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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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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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Soap dough (vegan, palm-free)

Difficulty: Intermediate
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 800 g soap

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There’s nothing special about soap dough, you can use any soap as soap dough. There is no secret ingredient or special technique. The trick is to NOT cure the soap, so that it stays soft. In other words, the soap doesn’t dry out and harden. However, not all soap recipes are the same, and a good soap dough is one that is soft, smooth, pliable, and not sticky. Sorcery soap has a book with 20 awesome soap dough recipes, including tallow recipes, vegan recipes, palm free recipes, and lots more. The recipe I’m giving you here is one that I use in my soap making classes, and I’ve tweaked it a little bit to make it even better.  It is vegan, and palm-free like all my recipes here!

In addition, I’ll show you a handy method to make several colours at once, without the hassle of lots of washing up to do! I’m lazy and hate washing up 😉

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For this batch, I’m using the new mica colours 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!

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ONE: To prepare the lye, first measure out the water in a heat proof container or 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, then, carefully, add the caustic soda to the water (NEVER THE OTHER WAY ROUND!), and avoiding any splashes, stir until the lye water is clear. Set aside to cool.

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

You’ll notice the recipe contains a high percentage of coconut oil and cocoa butter. This allows the soap to thicken to the right dough consistency, without having to cure it. I found that if I used too many liquid oils, the soap would be too soft to work with.

THREE: Weigh out the olive oil and castor oil to the now-liquid coconut oil and cocoa butter. Add the titanium dioxide and give the oils a good stir to disperse the titanium dioxide through the oils. Then, let the oils cool down to room temperature. This part is important. The oils need to be lower than 30 C or else you risk the soap gelling, and you want to avoid that.

The reason for adding the titanium dioxide is to make the base colour whiter, which will make the other colours brighter and more intense.

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FOUR: Now you have two options, you can either use cups or containers to mix your colours in, or what I like to do, is add the soap and the colours to zip lock bags and mix it in there. In either case, prepare your cups or your ziplock bags and have your mica colours ready (I’m adding them straight to the soap without mixing them with oil first). The recipe will make for 8 colours of about 100 g each, so you need 8 cups or 8 sandwich sized ziplock bags.

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

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SIX: Now add about 100 g of soap to each cup or ziplock bag. Don’t worry, the ziplock bags will stay put. It’s not as difficult to pour into them as it may seem. Also if you are planning on doubling the batch, make sure you use bigger ziplock bags. If you fill them too full, you risk them popping leaks when you squish them later.

SEVEN: Next add the colour to each cup or ziplock bag, and zip them up. I used 1/2 teaspoon of mica for each. It sounds a lot, but you’ll need that amount to make sure you have rich colours and not pastels. It isn’t enough colour to stain your wash cloth or hands, but could give the lather a slight tinge. However, soap dough is usually used to decorate other soaps, so the little bits of soap dough on your soap won’t have an impact on the overall soap.

Then using your hands, and sitting comfortably in front of your TV with your favourite sitcom, squish and squash the little bags to mix the colour into the soap. I did some yesterday, while waiting for my son at his trampolining course. And that did get me some curious looks and questions from the other parents! Btw great way to promote your business at the same time too!

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If you are using cups, mix the colour thoroughly into the soap and then either use plastic wrap to cover each cup airtight, or pour it into a ziplock bag. (See now you have to use ziplock bags anyway!)

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EIGHT: Leave the little bags or cups in a cool area overnight. Check the consistency the next day. It should be ready to use but will probably still be a little sticky. You can use cornflour to dust the dough to stop it sticking as you work with it, or you can leave it for about a week in your ziplock bag or an airtight container. By then the stickiness should be gone.

To work with your dough, remove as much as you need. Knead it to soften it up. Dust the tools and the surface you’re working on with cornflour to prevent the dough sticking to it. A trick I learned from a cake decorator is to add a little cornflour in a muslin bag or cloth and tie it up, and use that as a little dust stamp. To stick dough bits together, use a little water to wet the surface and that will make it stick again.

Once you’ve finished your masterpiece, you might want to spritz it with water or lightly brush it with a wetted soft paint brush, to give it shine and get rid of the powdery look.

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You can store the soap dough in your ziplock bags or an airtight container for several months or more. I’m still using some dough from last Christmas, which was more than eight months ago!

Once you added the soap dough decorations to your soap, the soap will start to harden and firm quickly.

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Soap dough

  • 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

  • 240 g olive oil
  • 200 g coconut oil
  • 120 g cocoa butter
  • 40 g castor oil
  • 80 g caustic soda
  • 180 g water
  • 1/2 t titanium dioxide
  • 8 different mica colours

Directions

  1. Add 180 g of water to a heat proof jug or container. 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. In a large heat proof Pyrex jug or pot, weigh out the coconut oil and cocoa butter. Heat in microwave (if Pyrex jug) or stove (if pot) until all the oil and butter have melted.
  3. Add the olive oil and castor oil to the now-liquid coconut oil and cocoa butter.
  4. Add 1/2 teaspoon titanium dioxide to the oils and give it a good stir. Set aside to cool down.
  5. In the meantime, prepare your ziplock bags. You will need 8 and make sure they’re all open.
  6. Once the lye and the oils have 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 to a thin trace.
  8. Pour approximately 100 g of soap into each bag.
  9. Add 1/2 teaspoon of mica to each bag and zip the bag shut, removing as much of the air as possible.
  10. With your hands, gently squish and squash the bags until the colour is thoroughly mixed into the soap.
  11. Set the bags of soap in a cool area overnight to set. They can be used immediately, though it’s better to leave them for a week before using.
  12. Keep the dough stored in the ziplock bags or an airtight container to keep the soap soft and pliable. You can store the dough for at least several months.

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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
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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

  • 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.