Posted on 4 Comments

Rosemary and mint soap

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 600 g of soap
Mould: small square 4″ silicon mould

img_1515

I love these rustic looking natural soaps, which contain gentle exfoliating green and yellow clays and a blend of essential oils that is herbaceous, yet also fresh and uplifting. Rosemary and mint stand out, but not overpowering due to the refreshing citrus scent from the lemongrass essential oil. The fragrance is well-liked by both men and women, and great for the morning shower to wake you up and energise for the day!

The recipe is calculated for the small 4″ silicon mould, that holds roughly 600 ml of soap, but can easily be doubled to fit a standard loaf mould, such as the 10″ silicon mould. Both moulds are available from Pure Nature.


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.

img_5165

ONE: First prepare your lye by weighing out the caustic soda and water. And then, carefully, add the caustic soda to the water (NEVER THE OTHER WAY ROUND!), and stir until the lye water is clear. Set aside to cool down.

img_5236-1

TWO: In the meantime, weigh out the coconut oil in a heat proof jug and melt in the microwave.

img_5238-1

THREE: Weigh out and add the olive oil, sunflower oil and castor oil to the now-liquid coconut oil, and give the oils a quick stir. Set aside.

img_5235-2

FOUR: While you are waiting, prepare the essential oil blend and the clays. Add 1 teaspoon each of green clay and yellow clay into a separate container. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of water to each and stir to a slurry.

img_5242

FIVE: Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing your goggles and gloves, carefully add lye to the oils and then, using a stick blender, pulse and stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified (does not separate).

img_5246

SIX: Add the blend of essential oils to the emulsified soap mixture and give it a quick stir.

The essential oils that I am using is an fresh, herbaceous blend of rosemary, mint and lemongrass. I purchase my essential oils from Pure Nature in 250 ml bottles, which makes it a lot more economical than buying small amounts.

SEVEN: Separate the soap into roughly two equal portions and add the clays. Using your stick blender, mix each pot until the soap has thickened to a medium trace.

EIGHT: Pour the green soap first and sprinkle with poppy seeds. We’re creating a thin pencil line of poppy seeds between the two layers. And then pour the yellow soap over the top. To decorate the top, pull a fork from side to middle along the length of the mould. Repeat for the other side, and then sprinkle poppy seeds on the peak in the centre.

Place the soap somewhere warm and dry to set and cure.

img_5252

NINE: The following day, check if the soap has hardened and isn’t sticky and soft anymore. Carefully unmold, and cut it into bars. The bars of soap will need a further 6-8 weeks to cure before they are ready for use.

img_8182

Rosemary and mint soap

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

Ingredients

  • 300 g olive oil
  • 100 g coconut oil
  • 75 g sunflower oil
  • 25 g castor oil
  • 68 g caustic soda
  • 150 g water
  • 1 teaspoon green clay
  • 1 teaspoon yellow clay
  • 10 ml lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 ml rosemary essential oil
  • 5 ml peppermint essential oil
  • poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Measure out 150 g of water into a heat proof Pyrex jug. Weigh out the caustic soda and carefully add it to the water, avoiding any splashes. Gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved and the lye solution is clear. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Weigh out the coconut oil and melt in the microwave or stove top.
  3. Add the olive oil, sunflower oil and castor oil to the now-liquid coconut oil and give the oils a quick stir. Set aside.
  4. Prepare your essential oil blend. Set aside.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of yellow clay to one container and 1 teaspoon of green clay to another. Mix each colour with 1 tablespoon of water to a slurry. Set aside.
  6. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective goggles and gloves, carefully add the lye to the oils.
  7. Using a stick blender, pulse and stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified.
  8. Add the essential oils and give it another quick mix with the stick blender.
  9. Divide the soap into roughly two equal portions and colour each portion with one of the clays. Stick blend until you have medium trace.
  10. Pour the green soap into the soap mould, and sprinkle some poppy seeds over the surface of the layer.
  11. Carefully pour or scoop the yellow soap over the poppy seed layer, and then using a fork, form a peak by pulling the fork from side to centre for both sides. Sprinkle some poppy seeds along the peak in the centre.
  12. Place the soap in a warm, dry area to cure.
  13. The following day, check if the soap is firm enough to unmold. Remove from mold and cut into bars. The bars will need further curing for about 6-8 weeks until ready for use.

Posted on 2 Comments

Activated charcoal soap

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 8 small rounds of soap or approximately 750 ml of soap

img_0451

Woohoo, my teenager has finally shown interest in being clean! For someone who comes from an all girls family, I couldn’t believe how dirty little boys get and how much they like dirt! So this is a huge milestone for me (and him), though I suspect with him, it has something to do with girls… 🙂

Regardless, teenage skin can be really problematic during puberty, when hormones wreak all sorts of havoc in your body (and mind). When the first little spots and shine started showing up on your skin, it’s time to look at your skin cleansing ritual. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend using soap on your skin, but there are certain times in your life, when a good cleanse followed by a nourishing and balancing serum is just what your skin needs.

This special formulated facial bar contains activated charcoal, something that has been trending in skin care recently. Activated charcoal is a bit of a miracle ingredient. It is a form of compressed carbon with low volume pores and high surface area, which enables it to draw and bind material to itself. As a remedy it has long been used as an emergency treatment for poisoning, as it will bind the toxins and poisons to itself and prevent them from being absorbed into the body. In skin care, it helps unclog the pores through gentle exfoliation, and then draws out the impurities and oils from the skin binding them to the emulsion to be rinsed off. A special blend of detoxifying, antiseptic and soothing essential oils reduce and prevent infections and calm the skin.

After cleansing your skin with the activated charcoal facial soap, follow up by massaging a few drops of this balancing and soothing skin serum formulated to help regulate sebum production, reduce and help prevent acne, promote skin healing, reduce scarring and keep your skin feeling and looking fresh and healthy.

Balancing skin serum for acne prone skins
(Also good for mature skins who suffer from late onset acne)

 

  • 15 ml jojoba oil
  • 10 ml rose hip oil
  • 3 ml castor oil
  • 10 drops rose geranium essential oil
  • 6 drops lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 drops sandalwood essential oil
  • 3 drops juniper berry essential oil
  • 3 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil

Blend everything together and apply 3-4 drops to face and massage in gently. Use twice daily after cleansing.

Please note that this is a skin serum, which has a lower dilution (5%) than most aromatherapy applications, but is therefore applied in smaller amounts to skin.

By the way, my son has been using this soap and serum for about two months now, and I can really say that his skin has improved so much and looks so amazingly good again!


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.

img_9540

ONE: Measure out your water in a heat proof jug or container. In another small container weigh out your caustic soda and then carefully add it to the water (NEVER THE OTHER WAY ROUND), and stir until it has completely dissolved. Add 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate and 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid. Set aside to cool down.

The sodium lactate adds hardness to the soap and also has humectant properties, which means it will draw moisture to the skin. The citric acid reduces the pH of the soap and will make the soap milder for the skin.

 

TWO: In a separate large Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter. Either heat in the microwave (if using a Pyrex jug) or on the stove (if using a pot), until the oil and butter has completely melted.

I’ve added shea butter to the recipe because it helps to condition and maintain a balanced skin, and contains anti-inflammatory and soothing triterpenes.

img_9557

THREE: Weigh out the liquid oils (olive oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil and castor oil) and add them to the now-liquid coconut oil and shea butter. Give the oils a quick stir to mix everything together.

FOUR: Make sure you are still wearing your goggles and gloves. Check if the lye has cooled down to room temperature or a little more (below 32 deg C), then carefully add it to the oils and then using a stick blender, pulse and stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified (does not separate).

FIVE: Add a tablespoon of activated charcoal and stir it in well with your stick blender.

By the way, activated charcoal is one of the few additives that you can add directly to your soap without having to dilute or mix it with another medium beforehand. Just letting you know, because I have had quite a few students come up to me and ask me because activated charcoal can be so messy to mix. No need and keep your workspace clean!

img_9565-1

SIX: Add the specially formulated essential oils blend to the soap mixture.

These have been chosen for their cleansing, antiseptic, but also soothing and calming qualities, which will help detoxify the skin, prevent and soothe inflammation and infections.

SEVEN: Keep stick blending the soap mixture until it has thickened to a medium trace. Then pour it in the cavities of your soap mold and leave it to set and harden in the mold overnight.

Alternatively, you can use a small loaf mould with at least 700 ml volume, and then cut them into bars.

img_9747

EIGHT: The following day, check if the soap has hardened and isn’t sticky and soft anymore, and then carefully unmold, and leave them to cure for another 6-8 weeks before they are ready for use.

img_0171

Activated charcoal soap

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

Ingredients

  • 200 g olive oil
  • 175 g coconut oil
  • 100 g sunflower oil
  • 50 g rice bran oil
  • 50 g shea butter
  • 25 g castor oil
  • 80 g caustic soda
  • 150 g water
  • 1 teaspoon sodium lactate
  • 1/2 teaspoon citric acid
  • 1 tablespoon activated charcoal
  • 8 ml lavender essential oil
  • 5 ml tea tree essential oil
  • 5 ml lemongrass essential oil
  • 2 ml rosemary essential oil

Directions

  1. Measure out 150 g of water into a heat proof Pyrex jug. Weigh out 80 g caustic soda and carefully add it to the water, avoiding any splashes. Gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved and the lye water is clear.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate and 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid to the lye solution. Set aside to cool down.
  3. In a large heat proof Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter. Heat in microwave (if Pyrex jug) or stove (if pot) until all the oil and butter has melted.
  4. Add the olive oil, sunflower oil, rice bran oil and castor oil to the now-liquid coconut oil and shea butter, and give the oils a quick stir.
  5. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective goggles and gloves, carefully add the lye to the oils.
  6. Using a stick blender, pulse and stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal and mix with the stick blender.
  8. Add the essential oils and keep stick blending until the soap mixture has thickened to a medium trace.
  9. Pour the soap into the mold and leave to harden overnight.
  10. The next day, check if the soap is firm enough to unmold. Remove from mold and leave to cure for a further 6-8 weeks until ready for use.

Posted on Leave a comment

5X Sweet Orange Soap

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

img_0156

Citrus oils are very volatile and can lose their scent quickly in soaps, especially when they heat up during gelling in cold process. Using a concentrated orange essential oil removes some of these lower boiling components, mainly the terpenes, which intensifies the scent and makes it also longer lasting in soaps, but also removes some of the phytotoxicity. The higher the concentration the stronger the scent will be. Higher concentrated essential oils can also colour your soap, ranging from yellow to orange. Sometimes the colour can fade during curing, but the stronger tints tend to stay.

In this tutorial I am using the ‘5-fold’ orange essential oil from Pure Nature, which has an amazing intense fruity orange fragrance, and I can confirm that the scent is still strong after the obligatory 6 week curing time. This is definitely one of my favourite orange oils!

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.

img_9538

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.

img_9548

TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter, and heat in the microwave or stove top until the oil and butter have melted. This particular recipe will give you a nice solid bar of soap with a creamy lather due to the coconut and shea butter it contains.

img_9549

THREE: Add the olive oil and castor oil to the now liquid coconut oil and shea butter. I’m using pomace olive oil here because it makes for a harder bar than the cold pressed olive oil and doesn’t need as long a curing time. I also find that the pomace oil I’m using makes a whiter soap than my other olive oils, but I know that’s not the case with all pomace oils.

FOUR:  Add the ‘5-fold’ orange essential oil and give everything a good stir. As you can see on the bottle the Latin name is Citrus sinensis, which is the same as the normal sweet orange essential oil. The only difference being that is a 5-fold concentration than the normal essential oil.

img_9571

FIVE: Make sure you are (still) wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye solution to the oils, avoiding any splashes.

img_9572

SIX: Use your stick blender and alternatively pulse and stir until the mixture has emulsified and thickened to a medium trace.

SEVEN: Pour the soap into your loaf mould and sprinkle some calendula petals over the top for decoration.

img_9586

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: the soap will have a yellow-golden colour to it in the beginning but this will fade over time, leaving only a light yellow tinge.

img_0148

5x Sweet Orange 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

  • 550 g olive oil
  • 300 g coconut oil
  • 100 g shea butter
  • 50 g castor oil
  • 138 g caustic soda
  • 260 g water
  • 50 ml 5x orange essential oil
  • optional: calendula petals

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 shea butter and heat in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
  3. Add the olive oil and castor oil.
  4. Measure out and add the essential oil and give everything a good stir.
  5. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified and thickened to a medium trace.
  6. Pour the soap into the soap mould. Optional: sprinkle some calendula petals over the surface.
  7. 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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Coconut rose body scrub

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 15 min
Yields: 2 pots of about 125 ml each

img_8376

Not to toot my own horn, but I love, love, love this scrub! The combination of the Himalayan pink salt, coconut oil and rose petals leaves my skin feeling so smooth and clean, and yet also extremely soft and moisturised. And I love that I can use this and not have to worry about having to moisturise afterwards. Like most mums, I don’t have a lot of time to spend in the bathroom! I’m really amazed (and grateful) at how effective scrubs are and how simple and quick they are to make. I never used to use scrubs until I made the coffee scrub earlier this year, and now I can’t live shower without them!

Salt scrubs work by exfoliate your skin by removing the dead skin cells from the outer layer. This leaves your skin smooth, but without added oils, your skin would also feel tight and dry. Think of after swimming in the sea. The salt draws the moisture out of your skin. The coconut oil in the scrub will moisturise your skin, while the salt exfoliates, and the combination of the two is why your skin will feel so soft after using.

img_8317

ONE: Combine the Himalayan pink salt, one tablespoon of glycerin, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a bowl and mix well. If the coconut oil is hard, melt it for a couple of seconds in the microwave. The glycerin is added to help emulsify the scrub when you rub it on your skin and make it more effective.

TWO: Add 5 drops of your favourite rose fragrance or essential oil and give it another good stir. I used Rose Anatolia oil, which smells absolutely divine!

img_8318-2.jpg

THREE: Sprinkle through some rose petals for decoration and fragrance. Both the salt and the glycerin will help preserve the colour, so unlike in soap, where the rose petals turn brown, these will keep their colour!

Scoop the mixture in a nice decorative pot and place the lid on. Because it will be used in the shower, look for a plastic or glass pot without a metal lid, or something that will not rust.

Regarding preservatives or the lack of it, both the salt and the glycerin are considered preservatives and will prevent mould and fungi, despite water coming in contact with it.

img_8331

Coconut rose scrub

  • Difficulty: beginners
  • Print

Ingredients

  • one cup of fine Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tablespoon of glycerin
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 5 drops of rose oil
  • rose petals
  • 2 pots approx. 125 ml volume each

Directions

  1. Combine the salt, glycerin, coconut oil in a bowl and mix well. If the coconut oil is hard, melt it for a few seconds in the microwave before adding.
  2. Add 5 drops of rose oil and give it another good stir.
  3. Sprinkle through some rose petals and then scoop into pots. Enjoy!

Posted on 7 Comments

Calendula citrus soap

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1200 g soap or 9 soaps

img_8380

I love using the calendula infused sunflower oil from Pure Nature. Even a little amount will give my soaps a beautiful, deep golden hue. But in this soap I’m not just using it as a natural colourant. Calendula, also commonly known as marigold, has been used throughout history as a skin healer, due to its soothing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. This makes it an ideal additive in soaps aimed specifically at sensitive skins.

You can make your own calendula infused oil by following the tutorial here, using your own flowers from your garden or by purchasing organic dried calendula flowers from Pure Nature.

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!

img_5166

ONE: Making sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves, measure out the water in a Pyrex jug or other heat proof non-metallic container.  Then, in a separate container (I use a little plastic cup for this), weigh out the caustic soda. Carefully, add the caustic soda to the water, and avoiding any splashes, keep stirring until the lye water is clear. Add two teaspoons of sodium lactate, a natural additive derived from a fruit sugar, which will help harden the soap. Set the lye aside to cool down.

img_5219

TWO: In a separate large Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the coconut oil and either heat in the microwave (if using a Pyrex jug) or on the stove (if using a pot), until completely melted.

img_5222

THREE: Weigh out the olive oil, calendula infused sunflower oil and castor oil to the now-liquid coconut oil, and give it a quick stir.

img_5225

FOUR: Make sure you are still wearing your goggles and gloves. When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, carefully add it to the oils and then using a stick blender, pulse and stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified (does not separate).

img_5226

FIVE: Add the essential oils and keep mixing with the stick blender until the soap has thickened to a medium trace.

I’ve formulated a special synergistic blend of essential oils (lemon, sweet orange, mandarin, bergamot and spearmint) to compliment and boost the skin healing properties of calendula, although each of the essential oils can lay claim to their own beneficial traits, including anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties, promoting cell regeneration and growth, and having a soothing and calming effect on skin.

img_5227

SIX: Once you have reached medium trace, pour the soap into the soap mold. The soap mould I’m using here is a 9 cavity cube silicon soap mould. Pure Nature has a similar mold with 25 cavities.

img_5232-1

SEVEN: Because of the amounts of soft oils (olive oil, sunflower oil, castor oil) used in this recipe, the soap may take a little longer than usual to be firm enough to unmold. If it is still soft and sticky, leave it for another few days before checking. I did my second batch of this recipe when it was very humid here, and it took more than a week before I could unmold the soap.

img_5286

ATTENTION: The picture above is of the soap after it had cured for 6 weeks. After 3 months it was still golden, but slightly paler. Six months on, the soap is losing the beautiful golden hue and at the moment isn’t looking too flash –  yellow and white flecked soap. I just wanted to let you all know and I’ll keep you updated with what the soap is doing. My guess: it will fade to white over the next months 🙁

Calendula citrus soap

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

Ingredients

  • 500 g olive oil
  • 250 g coconut oil
  • 200 g calendula infused sunflower oil
  • 50 g castor oil
  • 133 g caustic soda
  • 250 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons sodium lactate
  • 10 ml lemon essential oil
  • 8 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 6 ml mandarin essential oil
  • 4 ml bergamot essential oil
  • 2 ml spearmint essential oil

Directions

  1. Measure out 250 ml of water into a heat proof Pyrex jug. Weigh out the caustic soda and carefully add it to the water, avoiding any splashes. Gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved and the lye water is clear.
  2. Add 2 teaspoon of sodium lactate to the lye water. Set the lye aside to cool down.
  3. In a large heat proof Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the coconut oil, and heat in microwave (if Pyrex jug) or stove (if pot) until completely melted.
  4. Add the olive oil, calendula infused sunflower oil and castor oil to the melted coconut oil and give it a quick stir.
  5. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective goggles and gloves, carefully add the lye to the oils.
  6. Using a stick blender, pulse and stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified.
  7. Add the essential oils and keep stick blending until the soap mixture has thickened to a medium trace.
  8. Pour the soap into the mold and leave to harden for several days.
  9. After 2-3 days, check if the soap is firm enough to unmold, otherwise leave it to set for another few days before checking again. The soaps will need to cure for at least 10-12 weeks before they’re ready to use.