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Aleppo Soap (Castile soap)

Difficulty: Advanced
Time: 2 hrs
Yields: approximately 1200 g soap

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Today is World Refugee day and I wanted to raise awareness to the soap makers from Aleppo, Syria. Here’s a BBC report on how the war has threatened the ancient tradition of soap making in Aleppo. And although the report is from 2013, there have been continued attacks on Aleppo.

So what’s so special about Aleppo? Well, Aleppo soap is one of the most ancient soap recipes in the world, and has been around for 2000 years or more. Soap makers in Aleppo still use the traditional methods making this soap, which is said to boast many skin care benefits and helps with skin problems such as dry skin, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and fungal infections. The reason for its skin healing properties is the inclusion of laurel berry oil, which is a powerful antibacterial, anti fungal, astringent and wound healer. Apart from laurel berry oil, Aleppo soap’s only other ingredients are olive oil and lye.

Check out the following video:

I tried to make a soap as true as possible to this ancient method, using a hot process technique and 22.5% of laurel berry oil, which is available from Pure Nature. You will need 250 ml for this recipe. The NaOH SAP value of laurel berry oil is 0.141.

Note Aleppo soaps are cured for over a year to achieve the best quality soap, however, you’ll be able to use these soaps after 4 weeks, if you can’t wait that long.


Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!

If you have never soap before, I strongly recommend you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first, and make several other easier soaps before continuing. Aleppo soap uses the hot process soap techniques and it is definitely an advantage if you know the basics of soap making.

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ONE: Measure out the caustic soda and the water in separate containers. Then add the caustic soda to the water  (never the other way round!) and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down.

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TWO: Weigh out the olive oil and laurel berry oil directly to the crock pot or rice cooker. Turn it on and set it to the lowest setting. My rice cooker only has two settings: ‘warm’ or ‘boil’, so I used the ‘warm’ setting.

250 ml of laurel berry oil should give you 225 g of oil. Just keep shaking the bottle until you get the last few drops out!

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THREE: Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are (still) wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye solution to the oils, avoiding any splashes. The reason I cool down the lye is to avoid overheating and potentially have a volcano erupting in my soap (when the soap overheats and starts to expand and literally ‘erupt’ out of the mould).

FOUR:  Use your stick blender to mix until it has emulsified and thickened to a thin trace. Don’t you love the colour of the soap?

You’ll also notice the scent of the laurel berry oil has changed in the soap, kind of medicinal herby but also clean. I think the fragrance is absolutely divine!

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FIVE: After the soap has reached trace, stretch some cling foil over the pot to keep in the moisture, and place the lid on.

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SIX: Keep the soap at the lowest temperature for the next hour or so until the whole soap  has gelled, which you can recognise by the opaque appearance. Make sure you keep an eye on the soap during this time, as it can erupt. If you see the soap expanding, use a spoon or whisk to stir the soap down again. That usually helps.

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SEVEN: Once the soap has completely gelled, it is ready for pouring. Scoop or pour the soap into your soap mold and leave it to harden and set overnight. Don’t worry about covering or insulating the soap as it has already gelled, in other words, completed the saponification process.

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EIGHT: The following day, unmold the soap and cut it into bars or cubes. The bars of soap will need a further 4 weeks to cure before they are ready for use. However, true Aleppo soaps are cured for 6 months or even a year. So if you have patience, put them away somewhere and forget about them for a year. The longer you cure a soap, the harder and better quality bar of soap you will get.

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To support refugees in Syria, our family is participating in the Ration Challenge by Oxfam this week. This means that for one week we will eat the same kind of rations that the refugees receive in one of the refugee camps. We’re on day 4 and have 3 more days to go, and it’s been tough. The challenge has made us appreciate not only that we have sufficient food to eat (and waste!), but also the variety of foods that are available to us and the convenience of having kitchen appliances. I can’t imagine having to live off lentils, beans, chickpeas and rice every day. There’s only so much you can make with such limited ingredients.

If you would like to sponsor us: https://my.rationchallenge.org.nz/famziegler. Your donation will help provide food, medicine and education to the refugees in Syria.

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Aleppo Soap

  • Difficulty: advanced
  • Print
Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 775 g olive oil
  • 225 g laurel berry oil
  • 129 g caustic soda
  • 260 g water

Directions

  1. Measure out the caustic soda and the water. Then add the caustic soda to the water  (not the other way round!) and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Weigh out the olive oil and laurel berry oil in your crock pot or rice cooker, and turn it on the lowest setting.
  3. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified.
  4. Put the lid on (optional place a sheet of cling foil underneath first to keep the moisture in).
  5. Leave it to ‘cook’ until the mixture has completely ‘gelled’.
  6. Scoop into the mold and leave to harden overnight.
  7. The next day remove the soap and cut into bars or cubes. The soap bars will need to cure for a further 4 weeks until ready for use, but ideally for 6 months or more according to the original recipe.

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Manuka soap

Difficulty: Advanced
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1200 g soap or 10 bars of soap to fit a large loaf mold

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Manuka honey has been on an upward trend the past few years and not without reason. The medicinal properties of honey have been recorded since ancient times, and manuka honey has one of the highest anti-microbial activity, inhibiting growth of over 60 species of bacteria (Mandal & Mandal, 2011). It is used to assist in wound healing, in skin care, prevent and heal infections and stimulate growth of new skin cells. The importance of natural remedies, such as honey, has increased in importance “as resistant pathogens develop and spread, the effectiveness of the antibiotics is diminished”. The quoted paper ‘Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity‘ is a good read and accessible to the public.

Honey soaps, especially soaps containing Manuka honey and essential oil, are particular effective cleansers in that they contain anti-microbial properties yet remain mild and gentle on the skin. However, honey soaps are tricky to make, because the additional sugar can cause the soap to overheat and burn. The higher temperature are difficult to work with, but if you follow a few tricks it is possible to create a beautiful bar of soap with all the benefits that honey will add to it.

TOP SOAPING TIPS WITH HONEY:

 

  1. soap at cool temperatures
  2. do not insulate your soap
  3. do not discount your water
  4. place the soap in the fridge for the first 2 hours after pouring

The Manuka soap that we are making uses Manuka honey, Manuka essential oils and beeswax from Manuka honey, to maximise the benefits of Manuka in the soap. I used the Manuka essential oil from Pure Nature, but alternatively you can use a tea tree oil for a cheaper alternative. The Manuka honey I bought from my local supermarket, and I didn’t go for the most expensive one! The Manuka beeswax I still had left over from a friend, and you can use any beeswax as a substitute, although I would recommend to go for an unbleached and undeodorised beeswax.

Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!

If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly recommend you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.

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ONE: Prepare your lye as usual and leave to cool down to room temperature.

TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil and beeswax, and heat in the microwave or stove top until the oil and wax have melted.

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THREE: Add the olive oil, sunflower oil and castor oil to the now liquid coconut oil and beeswax, and give it a quick stir.

FOUR: MAKE SURE YOUR LYE HAS COOLED DOWN TO ROOM TEMPERATURE OR LOWER. Add two tablespoons of Manuka honey to the lye and stir, stir, stir until the honey has completely dissolved. This will take a while, but don’t be tempted to use warm lye because the honey will heat up the lye and you can end up burning the lye if the lye is still warm. Just be patient and keep stirring. You’ll notice the lye turning a reddish colour. That’s fine and how it should be. Let it cool down again.

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FIVE: Check the temperature of your oils. They should be no warmer than 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Add the Manuka essential oil to the oils and give the oils a good stir.

SIX: Add the lye to the oils, and use your whisk or stick blender to mix the lye/oil blend until it has emulsified to a medium trace. Pour the soap into the mould.

For the swirly surface, I used a chopstick in a looping figure 8 pattern along the length of the soap.

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SEVEN: PLACE THE SOAP IN THE FRIDGE FOR THE FIRST TWO HOURS! This is important. The sugars will heat up the soap during the chemical reaction, and placing it in a cold environment will both prevent the soap from heating up too much and will help keep the colour of the soap a nice cream colour rather than the usual caramel-brown colour of honey soaps.

After two hours (approximately), take the soap out and place it somewhere cool to cure. I put mine in the laundry, which is the coolest room in our house. Don’t insulate or cover your soap!

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EIGHT: Let the soap cure for a couple of days before unmoulding, and then let it harden for another few days before cutting it into bars. The bars of soap will need a further 6-8 weeks to cure before they are ready for use.

Note: honey is a humectant, meaning it will draw moisture to the product and honey soaps are prone to DOS (dreaded orange spot), which are harmless but don’t look pretty. Make sure to store the soaps in a dry area to prevent DOS and moisture forming on the soap.

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Manuka

  • Difficulty: advanced
  • Print
Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 400 g olive oil
  • 250 g coconut oil
  • 270 g sunflower oil
  • 30 g beeswax
  • 50 g castor oil
  • 135 g caustic soda
  • 270 g water
  • 2 tablespoons Manuka honey
  • 30 ml Manuka essential oil

Directions

  1. Measure out the caustic soda and the water. Then add the caustic soda to the water  (not the other way round!) and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Weigh out the coconut oil and beeswax and heat in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
  3. Add the olive oil, sunflower oil and castor oil and give it a quick stir.
  4. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, add 2 tablespoons of Manuka honey and stir until dissolved.
  5. Check the temperature of the oils. They should be no warmer than 32 C (90 F).
  6. Add the Manuka essential oil to the oils and give everything a good stir.
  7. Carefully pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified to a medium trace.
  8. Pour the soap into the soap mould and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
  9. Remove from fridge, and place it in a cool spot to cure.
  10. Leave the soap to cure a couple of days before unmoulding, and then let it stand for another few days before cutting into bars. The soap bars will need to cure for a further 6-8 weeks until ready for use.

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9 soap making tips to help you succeed!

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Making soap is not hard. It should be fun and definitely not stressful. The reason I decided to write about this topic this week is because I had several friends message me recently about problems they were having with their soap.

1. Start with easy projects

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Lavender Castile soap

I know it’s tempting to start off with something like the Dancing Funnel Technique but you really want your first soap making experiences to be a success. Start off with a simple soap recipe (like the basic cold process recipe) with a single fragrance or essential oil. Once you have understood and mastered the soap making process itself, you’ll find it easier to start adapting recipes and adding colour and changing the design of the soap.

Here are some other simple recipes to get you started with additives and colours.

And the same goes for more experienced soap makers: do a simple soap every now and then, just for the simplicity and the zen of making soap. I love making a single essential oil Castile soap. Instead of having to worry about intricate colour designs or advanced soap making techniques, I can just relax and enjoy the experience of making pure soap. I do them not only because these make for beautiful soaps, but it’s also a reminder that sometimes simple is enough.

2. Research the ingredients

Especially when using ingredients that you have never used before. Find out how they behave in soap. Will they react or discolour in hot/cold process soap? Are they suitable for melt and pour?

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Soap seizing due to the fragrance

It is important to understand the effect an ingredient can have on the soap making process and in the soap itself. Some fragrances, like those containing vanillin, will change the colour of your soap to a tan or brown colour. Other additives, especially fragrances, will accelerate the chemical reaction, which will make your soap thicken quickly and render it unsuitable for any colour work. Also find out how to use a particular ingredient. Different colourants, for example, will need different preparation before you can add it to your soap. Micas are best diluted in oils, whereas pigments are mixed with water. Other ingredients can change the oil/water ratio of your recipe. Fresh ingredients add additional water to the recipe, clays, on the other hand, absorb water.

Check out the following articles for more information:

3. Preparation, preparation, preparation!

I can’t emphasise this too much. The worst thing that can happen to a soap maker is having to prepare an ingredient while you’re soap is already at trace and thickening. Make sure you have all your ingredients and materials prepared and laid out, ready for use. Prepare your colours. Measure out your fragrances and essential oils. Pre-mix any additives, such as clays, that you will be using. One of my early mistakes was assuming I had enough oils for my soap, only to start measuring out and realising that I had run out of olive oil. Always prepare before you start soaping and don’t forget to have your equipment ready as well!

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Everything laid out and ready for my cupcakes!

4. Tick off all the ingredients as you go

Often I get a help message from a soap maker asking what to do when they have forgotten an ingredient. Fragrances and colourants don’t really matter, they’re just annoying if you left them out. Likewise other additives, such as sodium lactate or forgetting to spray the surface with alcohol, have little impact on your soap. However, forgetting to add one of the oils or fats, or adding them twice, can ruin the whole soap. Even after years of making soap, I will still tick off the ingredients I added as I go. It’s a habit that I follow religiously, because I can be quite scatter-brained and easily distracted. So being able to look at the recipe and see what I have and haven’t yet added helps me keep track and has saved me many, many times from making a bad mistake!

5. Forget temperature

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Adding the lye to the oils when both are roughly at room temperature.

My pet peeve in a lot of soap making literature is temperature. Having made soap for over 20 years and starting off without the cool soap books and websites that are around today, I learned a lot through trial and error. And let me tell you this, temperature was never a huge factor in my soap making. The one lesson I learned early on was to avoid heat! If I soaped too warm, all sorts of funny things would start to happen, which is why I soap at room temperature. So please relax and stop obsessing about temperature. Your lye and your oils don’t have to be at a certain temperature, and you’ll have perfectly good soap without the added stress of trying to get the temperature exactly right. Let both your oils and your lye cool down to approximate room temperature, which is when the outside of the oil and lye container will feel cool to touch or at most lukewarm. Cooler is better, especially when using ingredients such as sugar and milk.

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Goats milk soap

6. Patience!

I’m talking about curing time here. This is the most difficult part for any soap maker, as they will tell you, waiting for the soap to be ready. Unfortunately, soap is not something that will be ready the next day, unless you’re using a melt and pour soap base, or re-batching, but even then it will take a few weeks to be fully ready. The golden rule for hot and cold process soap is “the longer the curing time, the better the soap”. Soaps that haven’t had a full curing time, will still contain a little moisture, and such soaps end up getting mushy in your soap tray. You’ll find soaps that have had the longest time to cure will be the ones that are the hardest and longest lasting and the ones that remain nice in your soap tray. So be patient and leave those soaps to cure for months!

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Margarita soap

Tip: when I give away my soaps, I usually tell my friends to not use them straight away but place them where they keep their towels. That way their towels get to smell lovely and the soap gets additional curing time!

7. Keep a record of your soaps

One of the most annoying things that can happen is when you use one of your soaps, after having cured for half a year or so, and then absolutely loving it, but when you try and remember what you put in it, you find you lost the piece of paper you wrote the recipe on. Particularly, when you start experimenting and creating your own recipes, make sure you write it down. Not just the recipe, but the method (did you use a stick blender), how the soaping process went (did it accelerate or thicken too quickly), how the ingredients behaved (did the fragrance discolour the soap), and how it cured (how long, DOS, any discolouring?). These notes will help you for future recipes and will also be a record of how certain ingredients behaved in soap. Have a separate notebook, just for your soap making. Write down the date and the recipe and then keep adding notes as you check and use the soap.

8. Less but more often

A lot of soap makers don’t have special soap making rooms or areas and just make soap in their kitchen, as do I. And it seems logical to dedicate a whole afternoon or a day to just soap making, like having ‘baking days’ or ‘canning days’. But unlike baking or canning, making soap is actually a quick and easy thing to do. You don’t need an oven or a lot of equipment, there’s not a lot of preparation and apart from the cooling down of the lye and oils, it doesn’t take that much time either. So instead of making a lot of soap in one time, make smaller amounts but more often. I love preparing my lye and oils in the morning after everyone has left the house, and then I’ll do some blogging or writing (or housework), and about 1-2 hours later, I’ll go and make the soap, which should take no more than half an hour.

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My favourite soap mold is this 4-bar square silicon mold from Pure Nature.

Regular practice makes perfect, the saying goes, and by making soap more often but only a batch at a time, means you get more practice. After a long break from soap making, like my annual summer break, I always find I need a few batches to get back into it. Making a simple soap at least a couple of times during my break, keeps me from getting too ‘rusty’!

9. Don’t get discouraged

Thomas Edison never gave up. The story goes it took him over 10000 tries to invent the light bulb and when asked why he never gave up, he replied: “I didn’t fail. I just found 10000 ways that didn’t work.” I love reminding myself of this, when a soap doesn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.

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Don’t be afraid to try new techniques, experiment with new ingredients or play with a new idea. It might not turn out the first time, or even the second time, but you will learn from those experiences. Get up, brush off the disappointment and try again. Find out what went wrong and how you can improve it or avoid it. My biggest lessons in my soap making journey came from my failures, and I am willing to bet that every other soap maker will tell you exactly the same thing. So don’t get discouraged and don’t be afraid to fail. It’s all about the journey. Making soap should be an enjoyable, fun experience, regardless if you are making one small batch or hundred bars of soap at a time.

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Aargh, the dreaded soap ash!

And lastly, we are usually our worst critics. The soda ash on your soap? The glycerin rivers? Not quite the colours you were aiming for? What you see as a mistake, others won’t notice and they will love your soap! Trust me!

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Cucumber mint soap

Difficulty: Advanced
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1200 g soap

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I was given a cucumber mint fragrance sample from Candlescience (available from Pure Nature) and I totally fell in love with the fresh green scent! The fragrance is very subtle and pleasant, and not overpowering at all, infused with citrus and floral notes and a light minty finish. I knew immediately that it would go beautiful in a soap or body lotion. Maybe it’s because it’s the end of summer and the weather is getting muggy and heavy, that I’m drawn to fresh and light fragrances at the moment, but I strongly suspect that this might end up being one of my favourite shower soaps all year round!

For those of you who are wanting a pure natural soap, you can replace the fragrance with peppermint essential oil or one of Pure Nature’s  specially formulated essential oil blends.

The recipe uses fresh cucumber, which consists mostly of water, so we’ll be using it to partly substitute the water in the lye. Cucumber is great for your skin for it’s cooling and soothing properties, due to the ascorbic (vitamin C) and caffeic acids, which help reduce inflammation and swelling. Combined with the antioxidants and silica and the high water content in cucumber, makes it a wonderful additive to skin products. In soap, cucumber adds a freshness and a soothing, cooling quality to your soap. And by adding pureed, unstrained cucumber, the fibre not only adds a very gentle exfoliating effect, but your skin will also get the full benefits of the minerals and vitamins it contains.

This soap uses water substituting, which is an advanced technique. If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly suggest you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first and do a few ‘normal’ batches before moving on to these kind of soaps.

Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!

To prepare the cucumber, use a stick blender or a blender, blitz until the cucumber is a smooth pureed semi-liquid.

The water substitution we are using in this recipe is 1:1, which means we are using 100 ml less water to make the lye solution, which will make up for the water contained in the 100 ml pureed cucumber. A water discount of 100 ml (40%) results in a very strong lye solution, which will cause the soap to accelerate quickly, so you will need to work very fast. Make sure you have everything prepared and ready before you start making your soap!

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ONE: Prepare your lye as usual and leave to cool down to room temperature. Again, because of the strong lye solution we are using and the expected acceleration of the soap, it is important to make sure you soap at low temperatures.

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TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil and melt in the microwave.

Side note: I’m using an empty 2L ice cream container as my soap pot because hubby ‘stole’ all my Pyrex jugs for his alcohol distillation! I was not impressed!

THREE: Add your liquid oils (olive oil, rice bran oil, castor oil) and give it a quick stir to blend them together. Set aside until cooled down to room temperature.

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FOUR: If you haven’t already, prepare your cucumber as outlined above. Measure out 100 ml. Set aside your fragrance, so you’ll have everything ready when putting the soap together.

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FROM THIS POINT ON YOU WILL HAVE TO WORK VERY QUICKLY!

FIVE: Once both your oils and lye have cooled down to room temperature, add the lye to the oils, and using ONLY a whisk, mix together until emulsified (light trace).  You’ll notice the oil/lye mixture starting to thicken immediately. WORK QUICKLY!

MAKE SURE YOU ARE WEARING PROTECTIVE GOGGLES AND GLOVES!

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SIX: Add the cucumber puree, and give it a quick stir with your whisk.

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SEVEN: Add the fragrance or essential oils and using your stick blender now, mix until the cucumber and fragrance has been thoroughly incorporated into the soap. Your soap will thicken very fast now.

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EIGTH: Pour or scoop the soap into your mold and even out the surface with a spatula. You can see from the image above that my soap thickened very quickly and I had to scoop it into the mold. Let the soap harden in your mold for a few days before removing, and then leave it to cure for another 1-2 days before cutting it into bars. The bars of soap will need a further 6-8 weeks of curing before they are ready to use.

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Cucumber mint soap

  • Difficulty: advanced
  • Print
Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 600 g olive oil
  • 250 g coconut oil
  • 100 g rice bran oil
  • 50 g castor oil
  • 135 g caustic soda
  • 150 g water
  • 100 ml fresh cucumber puree
  • 30 ml cucumber mint fragrance from Candlescience
    or 20 ml peppermint essential oil

Directions

  1. Prepare you lye. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Prepare your oils and let cool down.
  3. While you are waiting for the oils and lye to cool down, prepare your cucumber puree. Blitz about 1/4 cucumber with peel on with a stick blender or in a food processor until smooth. Measure out 100 ml of the pureed cucumber and set aside.
  4. Measure out your fragrance or essential oil and set aside.
  5. Once the lye and oils have cooled down to room temperature, pour the lye into the oil and using only a whisk, mix until emulsified (light trace). WORK QUICKLY!
  6. Add 100 ml of pureed cucumber and give it a quick stir.
  7. Add the fragrance or essential oil.
  8. Working very quickly, use a stick blender to mix all the ingredients thoroughly into the soap.
  9. Scoop or pour the soap into the soap mold. Even out the surface with a spatula.
  10. Let the soap cure in the mold for a few days before removing and then leave the loaf to harden for another couple of days before cutting into bars.
  11. The bars will need a further 6-8 weeks of curing before ready to use.

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Roses soap

Difficulty: Advanced
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1200 g of soap or 10 bars

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I love a good rose fragrance. I’d prefer the real thing, but pure rose essential oil is one of the most expensive oils there is, and to be honest, it would be a total waste to put it in a soap. Did you know that it takes about 20000 rose petals to produce 1 ml of rose oil! That’s when fragrances become a really good alternative.

The Rose fragrance I’m using in this soap is from Candlescience, available from Pure Nature, which has a beautiful rose aroma, with hints of geranium and violet. Unfortunately, it is also known to accelerate in cold process soap. And because of that, I was told it was unsuitable for cold process. But those of you who know me, know that I can never stay away from a challenge and, when you tell me that something isn’t possible, I have to go and prove you wrong. Working with accelerating fragrances isn’t impossible, but it is challenging.

Tips for working with accelerating fragrances:

 

  • Use slow moving oils such as olive oil, and stay away from butters and solid oils
  • Soap at low temperatures, no warmer than room temperature
  • Add your fragrance to the oils before adding the lye
  • Don’t add a water discount to your lye – less water means higher temperature, which increases acceleration
  • Stick to a simple soap design and avoid colour work

Instead of playing with colour, I decided to decorate the top instead. The curls I used for decoration I made from a previous soap, one I didn’t like how it turned out. Using a simple potato peeler, I peeled off curls from a bar of soap. It’s very easy, but you have to do it before the soap has become too hard and brittle. By the way, this is also a very cool way to use up the end-bits of soaps. I’m all for zero-waste, and that includes using every last bit of soap!

If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly suggest you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.

Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!

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ONE: First, prepare your lye. Weigh out the caustic soda in a small container. Measure the water in a small pyrex or other heat proof glass jug. Then carefully add the caustic soda to the water and gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Set aside to cool. To help it cool down quicker, I placed mine in a container of cold water in the sink.

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TWO: Weigh out and add the olive oil and castor oil into a large jug or pot. Pure olive oil soaps usually have a poor lather, and castor oil will help increase the lathering properties.

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THREE: Add the fragrance to your oils and stir well until the fragrance is thoroughly dispersed through the oils. Adding the fragrance to the oils, dilutes the fragrance, which helps slow down acceleration.

Wait until the lye has cooled down to room temperature, or maximum 25C (77F).

FOUR: Making sure you are still in protective gear (goggles and gloves), carefully pour the lye to the oils, avoiding any splashes. Then, using only a whisk, stir briskly until the soap mixture has emulsified and starts to thicken.

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FIVE: Pour the soap quickly into the mold. The soap will start setting immediately, so you’ll have to work quickly.

SIX: Stick the soap curls into the top of the soap, leaving about half of the curl above the surface. Cover the whole surface with the curls. Make sure you work quickly, because the soap will set and it will become more difficult to push the curls in if it has set too hard.

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SEVEN: Sprinkle gold bio-glitter over the curls.

EIGHT: Let the soap harden overnight. The following day, carefully unmold the soap and cut into bars. Leave the bars to cure for a further 8 weeks.

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Roses soap

  • Difficulty: advanced
  • Print
Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!

Ingredients

  • 950 g olive oil
  • 50 g castor oil
  • 128 g caustic soda
  • 260 ml water
  • 40 ml Rose fragrance from Candlescience
  • rose coloured soap curls (optional)
  • gold bio-glitter (optional)

Directions

  1. Prepare your lye: carefully add the caustic soda to the water and stir gently until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  2. Weigh out the oils in a large jug or pot.
  3. Add the fragrance to the oils and stir to disperse the fragrance through the oils
  4. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, carefully add it to the oils and, using only a whisk, stir until the soap starts to thicken.
  5. Pour into mold.
  6. Optional: stick curls into the surface of the soap, leaving about half of the curl above the soap. Cover the whole surface with curls
  7. Optional: sprinkle some gold bio-glitter over the curls
  8. Let the soap set and harden overnight. Unmold and cut into bars. Leave the bars to cure for a further 8 weeks.