Good To Know ….

… when using/willing to make homemade soap.

Making home soaps is a good and natural way to avoid all the toxins the commercial soaps contain, but there are some aspects you have to take into account:

1.While the commercial soaps contain colorants for their eye appeal, natural soaps contain natural colorants like plant powders, juices, clays etc which sometimes make coloured bubbles which could stain your hands and towel. Of course, if you rinse your hands well there is no risk to stain your towel.

Another way to colour your soaps is using pigments/micas: using only a bit of it will not stain your towels or hands, but the feeling is totally different when you get to use a 100% natural soap.

2. Homemade soaps last less than commercial soap, but it also depends on the way you use it.

Because homemade soap retains all of the naturally occurring moisturizing glycerin (commercial soaps have this glycerin removed as a by-product), it is much more solvent. Taking care of it properly and never leaving it in water you ensure that your homemade bar lasts as long as possible. Make sure your soap dish allows the water to drain completely away from the soap, allowing it to completely dry out between uses.

3. Shelf life of a homemade soap is less long than a commercial soap.

This is the length of time you can expect your bar of soap to last if it is not used. The typical bar of handmade soap will have a shelf life of about 1 year if it is stored in a cool dry area.
You can expect the scent to slowly fade over time. Any natural colorants (natural juices and powders , etc.) will fade as well. This is normal because homemade soap does not have the naturally occurring glycerin removed from it nor does it have the addition of any chemical preservatives.

4. Natural glycerin remains intact.

Glycerin is a natural humectant, which attracts and retains moisture. This comes from the saponification process and is a by-product of soap making. Most large soap manufacturers remove the glycerin and sell it separately since it’s very valuable and profitable. They replace the glycerin in their soaps with synthetics that just don’t feel the same. Glycerin is a big factor in why handmade soaps are so beneficial to your skin’s texture.

While there are more and more commercial soaps which include glycerin, they also pour on the synthetics, cheap preservatives, detergents and dyes. The amount of glycerin remaining is rather miniscule compared to handmade soaps, where every bit of this super moisturizing by-product remains to soften your skin. This glycerin is also added into the commercial soap, not a result of being left in like handmade soap.

5. Handmade always consist of fresh, high-quality ingredients such as vegetal and essential oils,  full of vitamins juices or milk ( goat, almond, coconut, sesame etc) . Natural handmade soap do not have added synthetic preservatives. Some essential oils, such as tea tree, rosemary, niaouli can serve as a natural preservative.

Commercial soaps add tons of extra preservatives so they can sit on the shelves longer and keep costs down. Irritating surfectants, detergents and dyes round off the not-so-wholesome list.

Let’s compare:

  • Original Dove Beauty Bar: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Coconut Acid, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Titanium Dioxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Trisodium
  • The most simple natural soap is made of: premium saponified vegetable oils (organic extra virgin olive, coconut, organic palm, organic sunflower, castor), distilled water, essential oils

In the Dove bar, tetrasodium EDTA is a preservative, known to cause irritation among some individuals. Sodium cocoyl isethionate and sodium isethionate are surfectants, like sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate. In comparison, the homemade soap contains coconut and castor oil for lather, and essential oils serve as natural fragrances  and some of them as natural preservatives.

Looking at this list of ingredients, I believe you would rather prefer making your own soap as there is no comparison – natural soaps feel great, rinse clean and leave your skin soft and hydrated. It’s wonderful, and I could never go back to using the commercial soap, ever!

How to make soap

To make soaps at home, you need a mixer, one , 2 small lye resistant pots. *Do not use aluminum pots as it will react with the lye., good quality and if possible virgin oils, lye (Sodium  hydroxide), water (or milk, juices etc) and for safety: glaces and gloves. Often people ask me if I do make soaps without lye. Indeed, lye may be something dangerous, but without it, you can not make soap. Sodium   hydroxide creates the chemical   reaction to convert the fats or oils to  soap. Well-made soap has NO lye left over. Making soap is chemistry. You need the correct proportions of fat vs. lye to have the complete chemical transition in your soap.

One of my basic recipe is:
Coconut oil 170 gr
Cacao butter 70 gr
Almond oil 50 gr
Olive oil 190 gr
Shea butter 20 gr

Lye 70 gr
Water 110 gr

Please follow these steps to make your soap:
1.Use the scale to make sure the measurement is exact, and pour the lye into a cup.
2.Use the scale to make sure the measurement is exact, and pour the water into a large, non-aluminum container, such as a stainless steel pot or glass bowl.
3.Measure the oils. Use the scale to weigh out the hard oils and butters(like coconut oil,cacao butter, shea butter, palm oil etc)  and ‘the soft’ oils apart.
4.Set a large stainless steel pot on low-medium heat. Add the hard oils and stir.
5. Add the lye to the water. Make sure the windows are open and the room is well-ventilated( if you choose to mix it inside), or you can do outisde. Add the lye to the water slowly, stirring gently with a spoon
        – It is very important to add the lye to the water and not the other way around; if you add the water to the lye, the reaction between the two substances is too quick, and may be dangerous.
        – As you add the lye to the water, it will heat the water and release fumes. Keep your face turned away to avoid inhaling the fumes.
        – Set the mixture aside. Allow it to cool and let the fumes dissipate.
6. When the hard oils are melted, remove the pot from heat and add the ‘soft’ oils to the hard oils.
7. Measure the temperature of the lye and oils. Use thermometers to monitor their temperatures until the lye and the oils reach ( almost) the same temperature ( 36-40 C).
8. Add the lye to the oils. When the two substances have reached the proper temperatures, add the lye in a slow, steady stream to the oils.
9. Stir with a wooden or heat-resistent spoon; do not use metal.
– You may instead use a stick blender to stir the lye and oils.
– Continue to mix for about 10-15 minutes until “tracing” occurs; you’ll see your spoon leave a visible trace behind it, like one you’d see when making pudding. If you’re using a stick blender, this should occur within about 5 minutes.
10. Add essential oil /natural colorants
11. Pour the soap into your mold. If you are using a shoebox or wooden mold, make sure it is lined with kitchen paper.
12.Cover the mold. If you’re using a shoebox as a mold, put the lid on it and cover with with several towels. If you’re using a soap mold, tape a piece of cardboard over the top before adding towels.
13.The soap will go through a gel stage and a heat process  and after 24 h you can cut the soap.

2 thoughts on “Good To Know ….

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