So I love making homemade bath and body products (we’ve talked about this before), but I have yet to venture into the somewhat scary land of DIY soap making. For those of you that don’t know about soap making, it’s horrifying for someone like me who has a fear of hot things. The chemical reaction of saponification creates insane amounts of heat and you have to use lye which is very caustic and will give you burns in an instant. No thank you.
Luckily for me, there are about a million different kinds of melt and pour soaps that you can buy online and in craft stores. They’re basically blank canvases that you can add essential oils, colorants, and other moisturizers to, to create unique blends, and the best part is there are no scary chemical reactions that take place in your kitchen. All the hard work has been done for you. It’s beautiful.
If you are worried about having additives in your base you can buy some pretty good organic brands online, but I haven’t been able to find any organic options locally.
There are a wide variety of soap molds you can buy and my favorite is the traditional brick mold that you can cut into slices. However, for these soaps I decided to make miniature versions to give as gifts, so these are the ones I used:
The green mold is actually made by Ball (the canning jar people) and is sold as an herb freezing kit, but I’ve never used it as that. The pink one is a chocolate mold that I picked up at the craft store. Using silicone molds is a great option because they are dishwasher safe and the soaps pop out very easily.
The two recipes I’m going to tell you about are great because they use ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.
Cinnamon Oatmeal Shea Soap:
- 1/2 package (I think it was a 2 lb brick) shea butter Melt and Pour soap
- 2 tbsp shea butter
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup ground rolled oats (I used my coffee grinder to get it very smooth)
Cut the soap into 1 inch chunks and place in a large glass measuring cup. Microwave on high stirring every 30 seconds for about 3 minutes. You have to make sure you stop and stir it otherwise it will bubble over and you’ll have a soapy microwave. 😬
Once the soap is thoroughly melted add the shea butter and stir until smooth. Next add the cinnamon and oats and stir until well mixed. Pour soap into a mold of your choice and let cool for 2 hours. After 2 hours, flip the soap out onto a wire cooling rack and let cool for another 2 hours.
Even if your soap seems cool after you’ve taken it out of the mold it’s still really important that you let it cool on the rack. Soap sweats… I know that’s weird but it does. If you package it up directly out of the mold it will have moisture bead up on the surface which will affect its shelf life. Drying it on a cooling rack helps evaporate the surface moisture and reduces the likelihood of sweat forming later.
Grapefruit and Himalayan Salt Exfoliating Bars
- 1/2 package shea butter soap
- 2 tbsp of shea butter
- 2 drops of red soap colorant (you can omit this if you need to)
- 15-20 drops of grapefruit essential oil
- 1/4 cup coarse pink Himalayan salt
Melt soap using same method as before and add in your shea butter, essential oils, and colorants, stirring well to get the color uniform. Pour the soap into molds and add 1 tsp of Himalayan salt to each mold. The salt will distribute in the mold, so you won’t have to stir it.
These soaps were much thinner than my oatmeal soap so they were ready to go to the cooling rack in 1 hour. I still let them dry for about 2 hours before I packaged them to ensure there was no moisture. They look so pretty all packaged up!
These make beautiful gifts or you can simply put them out in your guest bathrooms. I love to use them after I’ve been painting, because the salt helps scrub away the dried paint. I hope you love them too!