Believe it or not, I’m not really into prairie living, but because I have so many allergies and intolerances, I have to do a lot of cooking at home. Another thing I make at home is laundry soap as well as body and hand soap. Usually when I make either of these, I like to make enough to last for several months so that I only have to do it a couple of times a year. This weekend, I made the first batch of body and hand soap.
If you’re not familiar with the soap-making process, basically, you mix various oils with lye and heat it. It’s actually a bit more complicated than that, and everything has to be measured precisely by weight on a digital scale. There has to be a certain percentage of each type of oil to get the desired results, such as how hard you want the soap to be, how sudsy it will get, how moisturizing it will be, etc. I like to add cocoa butter and shea butter as well as goat’s milk because these all add extra moisture. Castor oil and coconut oil add for extra cleansing, and olive oil and almond oil add extra creaminess.
After the oil-lye mixture has cooked for the appropriate amount of time (around four hours), I add essential oil to make it smell pretty then pour it in a mold. Because I use hot process (meaning I cook it), I can unmold it the next day and use it soon thereafter. If I used the cold process method, it would be more “liquidy” and I could pour it in pretty shaped molds. But then it would take weeks to “saponify” meaning for the lye to have a chemical reaction with the oil and not be caustic any longer.
This time, I made gardenia soap. Later this week, I’ll be making a batch of lavender to which I’ll add some dried lavender buds to make it pretty, as well as some honey-oat-almond, which will smell like almond, and have honey as well as ground oats in it for extra exfoliation. I actually prefer to use this oat soap in the kitchen because it smells so much like food!
You can buy homemade soaps all over the place these days, as they are increasingly popular. I did that for a few years, but they used fragrance oil rather than essential oil to keep their costs down, and I became allergic to the perfume in the fragrance.
If you’ve never used homemade soap before, let me tell you that once you do, you’ll never want to use store bought soap again. The first time you use homemade, it feels like you just washed ten years of yuck off your skin! You’ll also realize after that, store bought soap actually feels slimy in comparison. Your skin will be softer, your shave will be closer, and you’ll feel the cleanest you’ve ever felt.
Time to talk: Have you ever used homemade soap? Do you have any allergies? Would you use soap with ground oats or lavender buds inside?