Did you know that store-bought soap actually dries out your skin? Buying hand-made soap can be expensive. This article will explain how to make hand-made soap with herbs and essential oils. It may be easier than you think!
- melt-and-pour glycerin
- essential oils
- herbs (optional)
- coloring (optional)
- soap molds
- double broiler
- wire whisk
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, aloe glycerin, and many more. It's really just 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. A good place to find oils would be your local natural foods store. I grow my own herbs for my soaps, but you may also find herbs either locally or online. Molds and colors are also easiest found online.
Once you have all your ingredients, it's time to make your hand-made soap with herbs and essential oils! Set up your double broiler with an inch of water in the bottom pan. Set the heat on your stove top to medium-low and wait about ten minutes. You should see steam escaping from the sides of your double broiler. It is time to add the glycerin! If you got a two-pound block of glycerin, I would suggest cutting a quarter of it to use for your batch of soap. You can make about 4 small soaps with about a half-pound 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 I would caution against stirring too much, as some of the glycerin may melt and then harden if you stir too often. For a half pound of glycerin, it takes between five and ten minutes to fully melt. I recommend a wire whisk for stirring.
Wait until the glycerin is fully melted before adding your oil. I recommend about three drops of oil per half-pound 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.
Now 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 external use (using 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.
Now add coloring, if desired. Depending on the scent and herbs used, sometimes I don't use any coloring at all 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, be sure to 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, now is the time to pour your hand-made soap into molds. I recommend plastic molds. You can use almost anything plastic in your kitchen, from Tupperware to Gladware to baby food containers (my personal favorite) or you can buy molds in different shapes and sizes from many online retailers. As long as your chosen mold is not too tall and not too thin, you should be fine. I use a spatula to help get all the liquid glycerin into the molds. Make sure before putting any liquid glycerin into your molds that they are placed in a safe area where they will not be moved. 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. I recommend at least an hour just to be sure. 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 then wiggle the soap out from there. Sit back and admire your beautiful hand-made soap with herbs and essential oils!
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