In our bid to live more naturally, we have refrained from buying commercial bath soaps. My husband, Speedy, went to a soap-making class and we’ve been using the bath soaps he made by hand.
Yep, we’re doing our best to live a more chemical-free life. Instead of just making noise the way “activists” do—you know, sloganeering and all—we prefer to just “walk the talk”.
Truth be told, it was Sam who set the trend with her homemade cough drops and facial scrub. Instead of treating them as curiosities, it has come to a point when we’d rather make them the standard.
(Thank you, Sam. Sometimes, your startling life philosophies are such eye openers.)
From Sam’s cough drops and facial scrub, Speedy has taken it upon himself to learn about homemade soap. Soon, we’ll be making deodorant and toothpaste too. And more facial scrubs. What an exciting new adventure for my family!
Is it difficult to make soap? Speedy says no, it isn’t. Well, not really. Basically, soap-making is just all about mixing and curing. But what you mix, in what proportion and what you add to the basic mixture determine whether you make good or bad soap.
For his first attempt, Speedy made three kinds of bath soap. One has activated charcoal, the second has pine and the third has oats. He cured them by allowing them to dry naturally. Then, he used my discarded cake leveler to cut the blocks of soap into squares.
Yes, we’ve tried all three. I love the pine-scented one best (the blue soap) but the one with oats is the most amazing. What a wonderful exfoliant! Perhaps, I shouldn’t have been surprised because the facial scrub that Sam made had oats in it and, well, it really worked.
So, yes, that means that whatever ingredient or ingredients you add to the basic soap mixture determines the effect on the skin.
What is soap made of?
At its most basic, soap is a mixture of oil, water and lye. When mixed correctly, the ingredients undergo—without additional human intervention—a process called “saponification”.
How is soap made?
There are two ways to make soap—cold process and hot process.
Cold process means the ingredients are mixed until thickened, the thickened mixture is poured into molds, left to undergo “saponification” and, after it has solidified, it is cut then left to harden. The process takes several weeks.
The soaps in the photos were made using cold process.
When soap is made using hot process, the ingredients are heated. The heat shortens the “saponification” time. When saponification is complete, the mixture is poured into molds and the rest is the same as cold process soap making.
What other ingredients can be added to the basic soap mixture?
Just about anything that can be beneficial to the skin. Oats are popular. So are essential oils. Fruit peels, herbs and even ground coffee make great additions too. Or so, I’ve read.
Speedy says that, next time, he’ll try hot process soap making. I keep telling him it better be soon because our supply of bath soap is running low.