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Skin brightening soap

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

Over the years I have been repeatedly asked for a skin whitening soap, but I’ve always been hesitant for going in this direction. The reason for my reluctance is that I believe everyone is beautiful, regardless of their skin colour and ethnicity, and we should stop striving to reach what are sometimes impossible beauty standards. However, after a little research, I realised that there is some benefit to these skin brightening (not actually whitening) products. The purpose of most such products is not to ‘bleach’ or ‘whiten’ the skin, but to chemically exfoliate, dissolving the glue holding the dead skin cells and removing them, which will leave your skin looking fresh and bright.

Admittedly, there are some ingredients that do have an inhibitory effect on melanin production, but these are not without their own risks, including skin irritation and hyper pigmentation. Here’s an interesting study about skin whitening agents: https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/3/3/27/htm

This recipe I formulated for this shower and bath soap contains papaya and corn silk, two known skin brightening ingredients. Papaya is a popular ingredient in skin whitening products. It doesn’t actually have an inhibiting effect on melanin production. Instead, the enzyme papain contained in papaya works as an excellent chemical exfoliant, dissolving the glue between dead skin cells. Corn silk, on the other hand, can reduce skin pigmentation, as studies have shown: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260527233_Inhibitory_Effect_of_Corn_Silk_on_Skin_Pigmentation. It works by directly interfering with the melanin production. However, in this soap, I am using the corn silk as a mechanical exfoliant, which will help with the removal of the dead skin cells after the papain has loosened them from the skin. Together, they will make your skin look and feel fresh, rejuvenate and boost cell renewal, and help prepare the skin for optimal absorption of your (skin whitening) moisturiser or lotion.


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.

ONE: Prepare your lye as usual and leave to cool down before placing it in the fridge. You will want the lye solution to be fridge temperature (around 4 degrees Celsius). This is important, because the papaya contains sugar and will heat up the soap.

TWO: While the lye solution is cooling down, we can prepare all the other ingredients. First, weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter in a microwaveable jug or bowl, and heat in the microwave until the oils have melted.

THREE: Then, add the olive oil and rice bran oil to the now melted coconut oil and shea butter. Set aside for now.

FOUR: Next, scoop out about 1/2 cup papaya and add the corn silk (fresh or dried) of about 2-3 cobs of corn (a small handful) to a food processor or bullet. Blend until the mixture is as smooth as you can make it.

FIVE: Add the papaya and corn silk puree to the oils and mix it well with a whisk or stick blender.

SIX: Once your lye solution is sufficiently cold (fridge temperature), carefully pour it to the oils/puree mixture and use your stick blender to mix it until it has emulsified.

SEVEN: Add the essential oils or fragrance to the oils/puree mixture and continue mixing with the stick blender until thin to medium trace.

I used a blend of lemon (20 ml) and sandalwood (10 ml) essential oils, which are known for their skin brightening effects.

EIGHT: Pour the soap into your mould and place it in the fridge for several hours to prevent overheating.

NINE: After 2-3 hours, remove the soap from the fridge and leave it on the kitchen bench overnight to set and harden. DO NOT INSULATE THE SOAP!

TEN: The following day, unmould the soap and cut into bars. The bars will need a further 6-8 weeks of curing before they can be used.

Skin Brightening 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

  • 400 g olive oil
  • 350 g coconut oil
  • 100 g shea butter
  • 150 g rice bran oil
  • 135 g caustic soda
  • 200 g water
  • 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate
  • 20 ml lemon essential oil
  • 20 ml sandalwood 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.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate to the lye solution. This is to help harden the soap.
  3. Place the lye solution in the fridge to cool down to fridge temperature.
  4. Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter and melt in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
  5. Add the olive oil and rice bran oil to the now liquid coconut oil and shea butter.
  6. Next, blend approximately 1/2 cup of papaya and a small handful of corn silk in a food processor or bullet blender.
  7. Add the papaya and corn silk puree to the oils and give it a good stir with a whisk or a quick pulse with a stick blender.
  8. Add the essential oils. Or use your own fragrance.
  9. Once the lye solution is cold, and making sure you are still wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until you reach medium trace.
  10. Pour the soap into your soap mould and place it in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
  11. After 2-3 hours, remove the soap from the fridge and leave to set overnight. DO NOT INSULATE THE SOAP.
  12. The following day, unmould the soap and cut into bars. The bars will need to cure for a further 6-8 weeks until ready for use.

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Natural deodorant

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 20 mins
Yields: 1 tube (85 ml)

Having tried all sorts of natural deodorants, including crystal deodorants (remember those), and being quite fussy when it comes to deodorants, I decided to create my own.

This solid deodorant is completely natural, including the environmental friendly cardboard tube it comes in, which you can order from Go Native. It contains no aluminium or other synthetic ingredients. Likewise, it contains no baking soda, which can be irritating to some skins (like mine) and other harsh ingredients. Instead, I focussed on using only natural ingredients that are effective, yet mild on the skin.

To absorb sweat, I used a combination of tapioca starch and bentonite clay. Bentonite clay is a highly absorbent natural clay (see this article about the properties of clays), and it will keep you feeling dry and clean.

Shea butter helps with the glide, but it is also moisturising and easily absorbed into the skin. This helps leave the absorbing clay and starch on the surface of the skin to do its work, without creating a messy paste.

Avocado is also well absorbed into the skin, but it also contains beneficial nutrients and vitamins, to help keep your skin healthy and nourished.

Beeswax is what makes this deodorant solid and at these proportions will deliver just the right amount of deodorant to your skin. Not too much and not to little!

And lastly I used a special blend of essential oils to keep you feeling fresh:

  • Lemon myrtle: like tea tree, it is anti-bacterial, killing off those smelly bacteria, but unlike tea tree, it has a pleasant fresh lemon scent!
  • Rosemary: has also antiseptic properties, helping to keep your skin healthy
  • Lime: is refreshing but is also deodorising and cleansing
  • Spearmint: not only refreshingly cool, but it will also help soothe skin. Great for sensitive, irritating skins (especially from shaving!)

All the ingredients, including the essential oils, are available from Pure Nature.

ONE: Weigh out your avocado oil, beeswax, and shea butter in a small pot. I use my pot straight on the stove, but if you prefer you can use a double boiler or bain marie method. Heat on the lowest setting on your stove until all the beeswax and shea butter has melted.

TWO: Stir in the tapioca starch and bentonite clay and mix briskly using a whisk.

THREE: Add the essential oils, and mix.

FOUR: Pour the mixture into the tube. If the mixture has started to set, just pop it back on the stove for a moment until it becomes fluid again.

Once you’ve filled the tube, let it set and cool down completely before putting the lid on. This will prevent condensation forming on the inside of the lid.

Natural solid deodorant

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 30 g beeswax
  • 20 g shea butter
  • 30 g avocado oil
  • 20 g tapioca starch
  • 15 g bentonite clay
  • 25 drops lemon myrtle essential oil
  • 15 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 15 drops lime essential oil
  • 5 drops spearmint essential oil

Directions

  • Melt the beeswax, shea butter and avocado oil in a small pot on the lowest setting on your stove.
  • Using a whisk, mix in the tapioca starch and bentonite clay.
  • Add the essential oils.
  • If the mixture has started to set, gently heat it on the stove again until fluid.
  • Pour the mixture into the tube. Let it cool down completely before putting the lid on.
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Lemon Myrtle Soap

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

Recently I was debating the benefits manuka essential oil vs tea tree essential oil, when one of my Australian soap friends mentioned Lemon Myrtle. I’d heard of lemon myrtle before, but I’d never used it in any of my products. Discussing the properties of lemon myrtle soap, I soon came to realise that lemon myrtle is totally underrated. We always think of tea tree oil as being The Wonder-Oil, but lemon myrtle (Backhousia citriodora), also native to Australia, is just as powerful if not more so. And it has the added bonus that, unlike tea tree, it smells delicious! (Can you tell I’m not a huge fan of the tea tree scent?)

So let’s begin with the fragrance. Lemon myrtle is said to smell more lemon-y than lemon itself, and I’d say that statement is pretty accurate. Lemon myrtle oil contains more citral compound, which is what gives lemon its lemon scent, than lemon oil. In fact, lemon myrtle has over 90% pure citral compound compared to 10% found in lemons. In soap, the fragrance of lemon myrtle essential oil is also stronger and longer lasting than lemon essential oil, which, like all citrus oils, are very volatile and fleeting, and don’t hold well in soap. Lemon myrtle is definitely more expensive than lemon, if you are going for fragrance only, but there is a lot more to lemon myrtle than just a pleasant aroma.

Like tea tree and manuka, it is considered to have anti-viral, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic properties, but is also anti-inflammatory, soothing and calming, reduces redness and itchiness, and has an uplifting and refreshing effect on the mind. Like the popular tea tree/lavender combination, it can be used to treat problem skins, cuts and grazes, insect bites and stings, rashes, inflammations and infections. In soap, which is a wash off product, it adds an antimicrobial and antiseptic aspect to the cleansing properties of the soap, which makes it ideal for hand soaps, which need that bit of extra disinfection from dirt, grime and germs.

The soap we are making here is a natural, yet effective hand soap, to which I’ve added lemon peel powder to give it a bit of extra scrub. Both the lemon myrtle essential oil and lemon peel powder I am using in this soap 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 made cold-process soap before, I strongly recommend you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.

ONE: Prepare your lye as usual and leave to cool down to room temperature. I’ve added 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate, which is a natural additive, to my lye solution to make the soap harder and easier to unmould.

TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter in a microwaveable jug or bowl, and heat in the microwave until the oils have melted.

THREE: Add the liquid oils to the melted coconut oil and shea butter.

FOUR: Add the lemon myrtle essential oil to the oils, and give everything a good stir.

FIVE: Once your lye solution has cooled down to room temperature, add the lye to the oils.

Use your stick blender to mix the lye/oil blend until it has emulsified, and is still fluid. For those working with trace, you’ll want a thin trace.

SIX: Separate 1/3 of the soap into a separate jug or bowl.

SEVEN: To the remaining 2/3 of the soap, add 1 tablespoon of lemon peel powder. Lemon peel powder is a gentle exfoliant, unlike pumice, so if you want more exfoliation, you can add a heaped tablespoon of lemon peel powder.

Mix with the stick blender until medium trace – thin enough to pour, but thick enough to be able to support layers.

EIGHT: Give the smaller portion of soap in the jug, a quick burst with the stick blender to thicken up the soap to the same consistency of the lemon peel powder soap. Then add 1 heaped teaspoon of poppy seeds, and then stir it through with a spatula or spoon.

NINE: To assemble the soap, first pour about half of the lemon peel powder soap into the mould, and gently tap the mould on the bench to even out the layer. Next, pour all of the poppy seed soap over the first layer. To prevent the soap from breaking through and disturbing the previous layer, pour the soap over the flat part of the spatula to spread out the stream of pour. Lastly, pour the remainder of the lemon peel powder soap over the poppy seed layer.

TEN: Use a spoon to texture one side of the soap, and sprinkle some poppy seeds over the other half.

ELEVEN: 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.

Lemon Myrtle 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

  • 400 g olive oil
  • 250 g coconut oil
  • 100 g shea butter
  • 200 g sunflower oil
  • 50 castor oil
  • 138 g caustic soda
  • 280 g water
  • 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate
  • 30 ml lemon myrtle essential oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon peel powder
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds

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.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate to the lye solution and set aside to cool down.
  3. Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter and melt in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
  4. Add the olive, sunflower and castor oils to the now liquid coconut oil and shea butter.
  5. Then, add 30 ml of lemon myrtle essential oil to the oils and give everything a good stir.
  6. Check if the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified (thin trace).
  7. Separate about 1/3 of the soap into a jug.
  8. To the remaining 2/3 of the soap, add 1 tablespoon of lemon peel powder and mix with the stick blender until medium trace.
  9. Give the soap portion in the jug a quick mix with the stick blender until it has the same consistency (medium trace) as the lemon peel powder soap.
  10. Then add 1 heaped teaspoon of poppy seeds to the soap and mix it through with a spoon or spatula.
  11. To assemble: first pour half of the lemon peel powder soap into the mould, then pour all of the poppy seed soap over the first layer, and lastly, pour the remaining lemon peel powder soap over the poppy seed layer.
  12. Use a spoon to texture one half of the soap surface, and sprinkle poppy seeds over the other half.
  13. 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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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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Activated charcoal soap

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.