Homemade Bar Soap

Ok, as promised, here is that recipe for Homemade Bar Soap that Skyler uses.  He’s made a few batches so far, and for two people who are extremely eczema prone – it has done very well.  Skyler in particular is very picky about the soap that he uses.  For him, he’s had too many bar soaps and body washes that just dry his skin out way too much.  For me, I make do with whatever we have and just make sure to lather up in lotion afterwards.  That said, this soap hasn’t given either of us any complaints so far for the last 3-4 months we’ve used it.

Skyler bought a book called Smart Soapmaking by Anne L Watson, which is where we got the recipe and directions that we use.  This recipe and directions are from the book and called “Anne’s Shea Butter Supreme“.

You’ll need:

  • 10.5 oz (298 g) coconut oil
  • 10.5 oz (298 g) olive oil
  • 9 oz (255 g) shea butter
  • 8 oz (227 g) distilled water
  • 4.2 oz (119 g) lye
  • Optional: scent – .6 oz

You’ll also need a scale, aluminum free mixing bowls/utensils, wooden box or other soap form, digital “instant read” thermometer, saucepan, soup pot, 4 microwave safe bowls/glass measuring pitchers, small glass bowl for scent (if using), immersion blender,

1.  Wear long sleeves, long pants, shoes (or protective outer layer).  DON’T follow by example of my husband, who refuses to wear clothes at home.

2.  Make sure you have a special work area for mixing the lye – you need good ventilation for mixing the lye solution! (We mix ours outside).
3. Set your scale to either ounces or grams (we used grams) and place an empty bowl on the scale, push the “tare” button to reset the scale to zero.
4. Do step 3 (all in separate bowls) for:

255 g Shea Butter

298 g Coconut Oil

298 g Olive Oil

227 g Distilled Water

119 g Lye
5.  Do this for the scent if you are using one (.6 oz) 
6.  Melt the coconut oil and shea butter in the microwave until melted.  Watch carefully and microwave them just until they are fully melted and no longer.  You don’t want them to burn or smoke.
Set the fats aside and move outside (or to your ventilated area) to mix the lye solution.
7. Put on your goggles and gloves!  (Which Skyler DID do!  Sorta.)

8. Set the saucepan of distilled water into a slightly larger bowl, so you can place ice cubes around the saucepan.
9. Gradually mix in the lye, little by little, constantly stirring.  ALWAYS add the lye to the water, and never the opposite – NEVER add water to lye.
10. As the lye dissolves, the solution will get warm and give off fumes.
11. Keep the lye from forming a crust on the bottom – slowly stir it in so that it dissolves as it is added.  The solution will be cloudy first and then get more clear.
12. Check the temperature of the lye solution with the instant read thermometer.  Without letting the thermometer touch the bottom of the saucepan, the solution should have a temp between 90 and 110 degrees F.

Mixing everything together:

13. Pour the shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil into the big soup pot.
14. Pour the lye solution into the fats solution in the soup pot.

15. Start mixing everything together with the immersion blender.  Move it through the mixture so that it all gets mixed thoroughly.  Be careful to keep the blade submersed or it will cause air to get mixed into the soap.
16. When the mixture begins looking thick and smooth, like eggnog or thin pudding, you can stop mixing.

17. Mix in any scent you might have at this point.
18. Pour the mixture into your mold, scraping the pan out with a spatula and set aside overnight.

19. Your soap should be solid in about 12 hours and ready to come out of the mold in 24 hours.

 The next day.  Proving to all you fine folk that he DOES know how to wear clothes.

20. Take soap out of the mold, slice into bars and ENJOY! šŸ™‚

Other Info &Tips:

  • Anne suggests using a bowl of vinegar to rinse or soak spatulas/spoons/bowls that came in contact with the lye, before washing them. 
  • She also suggests handwashing everything once before putting them into the dishwasher to prevent soap overflowing – we don’t and haven’t have a problem.  But thought I’d throw it out there. šŸ™‚
  • Lye burns.  If you happen to touch it and get a burn, flush it with cold running water for at least 15 minutes, with any contaminated clothing removed.  Lye manufacturers recommend that you call a doctor or poison control for further help.
  • Skyler made the wooden box/form.  We’ve tried lining it with wax paper, and we’ve tried not lining it.  We’re not sure what way is easier to remove it from the box.  With wax paper, you’re picking paper out of crevasses and/or slicing sides off of soap.  Without wax paper, you’re using a metal spatula to pry it up off the wood, and slicing some of the sides if there’s wood that sticks.  Both are a little work… I’ll update if we find a better remedy. šŸ™‚
  • It suggests letting the soap “dry out” for a couple of weeks before using it, to let it solidify more and become milder.  
  • This soap isn’t necessarily “cheaper”.  It’s definitely not cheaper than cheap soap.  It’s cheaper than other handmade soaps or specialty soaps that you would purchase, but shea butter is expensive, so be prepared for that.  We don’t chose to make this soap for the cost reasons.  We chose it because we like the minimal ingredients nd it treats our dry-skinned bodies well!
  • We usually don’t choose a fragrance.  I like the mild coconut smell of the “fragrance-free” version.  We did do peppermint oil this batch to see how we like it.
  • Make sure your shea butter is the real deal!  The organic, raw, unrefined kind!  Skyler saw some “good deals” online, but upon investigation, found that it wasn’t 100% shea butter – so don’t be fooled! šŸ™‚

Hopefully those were clear enough directions!  You could always purchase the book “Smart Soapmaking” if you wanted!  There are some other recipes in there too which I think we will get around to trying.  This recipe was the best starter soap, according to the book. 

We love, love, love this soap.  We packaged it up for our mother’s for Christmas and even designed our own paper wrapping for them.  We called these “S.K.A.B Soap Bars” (Skyler.Kayla.Anderson.Bars)  for our mom’s… partly because it’s a knock off of S.L.A.B homemade soap, and partly because it’s a funny/gross name for soap.  šŸ™‚  Our good ol’ Skab bars.

If you try this, let me know how it turns out!

We had a very concerned one year old, while we were out mixing the lye solution.  See for yourself.

Love, K

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