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Rosemary and mint soap

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Soothing aftershave balm

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 1 pot (150g)

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Post-shave irritation is never a good thing, which is why a good aftershave balm is a must. This all-natural balm has the skin-healing and soothing benefits of the infused calendula oil, the anti-inflammatory properties of sandalwood essential oil and the cooling effect of peppermint essential oil, and the added coconut oil is an excellent moisturiser and conditioner, leaving your skin soft and calm.

You can either make your own calendula infused oil using this tutorial, or you can purchase it from Pure Nature. All the other ingredients, including the pretty aluminium pot are also available from Pure Nature.

Making a balm is fairly straight forward. You can either combine all the ingredients, except for the essential oils, in a Pyrex jug and heat it in the microwave until the beeswax has melted, or you can heat it gently on a low setting on the stove.

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Once the all the ingredients have melted, let it sit and cool down a little, before adding the essential oil. If you add the essential oils too early, the heat will evaporate the volatile essential oils and reduce the effectiveness of the benefits. However, don’t let it cool down so that the liquid begins to harden, if it does, you will need to melt it again.

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When you have added the essential oils, stir well to disperse the oils well into the mixture, and then pour it into your container. Leave the container open until the balm has completely cooled down and solidified before putting the lid on. This is to prevent condensation from forming on the lid.

This balm will make a great gift in combination with the shaving soap found here!

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Soothing aftershave balm

  • Difficulty: beginners
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Ingredients

  • 80 ml calendula infused oil
  • 40 g coconut oil
  • 30 g beeswax
  • 1 ml sandalwood essential oil
  • 0.5 ml peppermint essential oil
  • 150 ml aluminium pot

Directions

  1. Combine the calendula infused oil, coconut oil and beeswax in a heatproof Pyrex jug and melt in the microwave until fully liquid. (Alternatively, use a pot and heat on low setting on stove).
  2. Leave to cool down a little, and then add the essential oils.
  3. Pour into pot and let cool down and harden completely before putting the lid on.

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Creamy shaving soap

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 1 pot (150g)


This is a recipe for a wet shaving soap with a rich, creamy lather that prevents razor burn. Added bentonite clay will give the soap extra ‘slip’ allowing the razor to glide smoothly over the skin, and the benefit of adding a little extra castor oil is to soothe and calm the skin.

I created this tutorial especially for Father’s Day, and my son is making his shaving soap in a special mug for dad (who’s a huge Star Wars fan!). If a mug is not your cup of tea (pun intended!), you can use aluminium 150g pots, which you can buy from Pure Nature, or use any other suitable container.

The other ingredients you will need are bentonite clay, castor oil and of course a melt and pour soap base. You can choose any soap base, although I would suggest something with extra conditioning, like the shea butter soap base, or the triple butter soap base. You will also need a fragrance or you can use one of the essential oil blends that I blogged about earlier (see here).

ONE: Measure out the amount of melt and pour soap that you need. I am using 150g of white melt and pour base. Cut it in small cubes and add it to a heat proof bowl or Pyrex jug.

TWO: Heat in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds until melted.

THREE: Add 2 teaspoons of bentonite clay and stir well. Note that, this time, I’m not pre-mixing the clay in water or alcohol. This is because bentonite is a swelling clay and would absorb the water, and we want to prevent that.

FOUR: Add 1 teaspoon of castor oil and again stir well.

FIVE: Add your fragrance or essential oil blend. I’m adding 1 ml of Driftwood soap fragrance from Pure Nature, which has a lovely light woodsy scent. If the man you are making this for has sensitive skin, I would add only half this amount (0.5 ml). Remember, this is a shaving soap, so you want to prevent irritating the skin. You can also leave the shaving soap fragrance-less, but I have found a little fragrance, even if it is only a few drops is usually better received by the men. For example, you can use this very nice and fresh essential oil blend for sensitive skin: 5 drops lemon essential oil and 5 drops peppermint essential oil (in 150 g of melt and pour soap base).

SIX: For the last time, stir the soap thoroughly to mix everything and get rid of any clay clumps still present in the soap. Pour the soap in the container (mug or pot) and leave to cool down completely before wrapping or placing the lid on it.

Happy Father’s Day! And happy shaving!

Creamy Shaving Soap

  • Difficulty: beginner
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 150 g melt and pour soap base
  • 2 teaspoon bentonite clay
  • 1 teaspoon castor oil
  • 0.5 – 1 ml fragrance or essential oils
  • suitable container, pot or mug

Directions

  1. Cut the melt and pour in cubes and add to a heat proof bowl or Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat in microwave until melted. About 30-40 seconds.
  3. Add the bentonite clay and stir well.
  4. Add the castor oil and stir well.
  5. Add the fragrance or essential oils and stir well.
  6. Pour into container, pot or mug. Leave to cool down completely before wrapping or placing the lid on.

 

 

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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!

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Fisherman’s soap

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 5 cubes of soap

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Did you know that aniseed oil is banned from fishing competitions in certain countries, because it is said to give an unfair advantage to those using it? Apparently, aniseed oil has a particular chemical composition which acts as a fish attractant. In New Zealand, it is banned from being used as bait scent when fresh water fishing. So what better gift could you think of giving your fishing buddy than this Fisherman’s Soap, which will even lather in seawater? Washing your hands and equipment with this aniseed and lemon scented soap will mask the human scent, perfect for sneaking up on the fish!

Only soaps that are made with 100% coconut oil will manage to lather in seawater. However, pure coconut oil soaps can be drying to your skin, to prevent this, I have calculated a 15% superfatting ratio into the recipe, meaning that 15% of the oils are not saponified (turned into soap),and thus creating a slightly milder 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!

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.

TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil in a pyrex jug and heat in microwave on high for one minute or until melted. Set aside to cool.

 

THREE: When both the lye and oil have cooled down to room temperature, around 25C (77F), carefully pour the lye into the oil. Give the mixture a few pulses with the stick blender.

FOUR: Add the lemon and aniseed essential oils and continue stick blending until you reach trace.

 

 

FIVE: Next, add the poppy seeds and, using a whisk or spatula, stir to mix the seeds throughout the soap.

SIX: Pour the soap into the mold. I’m using a 9-cube silicon soap mold and the soap will fill 5 cavities, giving me approximately five 100 g soap cubes. Leave the soap in the mold overnight.

SEVEN: The following day, carefully unmold the soap and leave them to cure for another 4 weeks.


Fisherman’s soap

Ingredients

  • 400 g coconut oil
  • 62 g caustic soda
  • 100 ml water
  • 10 ml aniseed essential oil
  • 10 ml lemon essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

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

Instructions

  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 coconut oil in a pyrex jug and heat in the microwave on high for 1 minute or until melted. Set aside to cool.
  3. When both the lye and the coconut oil have cooled down to room temperature, approximately 25C (77F), carefully add the lye to the oil and stick blend briefly.
  4. Add the essential oils and continue stick blending until you reach trace.
  5. Add the poppy seeds and stir them through the soap.
  6. Pour the soap into the mold, and leave to cure overnight.
  7. The next day, unmold and leave to cure for a further 4 weeks.