Making soap is not for everyone, but most everyone can certainly do it. We start by buying premium Food-Grade oils such as Coconut and Olive oil and quality Sodium Hydroxide, Essential Oils and Fragrance Oils.. We also use quality, sustainable Palm oil., rich Mango Butters, Sweet Almond oil and Castor oil.
The most important step is safety. We put on our gloves and eye protection when we use Lye (Sodium Hydroxide). We carefully measure out how much lye we need into a glass container. Right down to the gram! We then measure out distilled water into a separate container, then slowly add the lye to the water. NEVER ADD WATER TO THE LYE! Once the water and lye have been combined, the fumes may be overpowering. You will also notice that the mixture is super hot. Do not touch the lye solution or let any children or pets near it as it can and will cause severe burns in this state.
We then measure out how much of each oils we use into a large pot, and melt them down over a low heat. This helps to incorporate the soft oils (olive, sweet almond, and castor) into the hard oils and butters (coconut,palm, and mango butter). Once cool enough to work with, we transfer the oils into our mixing container.
After both the lye solution and the oils come down in temperature (around 100 degrees F each), we slowly add the Lye solution to the oils. Using a stick blender, we combine the oils and lye solution until we reach emulsification. Continuing to blend will result in various stages of trace. Trace is when your soap mixture (batter) starts to thicken and resemble pudding.
Once our mixture is emulsified, we normally separate some of the batter and add in our other ingredients like coloring and essential oils or fragrance oils. At this time, we will continue blending to reach trace, depending on which mold we are using or which design we are trying to achieve.
Once all of the ingredients have been mixed and we have trace, we will simply pour into the mold(s). This can also be done a variety of ways. You can pour from each container, or pour one container into the other for an In the Pot Swirl. However you wish to do this step is OK and simply a personal preference.
After the batter has been poured into the mold(s), the next step can be the hardest for many. We wait. The batter must sit for about 24 -36 hours before it can be unmolded. This also allows for the saponification process to happen. Saponification is where the chemical reaction of the oils remove all traces of lye, making the bars of soap safe to use. YOU CANNOT HAVE SOAP WITHOUT LYE. Once unmolded, we place on our multi-bar cutter and slice into bars.
The soap can be used immediately, but be warned, it will not last as it is still too soft. The soap should go through a curing phase for about 4-6 weeks. This helps the bars dry out and become hard, resulting in a long lasting bar of soap.
After the bars have set for 4-6 weeks, we begin packaging. We either place the bar in a soap box, or band them if we have added things like “frosting” to the top. Obviously, these will not fit into a soap box.
At this point, our handcrafted soap is ready for market.
We hope you found this informative and fun to read.