For thousands of years, traditional ayurvedic medicine and other ancient systems have included honey as a topical treatment for a variety of conditions. While more research and testing is needed to be sure that honey is really effective on skin irritations, it does give homemade soap a pleasing scent and texture. Honey soap recipes give you the chance to indulge in that natural fragrance. Whether you choose the cold or the hot process, be sure to use goggles, gloves and long-sleeved shirts when working with lye and always weigh the ingredients in a digital scale accurate to 0.01 ounces.
Things You'll Need
- Digital scale
- Safety goggles
- Rubber gloves
- NIOSH-approved face mask
- Double boiler
- Heat-safe mixing bowl
- Rubber spatula
- Measuring spoons
- Immersion stick blender
- Wooden spoon or mixing stick
- Soap molds
- Plastic wrap
- Old towels
- 6 ounces palm oil
- 5 ounces coconut oil
- 4 1/2 ounces olive oil
- 1/2 ounce beeswax
- 2.36 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
- 6 ounces distilled water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Slow cooker
- 12.7 ounces palm oil
- 5.29 ounces coconut oil
- 3.17 ounces olive oil
- 3.03 ounces lye
- 8.04 ounces distilled water
- 1/2 cup rolled oats, ground
Honey Soap, Cold-Process Method
Gather all of your equipment. Don your safety goggles and gloves. Cover exposed skin on your arms and legs with clothing for safety.
Weigh the lye and water into separate containers.
Place the heat-proof mixing bowl in a well-ventilated area and pour in the water. The fumes from lye are caustic, so it is critical that this step not be done in a closed area -- wear a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health approved face mask while you work even in a well-ventilated space. Put the bowl into a larger metal pan or a sink, in the event the mixture bubbles over the top of the bowl, as it can burn your skin.
Add the lye into the water to dissolve it. Always add the lye to the water, rather than adding the water to the lye. Remember this mnemonic: Add water to lye, and you may die.
Set the mixture aside to cool. The mixture can reach temperatures as high as 200 degrees Fahrenheit, so set the container on a hot pad or heat-safe surface.
Weigh the fats and combine them in the saucepan of a double-boiler.
Melt the fats, heating them to 120 to 140 degrees F.
Cool the fats and the dissolved lye until both mixtures reach about 100 degrees F.
Add the lye solution into the fats slowly.
Blend the soap with an immersion blender until a drizzle of the liquid leaves a trail on the top of the mix. This is known as the trace stage
Add the honey and mix thoroughly.
Pour the soap into your molds and cover them first with plastic wrap -- then with towels.
Allow the soap to set for 24 to 38 hours before unmolding it. Slice it into bars, if necessary.
Cure your soap for three to four weeks for best results. Store it in a cool, dry place to cure it.
Honey and Oats Soap, Hot-Process Method
Gather your equipment and soap ingredients. Put on the safety gear.
Prepare the lye mixture as for the cold-process method
Melt solid fats and then mix them all in the slow cooker.
Pour in the lye mixture.
Blend with the stick blender to the trace stage.
Turn the slow cooker to low heat and cover it.
Cook the soap for one hour.
Add the honey and oats and mix thoroughly.
Spoon the mixture into molds and allow it to set for at least 24 hours.
Unmold and slice the soap. Cure it for best results.
Tips & Warnings
- You don’t need fancy molds for soapmaking. Line a bread pan or a shoebox with baker’s parchment for an easy option, and then cut into bars when complete.
- For a different twist on your honey soap, dissolve the lye in 8.04 ounces of carrot puree. Add 2 teaspoons of ground ginger when you add the honey.
- Always mix lye in a well-ventilated area. The fumes are toxic, so work outside, open windows or otherwise ventilate your work area for safety.
- Never add water to lye. When mixing them, always add the lye to the water.
- Always wear safety goggles, face mask, rubber gloves and a long-sleeved shirt and long pants when working with lye. Dissolved lye is caustic and even a small splash can cause injury.
- Photo Credit matka_Wariatka/iStock/Getty Images
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