Beauty: Homemade Cold Process Bergamot Butter Moisturizing Soap

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I remember making soap for the first time when I was in 10th grade; I didn’t like chemistry back then but I remember loving that class– We only get to use the most basic chemicals to experiment the soaping process and didn’t get to make anything fancy, but I was fascinated and couldn’t believe soap is something that I can possibly make. When I was started studying Cosmetic Product Development I got to make soap a few more times in the lab and have gotten pretty familiar with the whole process, but I never really get to make a home kitchen batch.

Today I got to finish my work early, and it’s gray and cold outside — I thought it is the perfect chance for me to stay in and make some soap…. and that’s exactly what I did. I made some Bergamot Butter Moisturizing Soap with some simple equipment available in the kitchen and easy access ingredients. I thought I’d share the recipe with those who would also like to try easy homemade soaps:

Equipment you will need:

  • Mixing bowls
  • One heat-proof measuring jug
  • Accurate kitchen scale
  • Heat proof stirring utensils (wooden spoon or rubber spatula)
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Soap mold or silicon baking mold (parchment paper, if lining the mold)
  • A handheld blender
  • One blanket or towel
  • Safty goggles, safty rubber gloves, surgical mask and maybe a lab coat.

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And here is the list of ingredients for a basic oil-based soap:

  • 8 oz Olive Oil
  • 8 oz Coconut Oil
  • 7 oz Palm Oil
  • 5 oz Shea Butter
  • 5 oz distilled or clean cold water
  • 9 oz Sodium Hydroxide
  • 9- 1.5 oz essential oil (depending on the oil and personal preference)

Instructions:

  • Get yourself protected: put on the safety goggles, surgical mask and gloves. If you don’t’ have a lab coat, make sure you wear long sleeves.
  • Measure out 8.5 oz of cold water into the measuring jug. Weigh accurately 3.9g of sodium hydroxide into a suitable container. Carefully add the sodium hydroxide to the water, stirring all the time with a spoon or spatula. Be careful not to breathe the vapor that is initially given off as it can be harmful. Stir till all the sodium hydroxide pieces are dissolved. The solution (now known as Lye) will heat up to nearly 200oF and will need to be left to cool. Place the thermometers into the solution and leave to the side.

Lye

  • Meanwhile, measure out the exact amount of coconut oil, olive oil, palm oil and shea butter into one of the mixing bowls. Shea butter and some of the oils may get solidified in colder temperature, you can microwave them to get them liquefied; I prefer putting them In a pot of warm water to liquefy the oil and make them easy to measure and pour.
  • Combine all the oil in a large mixing bowl, and set it aside to let it cool.
  • Important!! Before mixing the lye water and the oils, make sure the lye mixture cools down to anywhere between 95 to120 F. Put the lye water in cold water bath if it takes too long. The goal is to try to get the oil mixture and the lye water to similar temperatures.
  • Slowly and carefully pour the lye into the oils, and start stir gently to ensure the mixture all starts to chemically react and combine. Then mix with the hand-held blender on a low setting, keeping the blender near the bottom of the bowl.  You don’t want to splash the soap mixture out of the bowl, since saponification has not taken place yet and the solution is still caustic. The mixture will become cloudy and then start to thicken. Mix for about 2 minutes, when you lift the blender out of the soap and it leaves marks on the surface, you’ve reached trace, which is the consistency you want.

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  • Now is the time to add your choice of essential oil. I made a blend of bergamot with Balsam Peru and Vetiver to create a fresh scent with a creamy and earthy base. You can make your own custom blend of fragrance or just simply keep it pure and fragrance free. Use the blender and mix the essential oil into the soap base. If you want to add any color or Exfoliant, this is the time to add them in, too.
  • Pour it into your mold quickly as the mixture will start to harden pretty fast. Tap the bottom of the mold to make sure all the air escapes and have no unwanted bubbles in the mixture. Smooth the surface, and cover with towel. Place it in a cool place as it needs another 24 hours to finish the saponification process and dry.
  • After 24-48 hours, the soap is dry and ready to be de-molded. Slide them out of the mold and cut them into your desired sizes. These soaps are practically ready to use, but the texture is usually still too soft to hold through a shower. In order to make the soaps harder and last longer, they need to be cured for 4-6 weeks in an airy environment. Once they are “aged” and hardened to the desired texture, you’re soaps will finally be ready to be gifted or used! The curing time can be long, but it’s really worth the wait.

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As more and more people are becoming knowledgeable and aware of the ingredients in their beauty products, homemade all-natural soaps are now becoming popular and getting more attentions as well. Who can deny the comfort when we get to know or control what exactly is going in to our daily product, right? Try to make a batch this weekend, maybe you’ll make it in time for the holiday season and impress your friends and family with your homemade soaps, too!

(P.s. the cover photo is taken from Pinterest, as my soaps are not ready to yet, but hopefully that’s how mine would look too!)

xo,

Alicia

Xo,

Alicia