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Dog soap for sensitive skin

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 mins
Yields: 6 small soaps

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Skin pH is a tricky thing. And while certain ingredients used in soaps and shampoos might be great for our skin and hair, it doesn’t mean it’s also good for our canine friends and can cause itching, flakiness and be generally irritating to a dog.

Human skin has a pH level on the acidic side, around 5.5, which helps us combat germs and infection on our skin. Dogs, however, have a much more neutral skin pH, between 6.5 and 8, which is why it so important to use the right products for dogs as not to irritate their skin.

I always test a soap or any product that is designated for use on dogs. Since soaps have a tendency to be slightly more alkaline, a good trick is to add citric acid. One teaspoon of citric acid to 1000 g of soap can bring the pH down approximately by 0.5. So you don’t need much.

This recipe is formulated especially for sensitive skins, with colloidal oatmeal, castor oil and a special blend of essential oils, all which help restore, balance and soothe sensitive skins.

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ONE: Cut the soap into small cubes and add them to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 20 second bursts, until the soap has melted. Try to avoid the soap from reaching boiling point!

I am using shea butter melt and pour soap base, because shea butter is great for dry and sensitive skins and helps balance and nourish the skin. Alternatively, you can also use the triple butter melt and pour soap base, which is more nourishing, or the SLS-free white melt and pour base, for very sensitive skins.

TWO: Add two teaspoons of colloidal oatmeal and a sprinkle of citric acid (just a teeny tiny amount) to 1 teaspoon of castor oil, and mix well, and then add the mixture to the soap. (In the picture I added the oatmeal directly to the soap, and as you can see it has formed clumps, which despite whisking furiously, I couldn’t make disappear). Oatmeal has been used throughout time to soothe dry, irritated and inflamed skin. In addition, it is also full of skin-loving vitamins and minerals, which help nourish the skin. I’m also adding castor oil, which is also known to help restore skin’s moisture balance and helps promote a healthy, shiny coat.

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THREE: Lastly add this special blend of essential oils, which soothes and calms sensitive skin, and helps fight off germs and infection and also acts as a flea-repellent:

  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil

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FOUR: Give everything a good stir to ensure everything is well dispersed throughout the soap and then pour it into your mold. I’m using little paw molds that I found on AliExpress. Leave the soaps to harden for a few hours before unmolding. Make sure you package these soaps into little cello bags or glad wrap, because these melt and pour soap bases attract humidity and little beads of moisture will form on the surface if not properly packaged.

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Dog soap for sensitive skin

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 240g shea butter melt and pour soap base
  • 2 teaspoon colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon castor oil
  • citric acid
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops tea tree essential oil

Directions

  1. Cut the soap into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add 2 teaspoon of colloidal oatmeal, and a sprinkle of citric acid to 1 teaspoon of castor oil, and add the mixture to the melted soap.
  4. Add the essential oils and give everything a good stir to mix thoroughly into the soap.
  5. Pour the soap into  your soap mold and leave to set and harden before unmolding.
  6. Package the soap into little cello bags or glad wrap.

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Natural dog soap

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

With the weather warming up (finally!) and summer approaching here in New Zealand, we also find ourselves battling some unwanted visitors in our dogs’ furs. Fleas love warm and humid weather, and it’s practically impossible to avoid them. It is a battle I fight every spring, even if our dog (see picture below) seems to be less disturbed by them than my thought of him having fleas.

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I have been asked several times for a specially formulated dog soap, and knowing how expensive some of the dog shampoos and soaps can be, and that not all of the are good for our canine friends, I set about to find out more about dogs’ skins and coats, and what is good and not good for them. So after some research, formulating and tweaking, I have come up with a soap recipe that will not only keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and shiny, but will also keep those fleas at bay!

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: To prepare the lye, first measure out the water in a heat proof Pyrex jug. Then, in a separate container (I use a little plastic cup for this), weigh out the caustic soda. Make sure you are wearing protective goggles and gloves. Carefully, add the caustic soda to the water (NEVER THE OTHER WAY ROUND!), and avoiding any splashes, stir until the lye water is clear. Add two teaspoons of sodium lactate, which will help harden the soap and set aside to cool.

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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. I find it also helps with dogs who have sensitive skins and those who have been over-treated with harsh shampoos. Dogs have a more alkaline skin than humans, which is why their skins can be quite sensitive and reactive, and why it is particularly important to use the right products on their furs.

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

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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).

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FIVE: Add your essential oils. I’m using only half-strength in this recipe, because not only are dogs’ skins sensitive, their noses are particularly sensitive to smells and dogs really don’t like strong scents. So I’m keeping the amount of essential oils I’m using in this recipe down to a minimum. Feel free to omit the essential oils if you prefer, or if your dog is flea-free.

The essential oils I’m using are lavender and lemon eucalyptus, both which have flea-repelling properties, plus lavender is also soothing for the skin. If you want to add different essential oils, make sure that they are not toxic to your dog, and avoid any photosensitive essential oils, such as citrus.

SIX: Add two tablespoons of neem oil to the soap. Neem oil is a well-known insect repellent, which is why you find it in many dog shampoos and soaps. What might be lesser well-known is that neem oil is also wonderful  for the skin because of its anti-flammatory properties. Again, particular beneficial for dogs with sensitive skins. In addition, both neem oil and castor oil help promote a shiny coat.

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SEVEN: Keep stick blending the soap mixture until it has thickened to a medium trace. Then pour it in your soap mold and leave it to harden in the mold for several days.

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EIGHT: After 2 or 3 days, check if the soap has hardened and isn’t sticky and soft anymore. Carefully unmold, and leave to dry out for another couple of days before cutting it into bars. The bars of soap will need a further 8 weeks to cure before they are ready for use.

Please note that neem oil has a very strong scent, but this WILL mellow out a bit once the soap cures!

Natural dog soap

  • Difficulty: intermediate
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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
  • 100 g sunflower oil
  • 100 g shea butter
  • 50 g castor oil
  • 138 g caustic soda
  • 270 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons sodium lactate
  • 2 tablespoons neem oil
  • 10 ml lavender essential oil
  • 10 ml lemon eucalyptus essential oil

Directions

  1. Measure out 270 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 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 and castor oil to the now-liquid coconut oil and shea butter, and give it all a quick stir.
  5. If 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 neem oil.
  8. Keep stick blending until the soap mixture has thickened to a medium trace.
  9. Pour the soap into the mold and leave to harden for several days.
  10. After 2-3 days, check if the soap is firm enough to unmold. Remove from mold and leave to dry for another couple of days, before cutting into bars. The bars will need further curing for about 8 weeks until ready for use.

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Father’s Day week

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It’s Father’s Day week, so get ready for some fun and easy, soapy projects and ideas to make for dad. There’s nothing that says I love you like a homemade gift! All the projects are suitable for younger kids under adult supervision. Older kids will be able to make these by themselves. Add a colourful label, and you’ll have the perfect Father’s Day gift!

You can use melt and pour soap to create all sorts of different kinds of soaps: layered, colourful or sparkly soaps, add a loofah to make a scrubby soap, carve some amazing soap crystals or make some funky looking stone soap block. Check out the tutorial on how to use melt and pour soap bases.

If your dad likes having baths, why not have the kids make some cool bath bombs for dad? All you need is baking soda, citric acid, food colouring and fragrance. Here’s the link to the basic bath bomb tutorial. Bath bombs are so easy and fun to make!

Is your dad a fisherman? How about making him a fish in the water jelly soap? A very useful soap is this Fisherman’s Soap, a  soap containing aniseed oil, which is a fish attractant and masks the scent of the fisherman. Do note that this is a cold process soap project, so it will need to cure for a few weeks before dad can use it.

And here’s a sneak peek for tomorrow’s tutorial:

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Shaving soap

If you’re wanting to order the ingredients from Pure Nature in advance, this is what you’ll need for the shaving soap: white melt and pour soap base, bentonite clay, castor oil, fragrance or essential oils, 150g aluminium pot. Alternatively use a special Dad mug.

For the skin soothing shaving balm you will need: calendula infused oil, coconut oil, beeswax, sandalwood essential oil, peppermint essential oil, 150g aluminium pot.

Pure Nature has some wonderful masculine and uni-sex fragrances. Some of my favourite ones are Driftwood, Clean Cotton, Leather, Australian Sandalwood, and Ocean Breeze.

Essential oil blends

Pure Nature also stocks an extensive range of essential oils. I’ve created the following essential oil blends that are particularly appealing to men. Use these in your soap projects or create a cologne for your dad (recipe below)!

Woodsy:  3 parts cypress, 2 parts fir, 2 parts juniper, 1 part black pepper

Herbaceous: 1 part basil, 2 parts lemongrass, and 1 part peppermint

Spice: 3 parts bay west indies, 2 parts sweet orange, 2 parts lime and 1 part clove

Citrus: 1 part eucalyptus, 2 parts grapefruit, 1 part lime

Sensual: 2 parts cardamom, 1 part vetiver, 1 part ylang ylang


DIY Men’s Cologne

You can make your own men’s cologne using the essential oil blends above. Here are two quick and easy recipes for an oil-based and an alcohol-based cologne:

Alcohol-based cologne

  • 50 ml vodka
  • 40 drops essential oil blend
  • small glass spray bottle

Oil-based cologne

  • 30 ml grapeseed oil
  • 24 drops essential oil blend
  • 10 drops vitamin E
  • small glass bottle

So what will you be making for Father’s Day? Comment below!