I have been wanting to make my own soaps for at least a decade, but was terrified of using lye. So I moved onto other things, like lip balm and hand bound books, and placed my dreams of soap making on the back burner. That is, until this past summer when I began looking for things to do during #the100dayproject and came across a few hot process soap recipes. They looked easy enough and even had VIDEOS showing what it looked like when adding lye to water.
So I invited a friend over while Anna was at school to make a batch, We ended up making coconut oil shampoo bars (which I absolutely LOVE and still use). My friend and I both found the process to be easy and enjoyable and were thrilled to be using a product we had made ourselves.
With that first attempt being such a success, I decided to give it another go. This time opting for a bar that I could use in place of our body wash. I settled on a very basic bar using a mix of olive and coconut oils to get a baseline for what made my skin the happiest. I also wanted to play around with scents since we opted to keep our shampoo bars unscented.
I am fairly happy with how this batch turned out. It leaves my skin feeling soft and moisturized while also smelling lovely in the shower. The only thing that I would change is the amount of lather it creates. Perhaps I’m just used to the shampoo bars which have the most luxurious lather around, but these take a bit more work to get the bubbles out.
Are you a fan of hot process soaps? What’s your go-to soap recipe?
How To Make Coconut + Olive Oil Hot Process Soap
- Digital scale*
- Lye* (aka sodium hyrdoxide)
- Long Sleeved Shirt
- Plastic mixing spoon*
- Glass measuring cup* and bowls*
- Immersion blender*
- Soap mold or bread pan (small shoe box, Pringles container, etc will also work)
*This is an affiliate link. I make a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase it through the link.
For a general overview of how to make hot process soap (and my absolute favorite shampoo bar recipe), check out this tutorial from Mommypotamus.
**THIS POST WAS UPDATED ON 10/5/2020 TO CLARIFY THE STEPS AND ALSO TO MAKE SURE THE RECIPE WAS MORE BALANCED AND INFORMED. PLEASE USE THIS VERSION FOR FUTURE BATCHES.**
Coconut + Olive Oil Hot Process Soap
- 125 grams Coconut Oil, 76 degree
- 325 grams Olive Oil
- 165.78 grams Distilled Water
- 66.31 grams Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
- Weigh all of your ingredients.
- Turn crockpot onto low and add coconut and olive oils.
- While the oil is warming up, add water to a lye-safe container (#5 plastic is the only thing recommended). In a well-ventilated area (or outside) and while wearing your mask, gloves, and long sleeved shirt, slowly add the lye to the water while stirring. Once the lye mixture transitions from cloudy to clear, bring it inside and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Once cool, add lye mixture to your crockpot and stir.
- Grab your immersion blender and work it around your crockpot in a figure eight motion. Continue doing this in 20 second intervals of blending and stirring with the immersion blender off until you achieve trace (when the mixture has the consistency of pudding).
- Cover and cook on low for 30-45 minutes. Keep an eye on your crockpot, as the mixture will rise and fall. If your crockpot isn’t big enough, it could leak out the sides.
- To test if your soap is done, either use a pH strip or do the “zap test” (put a little of the cooled soap on your tongue and if it zaps you, it needs a bit more time).
- Once soap is done, pour it into your molds and let set. Soap will be ready to unmold when it comes off of the mold easily or has hardened enough that your finger doesn’t leave an indentation when you press on it. This could take anywhere from several hours to 3-4 days depending on your environment.
- Remove soap from mold and cut into bars.
- Store in a cool, dry spot (basements are good for this) and allow to cure for 4-6 weeks.
Coconut oil = 25%
Olive oil = 75%
Superfat = 10%
Lye to water ration = 2.5:1