Using Coconut Oil to Make Soap
Coconut oil, renowned for its deeply moisturizing and cleansing properties, has been a favored ingredient in soap crafting. Beyond its lavish lathering quality, coconut oil ensures a gentle and hydrating cleanse. This guide will walk you through crafting various types of soaps using coconut oil, offering a hands-on experience filled with opulence.
Safety Precautions with Lye:
Before beginning any soap-making process, it’s paramount to understand the inherent risks associated with lye:
- Always wear protective gloves and goggles: These will protect your skin and eyes from accidental splashes. A full-sleeved apron can also offer additional protection to your clothing and skin.
- Mix in a well-ventilated area: Lye can release fumes when mixed with water, which can be harmful if inhaled. Ensure you’re working in an area with ample airflow, preferably near an open window or an exhaust fan.
- Add lye to the water, never the other way around: Pouring water over lye can cause a violent reaction, leading to splattering. Remember the acronym “A.L.O.E” – Always Lye Over Everything.
- Keep lye out of reach of children and pets: It’s crucial to store lye in a secure place where curious hands or paws can’t access it.
- Have vinegar on hand: While water can spread a lye burn, vinegar can help neutralize the alkali in case of skin contact. However, if there’s any contact, it’s essential to rinse thoroughly with water and consult a medical professional immediately.
Coconut Oil Hand Soap
- Coconut Oil – 500 grams
- Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) – 70 grams
- Distilled Water – 190 grams
- Optional: Essential oils of your choice for scent – 15-20 drops (e.g., lavender, tea tree, or peppermint)
- Safety First: Ensure you’re wearing safety goggles and gloves. Work in a well-ventilated space and make sure no children or pets are nearby.
- Prepare the Lye Solution: Slowly pour the lye into the distilled water while stirring continuously. Never pour water into lye. This mixture will heat up rapidly. Allow it to cool down to room temperature.
- Melt the Coconut Oil: In a large pot, gently heat the coconut oil until it melts completely.
- Combine Lye Solution and Coconut Oil: Once both the lye solution and coconut oil are around the same temperature (preferably around 100°F or 37°C), slowly pour the lye solution into the melted coconut oil while stirring continuously.
- Blend to Trace: Use a stick blender to blend the mixture until it reaches a light trace. This means the mixture has thickened to a consistency similar to pudding.
- Add Essential Oils: If you’re using essential oils, now’s the time to add them. Blend until just incorporated.
- Pour into Molds: Transfer the soap mixture into soap molds. Tap the molds gently on your countertop to remove any air bubbles.
- Let It Set: Allow the soap to set in the molds for 24-48 hours. The soap will undergo the saponification process during this time, turning the oils and lye into soap.
- Unmold and Cut: After 24-48 hours, carefully remove the soap from the molds. Using a sharp knife or soap cutter, cut the soap into desired sizes.
- Cure the Soap: Place the soap bars on a ventilated shelf or rack for 4-6 weeks. This will allow the soap to harden and mildness to increase.
- Store and Use: Once cured, store the soap in a cool, dry place. Use as needed to cleanse hands.
Coconut Oil Body Soap
- Coconut Oil – 600 grams
- Olive Oil – 200 grams (to add softness to the soap)
- Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) – 110 grams
- Distilled Water – 240 grams
- Optional: Essential oils of your choice for scent – 25-30 drops (e.g., lavender for relaxation, or citrus for an invigorating feel)
- Optional: Natural colorants or botanicals like turmeric for color, or oatmeal for exfoliation.
- Safety Precautions: Always wear safety goggles and gloves. Ensure good ventilation and keep children and pets away.
- Lye Solution Preparation: Slowly and carefully add the lye to the distilled water, stirring continuously. Allow the solution to cool to room temperature.
- Melt and Combine Oils: In a large pot, melt the coconut oil and combine it with the olive oil. Ensure they are at a similar temperature as the lye solution, around 100°F (37°C).
- Blend Oils and Lye: Slowly pour the lye solution into the oil mixture, stirring continuously.
- Blend to Trace: Use a stick blender to mix until you achieve a light trace consistency.
- Add Additives: If using essential oils, natural colorants, or exfoliants, incorporate them now and blend until well combined.
- Mold the Soap: Pour the mixture into your preferred soap molds. Gently tap the molds to remove air bubbles.
- Set the Soap: Allow the soap to set for 24-48 hours.
- Unmold and Cut: Carefully release the soap from the molds and cut into desired sizes.
- Cure the Bars: Place the soap bars on a well-ventilated rack or shelf and let them cure for 4-6 weeks. This allows the soap to harden and become milder for the skin.
- Store and Enjoy: Once cured, store the soap in a cool, dry place. Enjoy the luxurious lather during your bath or shower!
This body soap, with the combination of coconut and olive oils, ensures a moisturizing and nourishing experience. The optional ingredients can add additional benefits, like exfoliation or a delightful fragrance.
Coconut Oil Shampoo Bar
- Coconut Oil – 500 grams
- Castor Oil – 100 grams (boosts lather and offers hair conditioning properties)
- Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) – 98 grams
- Distilled Water – 212 grams
- Essential oils (Optional) – 20-25 drops. Examples: tea tree (scalp health), lavender (scent and scalp relaxation), or peppermint (stimulates scalp)
- Optional: Natural additives such as aloe vera gel, chamomile or calendula infusion for added scalp care and conditioning.
- Safety First: Always wear safety goggles and gloves. Work in a well-ventilated area, and make sure no children or pets are around.
- Preparing the Lye Solution: Slowly add the lye to the distilled water while stirring gently. This will produce heat and fumes. Let it cool to around 100°F (37°C).
- Melt and Mix the Oils: In a separate pot, gently heat the coconut oil until melted. Add the castor oil to the melted coconut oil, ensuring they mix and are around 100°F (37°C).
- Blend Oils and Lye: Carefully pour the lye solution into the oils, mixing continuously.
- Blending to Trace: Using a stick blender, mix until the solution reaches a light trace consistency.
- Addition of Essentials: If you’re using essential oils or other natural additives, integrate them now and blend well.
- Molding the Shampoo Bar: Pour the soap mixture into your desired molds. Tap the molds gently to ensure no air bubbles are trapped.
- Setting the Bar: Let the shampoo bar set for about 24-48 hours.
- Release and Cut: After the setting time, carefully un-mold the shampoo bar and cut it into preferred sizes.
- Curing the Bars: Place the shampoo bars in a dry, ventilated space, and allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks.
- Storage: Once fully cured, store the shampoo bars in a cool, dry place. When ready, simply lather, apply, and rinse as you would with any shampoo.
This Coconut Oil Shampoo Bar provides a natural cleansing experience, benefiting from the hydration of coconut oil and the added lather and conditioning of castor oil. Essential oils and other additives can tailor the bar to specific hair and scalp needs.
Troubleshooting Common Soap Making Issues:
- Soap is too soft: This is often a result of not having enough lye or using a high percentage of soft oils in your recipe. A soft soap might also be a result of over-superfatting. It’s vital to let the soap cure for an extended period to see if it hardens up over time. If the soap remains soft after a prolonged cure, it might still be good as a body wash rather than a bar.
- Soap has a crumbly texture: This is typically an indicator of too much lye in the mixture. Always double-check your measurements and run your recipe through a lye calculator. Additionally, ensuring a thorough mix and reaching a full trace can help prevent a crumbly outcome.
- Soap has a chalky layer on top: This is referred to as soda ash. It forms when the lye in the soap reacts with carbon dioxide in the air. It’s completely harmless but might be aesthetically displeasing. To prevent it, you can spray the top of your soap with 99% isopropyl alcohol right after pouring it into the mold. If you’re already faced with soda ash, you can steam or wash it off, or even use a scraper or planer to gently remove the layer.
- Soap develops ‘dreaded orange spots’ or DOS: These are little orange or brownish spots that can appear on the soap’s surface, indicating that the oils in the soap have gone rancid. It can be caused by using old oils or storing the soap in a humid environment. Always use fresh, quality ingredients and store your finished products properly.
- Soap has pockets or holes: This can result from air bubbles trapped during the mixing process. To avoid this, tap the mold on the counter a few times after pouring the soap mixture in. This will help to release any trapped air.
- Soap has a ‘zapping’ sensation on the tongue: This is a sign that the soap is ‘lye-heavy’ and has unreacted lye. Always avoid tasting the soap, but if you’re unsure about its lye content, a pH test can be a safer way to check. Ensure that your measurements are accurate and always double-check your recipe.
Remember, while soap making is an art, it’s also a science. Patience, accuracy in measurements, and understanding the properties of your ingredients can help in preventing and remedying most soap-making issues.
Creating your own coconut oil-infused soaps offers not just a personal touch but also the knowledge of what goes onto your skin. With the added benefits of coconut oil, each wash promises a rejuvenating experience.