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Beauty (shower) bar

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

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As I often explain in my classes, don’t put in expensive oils in your soaps, because soap is a cleansing product, which is to be rinsed off and you’d be literally flushing your money down the drain! Think of it, a bar of soap will last how many showers? Fifty? Hundred? And each time you only use the tiniest sliver of your bar of soap, which after lathering your skin, you will rinse off again, because you don’t want any soap left on your skin. Soap is not a leave-on product, it’s a rinse-off product. So keep all the expensive oils and ingredients for your moisturisers and balms, and for your soaps, concentrate on cleansing properties, which not only includes lathering qualities and hardness of a bar of soap, but also mildness, exfoliation, antiseptic, circulation boosting or astringent properties, just to mention a few.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a good soap! The special blend of essential oils I created for this Beauty (shower) Bar are known for their skin-loving properties and yet are still affordable. The soap also contains 70% olive oil, which is known to make good quality, long lasting bars of gentle cleaning bars of soap. However, a soap made of pure olive oil has a very long curing time and doesn’t really lather well, so I’ve added coconut oil to give it hardness and a nice fluffy lather. The benefit of adding shea butter to the soap is that it contains emollient and moisturising polyphenols that can’t be converted into soap, making it a great additive to soap. Cocoa butter shares similar skin-loving properties as shea butter, adding conditioning and nourishing qualities to the soap. And for mildness, I’ve increased the superfat of this soap to 8%. The only problem with this is that it also increases the risk of DOS (dreaded orange spots), so make sure you follow the instructions carefully and store your soap correctly (dry place, away from humidity!).

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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PREPARATION: Measure out the following essential oil blend:

  • 15 ml rose geranium essential oil
  • 12 ml lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 ml bergamot essential oil
  • 5 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 3 ml spearmint essential oil

Rose geranium is an all-round skin oil, which, in my opinion, doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Applied to the skin, it helps balance the sebum production of the skin, making it beneficial to both dry and oily skins, and its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and cell regenerative properties have proven it valuable for a range of skin problems. I’ve added lemongrass because I love the fresh, lemon-y scent of lemongrass, but also for its tonic and astringent properties, which leaves your skin radiant and glowing. Both lemongrass and bergamot act as deodorisers, and, in addition, bergamot supports the sebum balancing property of rose geranium. Sweet orange is a great essential oil against stress, and not just mental stress. It helps combat stressed skin, boosts circulation, yet also calms the skin at the same time. And lastly spearmint, similar to peppermint, is a wonderful for sensitive and irritated skins. If you don’t have spearmint, you can easily substitute for peppermint, although personally I prefer the fragrance of spearmint in this blend. If you are looking for essential oils, Pure Nature has high quality essential oils at reasonable prices.

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ONE: Prepare your lye as usual and leave to cool down to room temperature. Because this soap contains 70% olive oil, I added 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate, which is a natural additive, to my lye solution to make the soap harder and reduce curing time.

TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter, and heat in the microwave until the oils have melted.

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THREE: Add the olive oil to the now liquid coconut oil and butters, and give it a good stir.

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FOUR: Once your lye solution has cooled down to room temperature, add the lye to the oils. If your oils are still very warm, let it cool down a little. It’s ok if it’s a little warmer than usual, but it shouldn’t be more than 30-32 degrees Celsius.

Use your stick blender to mix the lye/oil blend until it has emulsified.

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FIVE: Add the essential oil blend and keep mixing with the stick blender until the soap has thickened to a medium trace. Pour the soap into the mould.

Use a spoon to add texture to the top of your soap and sprinkle a few rose petals over the surface.

SIX: 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.

Because of the high superfat content of the soap and the addition of essential oils, this soap is more at risk of DOS (dreaded orange spot) than usual. To avoid these pesky DOS, make sure you cure and store the soap in a dry place with good air circulation, away from humidity.

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Beauty (shower) bar

  • 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

  • 700 g olive oil
  • 200 g coconut oil
  • 50 g cocoa butter
  • 50 g shea butter
  • 132 g caustic soda
  • 260 g water
  • 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate
  • 15 ml rose geranium essential oil
  • 12 ml lemongrass essential oil
  • 5 ml bergamot essential oil
  • 5 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 3 ml spearmint essential oil

Directions

  1. Prepare the essential oil blend and set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. Add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate to the lye solution and set aside to cool down.
  4. Weigh out the coconut oil and butters and melt in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted. Add the olive oil 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 gear, carefully pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified.
  6. Add the essential oils and keep mixing with the stick blender until medium trace.
  7. Pour the soap into the soap mould and sprinkle some rose petals over the top.
  8. 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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Cleansing clay soap

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 500 g soap

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French pink clay is known to clarify and improve skin softness, but in a gentle way, which makes it ideal for all skin types. A shower soap made with pink clay will gently exfoliate without irritating your skin, and will help smooth and draw out impurities. If you have oily skin or blemished skin, for example on the upper arms, backs of thighs and/or stomach, you can substitute the pink clay for red clay, which has a stronger drawing effect.

Exfoliation is an important part in the skin care routine, and should be used on the whole body and not just on the face. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, opens clogged pores and stimulates circulation, which improves both skin texture and tone, leaving the skin looking radiant and rejuvenated.

Added a rose geranium, sweet orange, and lavender essential oils maximise the benefits of the clays and help balance and soothe the skin.

Rose geranium is used for a wide range of skin disorders, such as eczema, acne, rashes,  because not only does it reduce inflammation, it also helps balance the secretion of sebum, which makes it ideal for dry, oily or combination skin.

Sweet Orange essential oil is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory which makes it an ideal ingredient in your skin care routine. This oil isn’t just for acne-prone skin though: It’s been shown to increase the ability to absorb vitamin C, collagen production, and blood flow, all of which are essential for anti-aging.

Lavender essential oil, is one of the best known skin oils, for its properties. It is an antibacterial, helps reduce redness, inflammation and blemishes, and is soothing and calming on both body and mind.

All the ingredients are available from Pure Nature. The soap mold I’m using is the small square silicon mold, which is my favourite soap mold, perfect for small batches and test soaps. It makes 4 bars 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!

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. Optional: stir in one teaspoon of sodium lactate, which will make the soap harder. Set aside to cool.

While you are waiting for the lye to cool down, ….

TWO: Get your fragrance ready, by measuring out the essential oils in a measuring beaker. If you don’t have a measuring beaker: 20 drops of essential oil are approximately 1 ml.

Next, it’s time to get the oils ready.

THREE: Weigh out the coconut oil in a pyrex jug and heat in microwave on high for one minute or until melted.

FOUR: Add the other oils and give it a little stir to blend them.

When the lye has cooled down to room temperature…

FIVE: Make sure you are still in protective gear (goggles and gloves). Add the clay to your lye and give it a careful but good stir to make sure all the clay is suspended in the water and there are no more clumps. Be careful of splashes! Note the pink clay goes a reddish orange when added to the lye and soap, but once it’s cured it will be a beautiful soft pink. If you are using the red clay, it will cure to a rich orange/red colour.

SIX:  Carefully pour the lye to the oils and whisk until the mixture has emulsified.

SEVEN: Add your fragrance.

EIGHT: Keep stirring with the whisk or give it a few pulses with a stick blender until you reach trace (the mixture has emulsified and starts to thicken). It doesn’t matter if you stir/pulse too much and the mixture becomes thick, but make sure it has emulsified. The image below shows thin trace, so you want it like this or thicker!

NINE: Pour the soap into the mold. Tap the mold gently on the bench a free times to get rid of any air bubbles.

TEN: Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds and leave it to cure in the mold for a few days, before carefully removing. Leave to cure for another day before cutting it into bars. The bars will need to cure for a further 4-6 weeks until they’re ready.

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Cleansing Clay Soap

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

Ingredients

  • 250 g olive oil
  • 120 g coconut oil
  • 30 g castor oil
  • 56 g caustic soda
  • 110 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sodium lactate
  • 1 teaspoon pink clay
  • 10 ml rose geranium essential oil
  • 5 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 5 ml lavender essential oil
  • poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Prepare your lye: carefully add the caustic soda to the water and stir gently until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Optional: add one teaspoon of sodium lactate. Set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare your fragrance.
  3. Weigh out the coconut oil in a pyrex jug and heat in the microwave on high for 1 minute or until melted.
  4. Add the other oils and give it a good stir.
  5. When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, add 1 teaspoon of clay and whisk well (but carefully to avoid splashes) until all the clay has dispersed and there are no more clumps.
  6. Carefully add the lye to the oils and stick blend briefly until the mixture has emulsified.
  7. Add the fragrance and keep stick blending until the mixture has reached trace (thickened).
  8. Pour in mold, and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.
  9. Leave to cure in the mold for a few days, before removing and cutting. The bars of soap will need another 4-6 weeks of curing.