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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… ūüôā

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.

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Nacho Ordinary Soap

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 9 little soaps

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Desert, cactus, flamingo and mojitos seem to be everywhere at the moment. It’s been the theme in fashion, home decorations, and I even have nail wraps in this desert-theme. When I came across the little cactus and flamingo candles at Kmart, and found the matching cactus ice cube mold, I knew I wanted to make a soap to this theme! The only problem I had was finding the right name for it, so I held a little naming competition on Facebook for it and you guys had no problems coming up with some very creative and great names! It was really hard to choose just one. Here are some other of my favourites: Desert Dream, Don’t Desert Me Now, Desert Mojito, Prickly Clean.¬†But the one that stood out from all the rest and I loved the most is “Nacho Ordinary Soap“! Thanks Kathryn Gage for coming up with this clever moniker!

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To make these you’ll need little cactus ice cube molds. I bought these from Kmart the other day for $2 each. As you can see, they also have some other cute molds, like the pineapple and unicorns!

The other material you need is clear and white melt and pour base, non bleeding yellow soap dye, green fruit mica and mint mojito fragrance, as well as a cube cavity soap mold. You can get all these from Pure Nature. I used the low sweat white melt and pour soap base and the crystal clear melt and pour soap base for this project.

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ONE: Cut the clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and add them to a heat proof Pyrex jug. Heat on high in the microwave in 10 second bursts until the soap has melted.

You’ll have to eyeball the amounts. If you end up with a little left over, pour it into a separate container and you can use it for another project. The good thing about melt and pour soap bases is that you can re-melt it again.

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TWO: Add about 1/2 a teaspoon of green fruit mica and stir well until it has completely dispersed into the soap and there are no more clumps of mica on the surface. If you struggle mixing it in, spray a little alcohol on the surface and that will help with dispersing.

The reason we’re using clear melt and pour soap base here is so that the colour of the soap becomes a rich deep green. White melt and pour soap base will only give you pastel colours due to the white base colour!

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THREE: Once. you’ve mixed in the colour, pour the soap into the cavities of the cactus mold and spray them with alcohol to get rid of any bubbles on the surface.

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FOUR: While you’re waiting for the cacti to set, cut up the white soap base and melt it the same way in the microwave. Again, you’re going to have to eyeball the amount of soap you need.

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FIVE: Add a few drops of yellow soap dye. Make sure it is non-bleeding, because you don’t want it to bleed into clear soap. Start with a couple of drops first and keep adding 1-2 drops at a time until you’ve reached the colour you want. Remember, you can always add more colour but you can’t take it out again!

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SIX: Next, add your fragrance. The usage rate is about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per cup of melted soap base. If you add too much, you will end up with fragrance on the surface of the soap after setting. If that does happen, you can just wipe it away with a paper towel. I had about 2 cups of soap base, so I added about 2 teaspoons. Stir well to mix it into the soap.

I didn’t add any fragrance to the cactus embeds and won’t be adding any fragrance to the clear layer of soap either, because the amounts of soap are only small and the yellow soap will easily mask it with its fragrance, so you won’t notice that they don’t actually have any scent!

SEVEN: Once you’ve added the colour and fragrance, pour the soap into the cube mold, filling each cavity to about 1 centimetre. Immediately spray with alcohol after pouring to remove any unsightly bubbles. Let the soap set before continuing.

For the next part, the yellow soap needs to have set so that when you pour the hot clear soap on top, it doesn’t break through the surface of the yellow soap. If you have left it to cool down completely, spray the surface with a little alcohol again, to make sure that the clear layer will adhere to it.¬†Also remove the cactus embeds to have them ready.

EIGHT: Melt a little clear melt and pour base. I used the crystal clear melt and pour soap base for this to avoid any cloudiness in this layer. Also avoid adding fragrance, because that can make your soap cloudy as well.

NINE: Pour a small amount on top of the yellow soap, no more than half a centimetre, and immediately press a cactus into the middle of the soap and spray the whole surface with alcohol. Repeat for each soap.

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TEN: Let the soaps harden and cool down completely before removing them carefully from the mold. I left mine overnight before unmolding.

Make sure you wrap the soaps in cling foil to avoid condensation forming on the surface. Melt and pour soaps contain a lot of glycerin, which attracts moisture and hence, the ‘sweating’ effect on these kinds of soap.

As you can see in the picture, I made two different styles of soap. One has the embed sticking out and in the other, the clear layer covers the whole embed. I wasn’t sure which I would like better so I did both. But after setting, I decided I like the one where the cactus pops out more!

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Nacho ordinary soap

  • Difficulty: Beginners
  • Print

Ingredients

  • white melt and pour base
  • clear melt and pour soap base
  • yellow non-bleeding soap dye
  • green fruit mica
  • mint mojito fragrance from Candlescience
  • cactus ice cubes mold
  • square cavity mold
  • 99% isopropyl alcohol

Directions

PART 1

  1. Cut the clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 10 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of green mica and stir until dispersed.
  4. Pour the soap into the cavities of the cactus mold and spray with alcohol.
  5. Leave to cool down and set completely.

PART 2

  1. Cut the white melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  2. Heat the soap base in the microwave on high in 10-20 second bursts until melted.
  3. Add a few drops of yellow soap dye and stir. Add more dye, a couple of drops at a time until you’ve reached the desired colour.
  4. Add the mint mojito fragrance at 1/2 teaspoon per cup of melted soap, and stir well.
  5. Pour into the cavities of the cube mold to a height of about 1 centimetre.
  6. Spray with alcohol and let set.

PART 3

  1. Once the cactus have set, remove them from the mold.
  2. Cut a little clear melt and pour soap base into small cubes and place in a heat proof Pyrex jug.
  3. Heat the soap base in the microwave in 10 second bursts until melted.
  4. Pour a little of the clear soap base over the top of the yellow soap in the cube mold. You only want to pour to a maximum of half a centimetre.
  5. Spray the surface with alcohol and press a little cactus into the middle of the mold.
  6. Spray again with alcohol and leave the soaps to set completely before removing from the mold.

Remember to wrap the soaps in cling foil to avoid condensation forming on the surface.

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Aleppo Soap (Castile soap)

Difficulty: Advanced
Time: 2 hrs
Yields: approximately 1200 g soap

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Today is World Refugee day and I wanted to raise awareness to the soap makers from Aleppo, Syria.¬†Here’s a BBC report on how the war has threatened the ancient tradition of soap making in Aleppo. And although the report is from 2013, there have been continued attacks on Aleppo.

So what’s so special about Aleppo? Well, Aleppo soap is one of the most ancient soap recipes in the world, and has been around for 2000 years or more. Soap makers in Aleppo still use the traditional methods making this soap, which is said to boast many skin care benefits and helps with skin problems such as dry skin, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis and fungal infections. The reason for its skin healing properties is the inclusion of laurel berry oil, which is a powerful antibacterial, anti fungal, astringent and wound healer. Apart from laurel berry oil, Aleppo soap’s only other ingredients are olive oil and lye.

Check out the following video:

I tried to make a soap as true as possible to this ancient method, using a hot process technique and 22.5% of laurel berry oil, which is available from Pure Nature. You will need 250 ml for this recipe. The NaOH SAP value of laurel berry oil is 0.141.

Note Aleppo soaps are cured for over a year to achieve the best quality soap, however, you’ll be able to use these soaps after 4 weeks, if you can’t wait that long.


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. Aleppo soap uses the hot process soap techniques and it is definitely an advantage if you know the basics of soap making.

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ONE: Measure out the caustic soda and the water in separate containers. Then add the caustic soda to the water  (never the other way round!) and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down.

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TWO: Weigh out the olive oil and laurel berry oil directly to the crock pot or rice cooker. Turn it on and set it to the lowest setting. My rice cooker only has two settings: ‘warm’ or ‘boil’, so I used the ‘warm’ setting.

250 ml of laurel berry oil should give you 225 g of oil. Just keep shaking the bottle until you get the last few drops out!

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THREE: Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature,¬†and making sure you are (still) wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye solution to the oils, avoiding any splashes. The reason I cool down the lye is to avoid overheating and potentially have a volcano erupting in my soap (when the soap overheats and starts to expand and literally ‘erupt’ out of the mould).

FOUR: ¬†Use your stick blender to mix until it has emulsified and thickened to a thin trace. Don’t you love the colour of the soap?

You’ll also notice the scent of the laurel berry oil has changed in the soap, kind of medicinal herby but also clean. I think the fragrance is absolutely divine!

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FIVE: After the soap has reached trace, stretch some cling foil over the pot to keep in the moisture, and place the lid on.

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SIX: Keep the soap at the lowest temperature for the next hour or so until the whole soap  has gelled, which you can recognise by the opaque appearance. Make sure you keep an eye on the soap during this time, as it can erupt. If you see the soap expanding, use a spoon or whisk to stir the soap down again. That usually helps.

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SEVEN:¬†Once the soap has completely gelled, it is ready for pouring. Scoop or pour the soap into your soap mold and leave it to harden and set overnight. Don’t worry about covering or insulating the soap as it has already gelled, in other words, completed the saponification process.

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EIGHT: The following day, unmold the soap and cut it into bars or cubes. The bars of soap will need a further 4 weeks to cure before they are ready for use. However, true Aleppo soaps are cured for 6 months or even a year. So if you have patience, put them away somewhere and forget about them for a year. The longer you cure a soap, the harder and better quality bar of soap you will get.

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To support refugees in Syria, our family is participating in the Ration Challenge by Oxfam this week. This means that for one week we will eat the same kind of rations that the refugees receive in one of the refugee camps. We’re on day 4 and have 3 more days to go, and it’s been tough. The challenge has made us appreciate not only that we have sufficient food to eat (and waste!), but also the variety of foods that are available to us and the convenience of having kitchen appliances. I can’t imagine having to live off lentils, beans, chickpeas and rice every day. There’s only so much you can make with such limited ingredients.

If you would like to sponsor us: https://my.rationchallenge.org.nz/famziegler. Your donation will help provide food, medicine and education to the refugees in Syria.

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Aleppo Soap

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

Ingredients

  • 775 g olive oil
  • 225 g laurel berry oil
  • 129 g caustic soda
  • 260 g water

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. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Weigh out the olive oil and laurel berry oil in your crock pot or rice cooker, and turn it on the lowest setting.
  3. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified.
  4. Put the lid on (optional place a sheet of cling foil underneath first to keep the moisture in).
  5. Leave it to ‘cook’ until the mixture has completely ‘gelled’.
  6. Scoop into the mold and leave to harden overnight.
  7. The next day remove the soap and cut into bars or cubes. The soap bars will need to cure for a further 4 weeks until ready for use, but ideally for 6 months or more according to the original recipe.

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5X Sweet Orange Soap

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

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Citrus oils are very volatile and can lose their scent quickly in soaps, especially when they heat up during gelling in cold process. Using a concentrated orange essential oil removes some of these lower boiling components, mainly the terpenes, which intensifies the scent and makes it also longer lasting in soaps, but also removes some of the phytotoxicity. The higher the concentration the stronger the scent will be. Higher concentrated essential oils can also colour your soap, ranging from yellow to orange. Sometimes the colour can fade during curing, but the stronger tints tend to stay.

In this tutorial I am using the ‘5-fold’ orange essential oil from Pure Nature, which has an amazing intense fruity orange fragrance, and I can confirm that the scent is still strong after the obligatory 6 week curing time. This is definitely one of my favourite orange oils!

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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ONE: Measure out the caustic soda and the water in separate containers. Then add the caustic soda to the water  (never the other way round!) and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved. Set aside to cool down.

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TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter, and heat in the microwave or stove top until the oil and butter have melted. This particular recipe will give you a nice solid bar of soap with a creamy lather due to the coconut and shea butter it contains.

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THREE: Add the olive oil and castor oil to the now liquid coconut oil and shea butter. I’m using pomace olive oil here because it makes for a harder bar than the cold pressed olive oil and doesn’t need as long a curing time. I also find that the pomace oil I’m using makes a whiter soap than my other olive oils, but I know that’s not the case with all pomace oils.

FOUR: ¬†Add the ‘5-fold’ orange essential oil and give everything a good stir. As you can see on the bottle the Latin name is Citrus sinensis, which is the same as the normal sweet orange essential oil. The only difference being that is a 5-fold concentration than the normal essential oil.

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FIVE: Make sure you are (still) wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye solution to the oils, avoiding any splashes.

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SIX: Use your stick blender and alternatively pulse and stir until the mixture has emulsified and thickened to a medium trace.

SEVEN: Pour the soap into your loaf mould and sprinkle some calendula petals over the top for decoration.

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EIGHT: 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.

Note: the soap will have a yellow-golden colour to it in the beginning but this will fade over time, leaving only a light yellow tinge.

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5x Sweet Orange Soap

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

Ingredients

  • 550 g olive oil
  • 300 g coconut oil
  • 100 g shea butter
  • 50 g castor oil
  • 138 g caustic soda
  • 260 g water
  • 50 ml 5x orange essential oil
  • optional: calendula petals

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. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter and heat in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
  3. Add the olive oil and castor oil.
  4. Measure out and add the essential oil and give everything a good stir.
  5. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified and thickened to a medium trace.
  6. Pour the soap into the soap mould. Optional: sprinkle some calendula petals over the surface.
  7. 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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Manuka soap

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

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Manuka honey has been on an upward trend the past few years and not without reason. The medicinal properties of honey have been recorded since ancient times, and manuka honey has one of the highest anti-microbial activity, inhibiting growth of over 60 species of bacteria (Mandal & Mandal, 2011). It is used to assist in wound healing, in skin care, prevent and heal infections and stimulate growth of new skin cells. The importance of natural remedies, such as honey, has increased in importance “as resistant pathogens develop and spread, the effectiveness of the antibiotics is diminished”. The quoted paper ‘Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity‘ is a good read and accessible to the public.

Honey soaps, especially soaps containing Manuka honey and essential oil, are particular effective cleansers in that they contain anti-microbial properties yet remain mild and gentle on the skin. However, honey soaps are tricky to make, because the additional sugar can cause the soap to overheat and burn. The higher temperature are difficult to work with, but if you follow a few tricks it is possible to create a beautiful bar of soap with all the benefits that honey will add to it.

TOP SOAPING TIPS WITH HONEY:

 

  1. soap at cool temperatures
  2. do not insulate your soap
  3. do not discount your water
  4. place the soap in the fridge for the first 2 hours after pouring

The Manuka soap that we are making uses Manuka honey, Manuka essential oils and beeswax from Manuka honey, to maximise the benefits of Manuka in the soap. I used the Manuka essential oil¬†from Pure Nature, but alternatively you can use a tea tree oil for a cheaper alternative. The Manuka honey I bought from my local supermarket, and I didn’t go for the most expensive one! The Manuka beeswax I still had left over from a friend, and you can use any beeswax as a substitute, although I would recommend to go for an unbleached and undeodorised beeswax.

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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ONE: Prepare your lye as usual and leave to cool down to room temperature.

TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil and beeswax, and heat in the microwave or stove top until the oil and wax have melted.

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THREE: Add the olive oil, sunflower oil and castor oil to the now liquid coconut oil and beeswax, and give it a quick stir.

FOUR: MAKE SURE YOUR LYE HAS COOLED DOWN TO ROOM TEMPERATURE OR LOWER. Add two tablespoons of Manuka honey to the lye and stir, stir, stir until the honey has completely dissolved. This will take a while, but don’t be tempted to use warm lye because the honey will heat up the lye and you can end up burning the lye if the lye is still warm. Just be patient and keep stirring. You’ll notice the lye turning a reddish colour. That’s fine and how it should be. Let it cool down again.

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FIVE: Check the temperature of your oils. They should be no warmer than 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Add the Manuka essential oil to the oils and give the oils a good stir.

SIX: Add the lye to the oils, and use your whisk or stick blender to mix the lye/oil blend until it has emulsified to a medium trace. Pour the soap into the mould.

For the swirly surface, I used a chopstick in a looping figure 8 pattern along the length of the soap.

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SEVEN: PLACE THE SOAP IN THE FRIDGE FOR THE FIRST TWO HOURS! This is important. The sugars will heat up the soap during the chemical reaction, and placing it in a cold environment will both prevent the soap from heating up too much and will help keep the colour of the soap a nice cream colour rather than the usual caramel-brown colour of honey soaps.

After two hours (approximately), take the soap out and place it somewhere cool to cure. I put mine in the laundry, which is the coolest room in our house. Don’t insulate or cover your soap!

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EIGHT: 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.

Note: honey is a humectant, meaning it will draw moisture to the product and honey soaps are prone to DOS (dreaded orange spot), which are harmless but don’t look pretty. Make sure to store the soaps in a dry area to prevent DOS and moisture forming on the soap.

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Manuka

  • Difficulty: advanced
  • 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
  • 270 g sunflower oil
  • 30 g beeswax
  • 50 g castor oil
  • 135 g caustic soda
  • 270 g water
  • 2 tablespoons Manuka honey
  • 30 ml Manuka 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. Set aside to cool down.
  2. Weigh out the coconut oil and beeswax and heat in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
  3. Add the olive oil, sunflower oil and castor oil and give it a quick stir.
  4. Once the lye has cooled down to room temperature, add 2 tablespoons of Manuka honey and stir until dissolved.
  5. Check the temperature of the oils. They should be no warmer than 32 C (90 F).
  6. Add the Manuka essential oil to the oils and give everything a good stir.
  7. Carefully pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender, mix until emulsified to a medium trace.
  8. Pour the soap into the soap mould and place it in the fridge for 2 hours.
  9. Remove from fridge, and place it in a cool spot to cure.
  10. 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.