12 oz lye
32 oz cold water
2 oz vanilla
1 cup oatmeal
1 and ½ tablespoons of honey (don’t use any more than that)
1 and ½ teaspoon Tumeric
Step 1 preparing ingredients: For the first step you will want to way out and prepare all your ingredients. You will also want to grind up your oatmeal either by hand or in a blender.
Step 2: Add your oils to a crockpot and wait for them to start melting. Once your oils start melting you will want to mix your water and lye in a separate container. You will want to wear cloves and goggles when you mix your water and lye. You will also want to make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area.
Step 3 mixing lye and water: You will want to add your lye to your water. Rather than adding your water to the lye, the reason being that you don’t want to cause any splashing. Once you have added your lye you will want to thoroughly stir until your lye crystals have completely dissolved. You will also want to make sure that the container that you are using can handle high temperatures. The generally anything that is microwavable will be suitable.
Step 4: You will want to wait for your lye and water to cool down to 115 degrees Fahrenheit before adding it to your crockpot with the oils. You will also want to make sure that the oils in your crockpot are around the same temperature. You will want to carefully and gently pour your lye and water solution into the crockpot with your oils. You will then want to use an egg beater (hand blender) to thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.
Step 5: You will be ready to add your Tumeric after several minutes of mixing your ingredients. After adding you Tumberic be sure to keep mixing until it is and even consistence and your ingredients have been thoroughly mixed. You will want to stir your crockpot every 15 minutes or as needed. Do not mix your honey and oatmeal yet.
Step 5: Once your soap has reached a thick jelly like consistency and is around 160 degrees you will be ready to turn your crockpot off and add your vanilla, oatmeal, and honey. Be sure to thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together. Remember that you don’t want to add your honey to soon. As with most things patients is key.
Step 6: After you have thoroughly mixed all of your ingredients together you will be ready to add your soap to your molds.
Simple hand soap recipe:
50 oz olive oil
15 oz distilled water
6.3 oz of lye beads
Essential oils (for scent)
what you need:
two plastic containers
small cardboard or shoe box
Mix the lye beads with the distilled water. The water will become warm. Let the lye settle for a few minutes. Mix the lye and water with the olive oil. Use an electric stir or egg beater until the soap becomes thick in texture. Add your essential oils and stir. Your soap should take on a putty like texture. Add the soap to your mold. Cover the mold with a piece of cardboard and then put a thick towel over the top. Let it sit for 24 hours. At this time your soap should be somewhat sold. At this time you are ready to cut your soap into the desired size. Set you soap onto a rack so it gets plenty of airflow. Put your soap aside and let it cure for several weeks.
How to make shaving cream:
Here is a simple and easy recipe that you can use to create your own natural shaving cream at home. Your DIY shaving cream should stay nice and fluffy for several weeks, provided that you keep it in a relatively cool place. This shaving cream will not lather since it doesn’t contain any soap. Rather it will act as a moisturizer that works as a buffer between your skin and razor.
1/3 cup solid coconut oil
1/3 cup shea butter
¼ cup sweet almond oil
4-6 drops pepermint oil
Step 1: Add your shea butter and coconut oil into a small pot on your stove. Set your burner to medium and stir until there aren’t any solids remaining. You can also use your microwave. Put the oils into the microwave for about 30 seconds. After you take it out be sure to stir. Repeat this process two several times until you no longer have any solids left.
Step 2: Add and stir your sweat almond oil and fragrance. You don’t have to use peppermint, tea tree oil or any other fragrance that you desire. You may also want to include fragrance oil.
Step 3: After you have mixes all of your ingredients you will want to let it solidify in your fridge. Once it has solidified you will want to use an electric mixer until it becomes soft and fluffy. At this point you will have some top grade all natural shaving cream. You will want to have some suitable sealable containers to store your DIY shaving cream.
If you shaving cream starts to melt, you may find it advantageous to put it back into you fridge and use your electric mixer to restore it to its formal glory.
How to make body wash soap:
60 oz lard (pig lard works best)
6 oz coconut oil
16 oz water
8.95 oz lye
1. Mix the lye with the water and stir until it is diluted. Do not let the lye settle to the bottom and clump together. Remember to add the lye slowly to the water. As opposed to pouring the water into a bowl full of lye.
2. Add the dissolved lye to the lard and coconut oil. Stir well, but be careful not to splash.
3. Mix in your lavender essential oils and ground up lavender. It’s important to remember that it’s easier to add essential oils than it is to take it out.
4. Add put your soap into your mold and gently stir to get work out any bubbles.
It is recommended that you use gloves and protective glasses when working with lye.
As a general rule for every pound of water you use, you will need 4 ounces of essential oil.
I would also recommend using lavender essential oils as well as some ground up lavender.
Essential oils for soap
Essential oils are something that every soap making hobbyist should have and use. There are some many benefits to using essential oils in soap that it’s hard to know where to begin. There are many great health benefits to using essential oils. The most important thing to note is that not all essential oils are the same. Different essential oils will have different effects on your hair, skin, and mood. Essential oils can be used to combat everything from dandruff to anxiety. What oils you decide to use depends on what you hope to accomplish.
Below is a list of common essential oils and their effect on mood, hair, and skin:
Essential oils for hair:
The people of India have long been using various hair tonics and essential oils for centuries to promote thick and healthy hair. Essential oils have long been used to prevent both hair loss and to promote healthy hair and scalp. Many people complain of damaged, dry, and uncooperative hair. But look how we treat our hair. People use strong shampoos that are rich in processed chemicals. They use hot air to blast their hair and twist and pull at it throughout the day. All this abuse will not only damage your hair, but it can also lead to/promote hair lose.
Lavender: Great essential oil for all hair types. Lavender works great as a scalp treatment for itchiness and dandruff. It also helps balance your natural scalp oil. Many people also used Lavender oil to prevent hair loss.
Cedarwood: As with Lavender oil, Cederwood helps balance your natural oils. It is also used to help treat hair loss and dandruff
Lemongrass: Works great for oily hair, by decreasing scalp oil production.
Peppermint: Works for treating dry hair. It also helps stimulate circulation. This leads to a greater production of oils and faster hair growth.
Tea Tree: Tea Tree oil works well for dandruff and lice. It also adds strength and shine to your hair.
Thyme: Thyme is a great antiseptic that also helps stimulates blood flow to the scalp.
Basil: Best used for oily hair.
Chamomile: Gives golden highlights and sheen. It also works well as a natural hair conditioner. It also helps sooth inflamed scalp.
Essential oils for healthy skin:
Carrot seed: Carrot seed essential oil helps rejuvenate your skin by promoting cell regeneration. As such, it can help to fade scars and improve the skin tone.
Frankincense Essential Oil: Frankincense is a great natural toner. It reduces wrinkles and the appearance of scars by promoting healthy cell growth.
Geranium: Geranium essential oils help tighten skin and reduce wrinkles. Helps heal damaged skin by increasing circulation.
Lavender essential oil: One of the most commonly used and universal essential oil. Lavender essential oils are great for all skin types. It’s especially useful for reducing sunspots and scars.
Lemon essential oil: Lemon has natural astringent and antibacterial agent. Helps with oily and acne prone skin.
Myrrh essential oil: Myrrh is great for aging skin. It helps even out skin by reducing sunspots and wrinkles.
Neroli essential oil: Aids in cell regeneration. As such, it is helpful in healing and preventing stretch marks and wrinkles. It also has natural antiseptic properties
Patchouli essential oil: Helps promote cell growth and reduce wrinkles. Patchouli essential oils also have antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Tea Tree essential oil: Tea tree essential oils are great for acne-prone skin due to its antibacterial properties. It is also helpful in regulating oil production of your hair and skin.
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil: This is a great essential oil for most if not all skin types. It helps reduce breakouts and helps improve skin elasticity by improving skin cell regeneration.