Homemade Natural Remedies: 80 Organic Beauty Recipes On A Budget For A Healthy Life - Lora Brenner (2016)
Book 3. Soap Making: Essential Guide For Absolute Beginners. 20 Homemade Organic Recipes
Chapter 1. A Word On Soap making
Soap making can be either very complicated or very simple. It depends only on your approach and whether or not you follow instructions closely. What makes soap making so attractive is that you use the ingredients and fragrances you like. It is really important to keep in mind that the measurements are really carefully chosen, and you should follow these instructions to get good results.
You will notice that one ingredient that is used in almost all the recipes is lye. For your soaps, always make sure to use lye in crystal form or 100% sodium hydroxide. There is also liquid lye, but it may contain bits of metal and cause inaccurate measurements.
Another thing to know about lye is that it is caustic. What does this mean? Well, it can damage fabric, or even worse, if you are not careful, it can cause burns on your skin. Because of that, I strongly advise you to use goggles and a mask and wear long sleeves and rubber gloves when working with lye.
Another reason why I said that lye is caustic is because when combined with water, it begins to heat up and fume. This lasts for up to a minute. If you don’t make sure that you protect yourself from the vapor it produces, you may feel a choking sensation in the throat. This is nothing to be worried about because it disappears after a few minutes.
When combining lye and water, it is also important to stir continually until this fuming stops because if you leave the mixture undisturbed, it may clump on the bottom where it will heat all at once and cause an explosion. Also, you should always add lye to water, not the other way around.
Now you may think that it is better not to use lye when it can be that dangerous. Don’t worry! When it reacts with the oil you use in your soap, and this is known as the process of saponification, there will be no traces of the lye in the finished product.
It is true that you don’t need any special equipment for making soaps, as you can use those that you already have in your kitchen, but it is better to use equipment that you will not use later for cooking.
· Since it is very important to carefully measure the ingredients, you will need a digital scale.
· You will also need mixing bowls, and these should be tempered glass, stainless steel, or enamel. You should not use aluminum or copper because they react with _lye. Also, don’t use plastic bowls because some may melt.
· The next thing you will need are spoons for stirring. The spoons should have long handles because you will use them for stirring water and lye, and they should also be made of silicone or styrene plastic.
· You will also need a stainless steel thermometer that reads between 90 and 200F.
· For blending the mixtures, you will need a stick blender.
· When you make a soap mixture, you will need to pour it somewhere and give it a shape. With molds, you can get creative. So, you can recycle some wax-based milk containers and then cut the soap into bars. Then, you can also buy some soap molds in your local craft shop, or you can use silicone baking pans. Silicone pans are a good choice because they come in various shapes and are cheap. Also, they are easy to clean, you just need to peel the mold off and pop up your soaps.
· Before pouring the soap mixture into your molds, you will need to line them with parchment paper.
· Since working with lye can be dangerous if you don’t follow the instructions, you should wear safety glasses, rubber gloves, and a long-sleeved shirt.
What we call additives are basically things that you can add to your soaps and give them a fantastic new dimension. The basic types of additives that we use are herbs, colors, and essential oils.
· Herbs that are used in soap making are mostly dried, but some recipes call for fresh herbs as well. Most popular are certainly lavender, lemongrass, chamomile, and mint.
· Essential oils come from plants, from their flowers, stems, roots, or seeds. There are also fragrance oils, but these can be either made artificially or by blending essential oils. We use essential oils both for their fragrance and nutrients they contain.
· To make your soaps colorful, I advise you to use natural colorsinstead of food colors because they don’t hold up well in soaps. So, if you want the yellow color, you can use turmeric, for brown use cinnamon, and for orange you can use beetroot.
· Some other items may also be used such as oatmeal, cornmeal, activated charcoal, clays, salt, and ground coffee.
Now that we’ve cleared everything up, are you ready to get started?