Have you ever used pure soap? Soap that only contains water, oil, and lye? We noticed an immediate difference. Homemade soap is much less drying, even compared to Dove which contains “1/4 moisturizing lotion.” I guess you don’t need moisturizing lotion if using natural ingredients. So of course we couldn’t go back to using commercial soap. We tried, but I felt so itchy and desiccated after that first shower. That was the evil plan of the CSA owners in the first place. Lure them in with free stuff and then make them pay. Home-crafted soap is severely marked up in price. The average around these parts is about a dollar an ounce which equates to a $5 bar of soap. That is a pretty steep price for something that ends up in the drain.
You know it was only a matter of time.
After dropping too much money on handcrafted soap, we invested in some soap making supplies and started making our own soap. Here is some partial documentation of our first run.
|Our Reference Guide. A Good resource.|
|Donning protective gear. Lye is a hazardous chemical after all.|
|Measuring out the lye.|
|Adding the lye to the water.|
|Initial temperature of the lye water.|
|The oils we used: olive, palm, and coconut.|
|The initial temperature of the oils|
Next comes probably the most important step of the process. Once the lye and the oils have reached about the same temperature (80-100 degrees), you add the lye water to the oils and mix with an immersion blender until you reach the mythical state of "trace." When trace is reached, you pour the mixture into the soap mold and let it incubate for 24 hours before cutting.
However, as you can see, it was going to take a while for the lye to come down in temperature. It was late, and I valued my sleep more than I valued complete documentation. (Besides, if you are really interested in making your own soap, you need to read more than just this post.) So I left Mr. F. with a hour or so more of work while I high-tailed it to dreamland.
|Soap in mold after incubation.|
|Cut bars ready to "cure" 4 to 6 weeks before use.|
One batch yielded about 16 bars of soap. Not so shabby. My inner squirrel was very pleased. We are currently halfway through our first bar and have no complaints whatsoever. Yes, it is another thing to add to our already crazy lives, however, at least we only have to do it once a quarter or so. Our skin and our pocketbook thanks us.