Most soaps at the supermarket contain a lot of chemicals. Using chemical-based soaps has many side effects. First of all they contain harsh chemicals, which instead of moisturizing the skin can rip the moisture off the skin and leave it dry. Excessive bathing with these soaps can even make the skin dry and scaly. Also, these soaps contain many synthetic preservatives and fragrances which can be harmful to sensitive skin. Hence, to avoid all these side effects, switching to a more greener option is recommended. There are many good brands which sell organic natural soaps. However, one needs to be very careful when buying natural soaps, and check if the ingredients used in making the soap are certified organic. Also, these soaps are quite expensive compared to the normal soaps.
Soap Making Basics
For making homemade soap, you need to first understand the basics of soap making. All soaps are created using the basic formula which is base + fatty acid = salt. Salt means soap, fatty acids and a base combine together to form a soap. Previously animal fat mainly from pig was used, but now there are so many vegetable oils available, that they have replaced animal fats. For base, lye or sodium hydroxide is used.
The procedure of soap making is the same. However, there are many methods to make soap. The basic procedure of creating a lye soap goes like this... First the oil or fat is heated gently. Then in a separate container lye and water are combined. When these two ingredients reach the desired temperature, they are combined and the mixture comes to an appropriate consistency. Then it is poured into a mold and kept in the mold for 24 or 48 hours. After that the soap is removed and restacked and allowed to cure, till it becomes hard and usable. Here are two easy, natural soap recipes. Once you are able to create soap using these recipes, you can experiment with different recipes. The fatty acid part you can replace with various ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, other carrier oils, etc. You can also add essential oils for fragrance and to make the soap antiseptic. You can also infuse the soap with dried herbs, dry walnut shell powder, or natural loofah.
Soap Bar Recipe
For this homemade soap recipe the ingredients are 1 can of vegetable shortening, distilled water (12 ounces), and lye (6 ounces). A container of 8 by 8 inches will be required to use as mold. For the container you can use a glass container, a cardboard box, or a wooden mold. Lining the container with wax paper or with grease helps to remove the soap easily. Heat the vegetable shortening in an enamel pan. In another pan heat lye. Then take a glass bowl and pour cold distilled water in it and then slowly add lye. Lye is caustic so you should wear safety gear and clothing when handling it like rubber gloves, goggles, and full clothing. Keep stirring this mix continuously till it becomes clear.
Then in another glass or Pyrex bowl pour the vegetable shortening and add lye and water mix to it slowly and keep stirring, add and stir, add and stir, keep doing this, till the whole mix is warm to touch. Once the solution starts to thicken, you can add oils, herbs, or loofah powder to it and then mix the solution well. Then pour the mix in the mold and set it aside for 24 hours. Take out the soap and cut it into small soap bars and restack them. Let them cure for 3 weeks time.
Natural Liquid Soap Recipe
This is a castile soap recipe for which you will need 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap, ¼ cup of honey, ¼ cup of distilled water, and ¼ cup of olive oil. Mix everything well and then pour it in a liquid soap dispensing bottle or a squeeze bottle. This is an excellent liquid soap, which you can use for dry skin.
Once you are done making soaps, you can also consider experimenting with some handmade paper or natural cloth materials and use them to wrap your soaps. This will make the soaps look attractive and wrapped soaps can be given away as gifts.