Monday, April 14, 2014

Learning to Make Soap

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to have a soap-making lesson with my good friend Laura. I've been lucky enough to receive her homemade soap as a gifts in the past, and have always wanted to learn how to make it myself.

Laura stirring in some extra olive oil, to
make the soap extra moisturizing.
I was surprised at just how precise a science the whole process is! I always assumed soap making was like cooking, but it's a lot more like chemistry class than Home Ec. Safety is SO important when making soap, as lye is caustic and can cause severe burns. Laura covered every surface in the kitchen and we wore rubber gloves and safety glasses. It's also really important to measure everything exactly by weight, and to make sure everything is exactly the right temperature. If you don't, your soap will not turn out right. Seriously, soap-making is both an art and a science!

I'd planned to put the recipe we used here, with step-by-step photos, I didn't get pictures of every step, as I was too involved in the process to photograph it! So I guess I'll just have to make MORE soap, and take better pics, and I'll post the recipe next time.

Pouring our soap into paper cup molds
The recipe we used was a very basic olive oil soap, to which we added some lavender and mint essential oils. It smells amazing! The hardest part is the WAITING. After your soap is molded, you're supposed to wait at least a week or two before you can use it. There seems to be quite a bit of debate on this in the soap-making community. Some say a week is fine, others say that it's best to wait a month or more. With our batch, I grew impatient after 10 days, and it seemed fine, if maybe a bit on the soft side.

I love that this soap is totally handmade, gentle on skin, vegan, green and pretty inexpensive to make. I really enjoyed our afternoon of soap-making, and I look forward to making another batch soon. When I do, I will most definitely be posting a recipe with step-by-step instructions, as promised!

Our finished soap!

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