Store-bought soap can often leave you with dry skin and buying handmade soap can leave your pocketbook a bit thin. Solve the problem by making your own soap with herbs and essential oils. It will leave your skin soft and smelling great.
- Melt-and-pour glycerin
- Essential oils
- Herbs (optional)
- Coloring (optional)
- Soap molds
- Double broiler
- Wire whisk
Gather your supplies. The best place to find glycerin for your melt-and-pour soap is online. There are several different choices of glycerin available: goat's milk glycerin and aloe glycerin are just two of the many choices. It's really a personal preference as to what glycerin suits you and your family best. Often-times when searching for glycerin you'll come across "soap-making kits" which include glycerin, oils, molds, coloring and herbs. These are not bad for beginners. Look at your local natural foods store for essential oils. You can grow your own herbs or find them locally or online. Molds and colors may be found online or at your local craft store.
Set up your double broiler with an inch of water in the bottom pan. Set the heat on your stove to medium-low and wait about 10 minutes. When you see steam escaping from the sides of your double broiler, it is time to add the glycerin. If you got a 2-lb. block of glycerin, cut a quarter of it to use for your batch of soap. You can make about four small soaps with about 1/2 lb. of glycerin.
Set the glycerin in the top part of your double broiler and wait a few minutes for it to start melting. You can stir the glycerin to get it to melt faster, but don't stir too much, as some of the glycerin may melt and then harden if you stir too often. For 1/2 lb. of glycerin, it takes between five and 10 minutes to fully melt. Use a wire whisk for stirring.
Wait until the glycerin is fully melted before adding your oil. Use three drops of oil per 1/2 lb. of melted glycerin. You can add more or less depending on personal preference. After adding your oil, stir the glycerin to ensure the scent is uniform throughout the glycerin.
Add your herbs, if desired. Be sure you know the medicinal properties of the herb(s) you want to add before adding them. Some herbs are not recommended for use on your skin. Some herbs are better than others for certain skin types. For example, peppermint is good for someone with oily skin. Therefore, if you are making soap for someone with dry skin, you wouldn't want to add too much peppermint, or any at all. After adding your herbs, stir your glycerin.
Add coloring, if desired. Depending on the scent and herbs used, you may not want to add coloring because the soap will look pretty enough as is. Be sure you use a coloring that was recommended for use in soaps. Certain food colorings can stain skin. If you choose to add coloring, start with three drops and add more coloring if you want only after you stir.
After waiting a few minutes to be sure the color has "caught" in the glycerin, pour your handmade soap into plastic molds. You can use almost anything plastic in your kitchen, from Tupperware to Gladware to baby food containers or you can buy molds in different shapes and sizes. As long as your chosen mold is not too tall and not too thin, you should be fine. Use a spatula to get all the liquid glycerin into the molds. Before pouring the glycerin place your molds somewhere that they won't be disturbed. Moving your soaps as they are hardening can cause bubbles. Pouring the liquid glycerin into the molds too quickly can also cause bubbles.
Wait between 30 and 60 minutes for your glycerin to harden. When the glycerin is completely cooled and hardened, you can either squeeze your soap out of your molds, or you can use a butter knife to scrape along the insides and wiggle the soap out from there.
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