Making soap yourself is one way of cutting down on chemical use in your house. You can formulate your soap or choose the ingredients to best suit your needs. You have more control over the quality of oils used as well. A soap when well formulated should not have lye or Sodium Hydroxide in the final products but could and should have some excess oil to make it more moisturizing and mild. When making soap, it is better to choose organic oils as pesticide residue could be presents in the oils. Additionally, choose cold process extra virgin oils or unrefined oils each time they are available for, refined oils are process with heat and chemicals. Last but not least, cold process soap is not exposed to too much heat. During saponification, heat is generated therefore, do not increase the temperature by starting at higher temperature or over insulate the soap. Especially when using quality oils, aim for minimum heat as your soap could have most if not all the properties of the oils and other ingredients used. Besides oils, water, and sodium hydroxide which are the main ingredients in true soaps, other ingredients can be added including milk, honey, herbs, spices… Soap can be colored and scented as well. It is not necessary to add artificial color or scent or fragrance to your soap as they don’t add any benefit. When scenting soap, use essential oils for they have healing properties. However, cold process soap requires a higher amount of essential oils for the scent to be present in the soap. Therefore, your soap could be left unscented and the essential oils be added to your lotion or cream for more benefits.
Beside cold process method, soap can be re-batched for other ingredients that could not have stand lye present in cold process be added for extra benefit. For instance, milk and honey caramelize when added to cold process soap. Their sugar caramelizes when exposed to heat during saponification. Therefore, cold process soap can be re-batched and milk or honey added.
Cold processed soap takes quite a bit of time to cure. In average 4 to 6 weeks.
In brief, making soap is not convenient, rather, it is a choice to live more healthy and sustainable.
Do you make your own soap? or Have you switch to lye soap? What are your reasons?