Friday, October 31, 2008

Hot Process Soap Making Class (w/Deanna Salter) at The Nova Studio

After waiting almost a year, I finally had the opportunity to take the Hot Process Soap Making Class at The Nova Studio (

At first I was a little nervous about the course because Lori was not teaching the class herself. But after talking to Lori about Deanna's credentials, I felt more at ease. Deanna makes soap by the hot process method, although she primarily uses the oven, but she seemed very comfortable with the crockpot version. In addition, she was using Lori's handout with a few of her own modifications.

I really enjoyed the class and really learned alot. What is really great about the hot process method is that it is alot like cold process but the saponification process is accelerated by cooking the soap. Which means that you do not have to cure the soap as long as you would in cold process. Plus you use less of your fragrance in this method, which means you save money. What is great is that I don't have to worry about my fragrance oils seizing and I can use my silicone loaf molds until I can afford a wooden mold from Mission Peak Soap.

I am looking forward in making soap by the hot process method. When I attempt my first batch, I will let you know how it goes.

If you are interested in taking this class, check out The Nova Studio's website ( when the next class is offered. If you would like to check out a full description of this class, then here you go But, I must let you know that their is a requirement of experience making soap by the cold process method or taking the studio's cold process class (which Deanna now is also teaching). For the full description of the Cold process soap making class, here is the link for you to check out -

Overall, I would recommend this class. And for all of you melt and pour soapmakers, this is a great soapmaking process to use your fragrance oils. And if you are afraid of working with lye, after taking the cold process class and this class, I will admit I have no more fears.

Have Fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Face Mask

Facial Masks help to remove dead skin and toxins. They can also tone, moisturize, soothe and add vitamins to the skin. Pumpkin contains Vitamin A, C and natural fruit acids. Vitamin A regenerates skin tissue and is vital for healthy looking skin. Fruit acids dissolve dead skin cells and promotes radiant skin from the new skin cells.

Vitamin Rich Pumpkin Mask
1 tsp dried pumpkin pulp powder
1/2 tsp white kaolin clay
1/2 tsp colloidal oatmeal
2 drops carrot seed essential oil
2 tsps orange blossom water/hydrosol mix thoroughly and apply to face and décolleté(your neck area)
Carrot Seed Essential Oil is an age-defying essential oil, it contains beta-carotene which the body converts to Vitamin A. Carrot Seed is highly rejuvenating and revitalizing. Great to use for mature, dry and wrinkled skin.

Where to purchase ingredients:

pumpkin pulp powder
white kaolin clay
colloidal oatmeal
carrot seed essential oil
orange blossom water/hydrosol natural grocery stores on the baking aisle and

Simple Kitchen Pumpkin Mask

*1 Tbsp canned pumpkin pulp(when making your pumpkin pie save a little for yourself)
optional: add ground oatmeal to slightly thicken

Applying the Mask

Gently massage mask onto face and décolleté in circular motionsleave mask on your face for 10 minutes or wash off face when mask starts to dry and pull on the face.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What is the Difference Between Lip Gloss and Lip Balm?

Balm is defined as a medicated ointment that can be used to soothe or resolve skin issues. Lip balm in particular may come in small round jars, or in cylinders like those used in Chap Stick®. In many cases, lip balm may be applied with the fingers from small jars and is used to help soothe chapped or sunburned lips. This differs from the more oily lip gloss, which may contain color or glitter, and is used to give the lips a shiny appearance.

Not all lip balm is equally effective. Many are made with infusions of natural herbs like mint or chamomile. Some forms of lip balm can calm down or prevent chapping. Some also offer sunscreen to prevent sun damage.

Lip balm may not have much effect if chapped lips are related to other problems. For example, chapped lips may be indication of anemia, and lip balm will have little affect on this problem. People who are chronically dehydrated will also not see much change when using lip balm, because what they really need to do is to drink more fluids.

Some lip glosses can also be medicated and soothe chapped lips. Primarily, however, their goal is to provide an esthetically pleasing look to the mouth, which a lip balm does not provide. A lip gloss with Vitamin E or aloe vera may be soothing as well as pretty. It may not address severe chapping problems. Some people wear lip gloss over lip balm to hide the waxy appearance of the balm.

Some lipsticks may also function as a lip balm. Unlike lip gloss they tend to be opaque, rather than transparent. They may also contain Vitamin E or supplements to help keep the lips moist. Not all lipsticks provide this. In fact some have a primary ingredient of alcohol in them, which tends to dry out the lips.

If chapped lips are the result of cold sores, one should not reuse lip balm after a cold sore has resolved. One should especially not share lip balm, lip sticks or gloss with a friend, especially if one gets cold sores. These are usually a form of herpes virus that can be passed to other people. If one develops a cold sore while using any type of lip product, be certain to discard the product so as not to reinfect the area.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Antibacterial Soap Benefits

What is a hospital antibacterial soap? It is one of the cleaning products that are used by consumers and staff at hospitals that have antibacterial chemical agents that cam kill bacteria, but they do not kill viruses. Triclosan is a common ingredient on most liquid, hand and body soaps. Some of the studies have concluded that when you simply wash your hands thoroughly with plain soap, bacteria are sufficiently reduced. But more extensive studies have shown that hospital antibacterial soap removes more bacteria than just by washing with water and an ordinary soap. And hospitals can not afford to let bacteria run wild in their wards. Antibacterial soap and frequent hand washing are keys to reducing bacterial infections.

Hospital antibacterial soap is very important in controlling the spread of bacterial in a hospitals and reduces the risk of getting infection. The benefit of washing hands using an antibacterial soap has been proven in obstetrics, in operating rooms, in intensive care units and in doctor’s offices as well as in every health care setting. Hand washing has been proven effective in preventing such common infections in little children at home and in school.

When is the proper time to wash your hands? Children and adults too must be taught to wash their hands at critical moments. They must wash their hands after changing a diaper, before eating and handling food, before feeding children and defecating. Remember to wash not only with water but with hospital antibacterial soap and it takes about 15 to 20 seconds to do that. Do you know that washing with soil and water is more effective that washing only with water alone?Hospital antibacterial soap is more effective in reducing infections by some organisms. The antibacterial soap can get rid and kill much of the bacteria that usually lives on our skin and can protect us from getting and spreading infection.

Doctors and nurses use hospital antibacterial soap even in their homes and teach their children to wash their hands regularly with antibacterial soap. When they teach their children to effectively wash their hands especially with hospital antibacterial soap, they will have lesser visits to their doctor. Parents will save on drugs and doctors visits when their kids are healthy. Kids will not have to miss school and not get ill that often. Schools and hospitals with regular hand washing programs have fewer cases of infections on students, patients and hospital staff.
The researchers found out that bacteria from people’s hands have not changed generally in recent years. But it is said that health care professionals compared to the general population have fewer bacteria. That is probably because they pay more attention on washing their hands regularly than us and use hospital grade antibacterial soaps at work and in their homes.

How to wash your hands:

First you should wet your hands with warm water. If there is no warm water then tap water will do. Then apply a hospital antibacterial soap to your hands and do not put your hands under the running water yet. Give at least 20 seconds of rubbing your hands with hospital antibacterial soap. Then rinse under the running water.

Reliable Paper Inc stocks the major brands of antibacterial soap on the market today including Gojo, Kimberly Clark, Kimcare, Johnson Diversey, Lever 2000, Dial, Colgate Palmolive, Softsoap, Lurosep, and more.

Ecommerce and database specialist in the janitorial, foodservice, office supply, hospital, hunting, and fishing industries.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Whipped Soap Cold Process Soap

From David Fisher,Your Guide to Candle & Soap Making

Let's Make Soap Whipped (Room Temperature) Soap

If you've got the basics of cold process soap making down, here's a neat variation for you to try. I had seen this process on an Australian soap maker named Nizzy's site a few years ago, but had never tried it. The process is unique in a couple of ways - instead of beating the melted oils and lye in a hot soap pot, you whip both the oils and soap in a bowl. And instead of working at about 100 degrees, you do everything at room temperature. The result is a very white, opaque, almost candy-like soap that gives lovely pastel colors - and yes, it floats! Be sure to check out Nizzy's site especially the Gallery of Whipped Soap Simply Amazing Stuff! My humble soaps are nothing in comparison to his!

But, you've got to start somewhere, so, for this project, you'll need a basic understanding of cold process soap making, and: A basic soap recipe adjusted as noted below:

*A large mixing bowl

*A mixer with at least beater attachments - a whisk attachment is even better. (Best of all is a big KitchenAid mixer!)

*Some rubber spatulas

*Fragrance and color, as desired

*A mold for the soap

Once you've got all that together, the first thing to do is tweak your recipe...

(1)Let's Make Soap Whipped (Room Temperature) Soap
(2) Create Your Recipe
(3)Whip/Cream the Solid Oils
(4)Add the Liquid Oils
(5) Add the Lye-Water
(6)Keep Whipping!
(7)Color and Mold
(8)Layering the Soap in the Mold
(9) Leave the Soap Mold to Set
(10) Unmold and Enjoy

For full presentation of pictures, click on this link

Does cold process soapmakers have there own whipped soap recipes they would like to share? Please let me know I and I will post it.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Oatmeal Milk Bath Recipe

This is a nice recipe because it is forgiving and does not have to be exact. No scales necessary. Very little prep time.

1/2 cup Colloidal Oatmal
1 cup Powdered Buttermilk
1 cup Sodium Sesquicarbonate (dissolves better than baking soda)
1/2 cup Natrasorb Bath
2 Tablespoons Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Fragrance Oil

Place Natrasorb in a large bowl. While using a wire wisk or hand mixer on a low setting, drizzle fragrance into natrasorb until mixed well. Once liquid is fully absorbed, continue to mix in remaining dry ingredients. Package and label.

Note: We like the 8 oz. French Square Bottle and Black Ribbed Cap for this product! We also carry a White Cap that fits this container.

Wishing You Much Success!
Debbie May


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Decadent Body Soufflè Recipe

Body soufflès have to be one of the most decadent ways to indulge yourself. Light, fluffy and not a bit greasy. A must try at least once!

For the best results it is recommended that ingredients be weighed out where indicated.

In a large stock pot place the following:

625 grams (milliletres) filtered water
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

Using a whisk you can mix the two together. Place on the stove and heat between medium and high. You can whisk the mixture together, but it will appear a little lumpy in places. Not to be alarmed. It will loose it's lumpiness as it heats up and you can whisk this again throughout the warming period to eliminate the lumps. Bring this up to approximately 170oF.

In a second pot place the following (all measured by weight)

15 grams cetyl alcohol flakes
25 grams cocoa butter (melted measure)
25 grams mango butter (melted measure)
25 grams sweet almond oil
15 grams stearic acid
20 grams emulsifying wax

Place this mixture on the stove half way between low and medium. Don't stir the mixture, just let all of the waxes and oils met together. Once they're all totally melted and there are no little pieces then it is safe to stir. Temperature should be approximately 170oF.

Add the oil and wax mixture to the water mixture. Then add the following at room temperature:
25 grams vegetable glycerine (weighed measure)
1 teaspoon Germall Plus (preservative)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon perfume fragrance or essential oil

Using a hand held stick blender, like the Braun - mix all of the ingredients together. You can run the blender around the pot several times to make sure it's all emulsified.

That's it... you can add your dye if you wish and start filling your cosmetic jars.

The soufflè will thicken up as it cools. The thickening agent is the xanthan gum.

Makes approximately 26 to 28 oz.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Classic Pumpkin Soaps

I like these soaps because they are a great size (about 4 oz) and fit nicely in your hand. The simplicity of the design is great for all fall months. The scent is a TOP seller!


1.5 lb Crafter’s Choice Ultra White Soap
1/2 oz Crafter’s Choice Pumpkin Crunch FO
½ oz Crafter’s Choice Vanilla Color Stabilizer
Crafter’s Choice Citrus Orange Liquid Dye
Silicone Pumpkin Mold


Melt soap as directed. In glass cup, mix fragrance and stabilizer. Add stabilized fragrance. Add color until desired shade is achieved. Pour into molds. Allow to harden. Remove from molds. Package and label as directed.

Fall Packaging Idea:
Place in Cello Bag 4.75 x 6.75 and tie with two strands of raffia.

Working Hard for Your Success!
Debbie May


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Halloween Glowing Ghosts

This is a great soap, popular with kids and adults of all ages. I will be making these myself for Halloween and and passing them out to "special friends & neighbors".

1 lb. Crafter’s Choice Clear Suspension Soap
1-2 teaspoons Glow in the Dark Powder
3 drops of Black Liquid Pigment
1/2 oz. Crafter’s Choice Lemon Sugar FO
Silicone Ghost Mold

Melt all of soap as directed. In a mixing cup, remove 1/8 oz of the soap and add black color. Using a dropper, place the liquid black color in the eye and mouth areas of the mold. Add fragrance and glow color to remaining clear soap. Stir well. Using rubbing alcohol, spritz the black soap. Pour glowing soap into molds. When soap has returned to room temperature, remove from molds. Package in cello bags , tie with black curling ribbon and and label as directed.

Special Notes:
The suspension soap prevents the glow powder from settling to bottom of the mold. If you do not have suspension soap, you can use clear soap....allow it to cool significantly before pouring into molds. This will keep the powder evenly dispersed.If you do not wish to layer the soap in the eye and mouth areas of the mold, pour the entire bar with the glow soap. Use black acrylic craft paint (non toxic for kids) over eyes and mouth. Allow paint to dry for 24 hours before packaging. This technique will wash off with first use.

Much Success!
Debbie May


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Coconut and Lemon Salt-Sugar Scrub

For a refreshing start or end to your day, try this invigorating Aussie Lemon Essential Oil and Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub! Customize this recipe to suit your skin -this scrub leaves legs and elbows soft and supple. Try using our Bail Jars or Wide Neck Jars for presentation and/or storage for your scrub.


150g Raw Sugar
100g Natural Sea Salt
30g Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil
20g Polysorbate 20
20 - 50g Rice Bran Oil - **Adjust this quantity to suit
5mls Australian Lemon Essential Oil (You can use a maximum of 2.5% Essential Oils)

This is recipe is really just a guide using yummy ingredients - you can customise by:

Increasing or decreasing the amount of Rice Bran Oil (or your liquid oil of choice) will make a firmer or sloppier scrub:

*For a finer blend, use a coffee grinder to make sugar and/or salt granules smaller

*For a different style of scrub, use pure white Caster Sugar for a clean look

*Change the Essential Oil or blend them if desired

*The Polysorbate 20 allows some of the oil to rinse from your skin, thus making your skin soft, but not greasy, this can be increased or decreased

* Instead of salt, try grind Rice to a fine texture, this is nice too

*Use a Fragrance Oil, or blend of Fragrance and Essential Oils

To Make:

Mix all ingredients together. If making during winter, you may wish to slightly warm the coconut oil to enable it to mix more easily. In summer this won’t be necessary.

To Use:

Spoon or scoop out some scrub, and use on arms and legs (this recipe is not suitable for the face). I like to sit or stand in the bath so there's little mess.


Our recommendation is to use 1% Phenoserve to preserve this scrub, particularly if storing for any length of time.

TIP: Invest in a coffee grinder, as it will make light work of so many ingredients used in Soap and Scrubs.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lip Balm, Eye Balm and Body Balm Class with Joan

On October 11, 2008, I took a class on lip balm, eye balm and body body balm class with Joan at The Nova Studio (

This is the second class I have taken from Joan (the first class was a body butters class that I took back in July) and just like the first class I was very satisfied with the outcome. Joan is very knowledgeable about the ingredients she uses and her instructions in her handouts are very simple and to the point. This is really nice because then it makes it so much to recreate these products at home.

Just to let you know that this class is a 3 hour demonstration style class. So, Joan first starts out the class discussing the ingredients. This is a great way to start out, but sometimes it gets to be too much and it seems like she has to rush to complete the class by the ending time. I would suggest is condensing the discussion of the ingredients in the beginning and include more of a discussion of the differences between a body balm, foot balm and eye balm. And maybe include in her handout how to adapt her recipes from a body balm to a foot balm. This is only a minor thing which does not diminish the overall atmosphere of the class. What was a definate bonus during this portion of the class is that Joan discussed how to make your own infused oil. It is really simple and I look forward to doing this in the future!

Joan is very easy going and is more than happy to answer any questions one may have. Her handouts are very easy to follow and have wealth of information from ingredients to suppliers. By the end of the class, students will take home with them a lip balm, an eye balm and a 8 oz body balm.
After taking this class, I will make all of these products. I will probably start making the lip balms first. The eye and body balms are a firmer product than a body butter. And I found them difficult to retrieve from the jar. So, when I make them in the future I may package them in push tubes and see how that works. Maybe it will be easier to apply a foot balm to my cracked heels!

What was especially nice that out of the 15 students, three of them were guys! So for all the guys out there - learning to make your own body products is not only a gal thing, but for guys too!

I would highly recommend taking this class. So, if you would like to see when Joan is teaching this class next at the Nova Studio, go to the studio's website at or check out Joan's website at If you would like to see a full description of the class, here is a link that you can review

I would like to take Joan's Aromatherapy Soy Candles class. The next time the class is offered is in December. I am not sure if I am able to take it then since money is on the tight side. She also teaches a beeswax candle making class. I think it may be offered on the same day. If you can take these classes, I would suggested it. Because candles make great gifts and this is the right time for it. It always seems that friends and family like to receive gifts that you make, especially the type they can use.

Monday, October 20, 2008

9 Steps to Soapmaking Success

by By Lisa Maliga

Melt and Pour soap is glycerin soap which is made from vegetable oils and is safer for your skin than most commercial brands found in your drug store or supermarket. You can obtain melt and pour soap over the Internet. Keywords are: melt and pour soap making or glycerin soap. You'll pay around $3 - $5 per pound. Translucent glycerin and opaque are the most common types sold. Opaque glycerin is white as it is colored with the mineral titanium dioxide. Also, you will be able to buy soap making kits that contain all the needed ingredients.

Once you've made your first batch, you can get more creative when choosing colors, scents, and additives such as dried flowers, herbs or soothing oils. You'll discover the ideal way to make useful gifts for family, friends and co-workers. Your newfound hobby may even turn into a new work-at-home business!

Soap Supplies:
Glycerin melt - 2 pounds [32 ounces]
Coloring - cosmetic grade color nuggets
Fragrances - [cosmetic grade only]


These will come in various sizes and shapes but plastic is recommended. You can order soap molds online or find them at a crafts shop or candle supply store.

You can use microwavable containers, food containers, candle molds or even drawer organizers. At many discount stores you can find the perfect mold, and for less than $2 in many cases. Using plastic means that you can reuse it and that it will make getting the soap out so much easier than a glass mold.

Warning: Don't use aluminum or metal.

Step 1: On the cutting board you'll slice up the soap into cubes, approximately one to two inches. You'll then put these into a plastic container, first weighing the container and noting the weight, and putting the filled container onto the scale.

Step 2: Using your double boiler, fill the bottom part with water a few inches deep. For microwave users only - when you melt the soap, don't use the highest heat, watch the soap carefully and don't melt it all the way, allow a few chunks to remain. They'll melt quickly.

Step 3: For the double boiler method, put the soap in the top level and melt, stirring occasionally. Add a piece of color if using Color Nuggets, from the prepackaged colors you've bought. Powdered colors aren't highly recommended for glycerin soap, as they're more difficult to mix. Cosmetic grade liquid colors can be used.

Step 4: Once the color is melted it's time to add the fragrance. Use 1 teaspoon and let your nose be your guide. Underscenting will cause your soap to be less aromatic after a few months. Adding a little more scent is okay.

Step 5: Pour your soap into the mold. For this recipe you need a 4.5-cup capacity mold. A rectangular shape is preferred.

Step 6: You can let your soap harden at room temperature, or you can put it into the freezer for about 30-60 minutes. Freezing the soap speeds up the process and allows the soap to pop out of the mold easier.

Step 7: It's time to see your first successful chunk of handmade Melt and Pour glycerin soap. You can tell it's ready when: the mold is cool and it easily pulls away from the soap. Release it onto a wax paper-covered surface. Cover it with more wax paper and a paper towel. You should allow it to return to room temperature before using it. It's advised to let it sit for 24 hours for the fragrance oil to settle.

Step 8: Cutting the soap can be done with a large knife. This recipe yields approximately 6 bars, depending on the thickness. Plane the rough edges and traces of white filmy popped bubbles with a paring knife. These will be more noticeable on darker colored soap.

Step 9: Wrap the pieces with a cling wrap. The generic cling wrap is better. Pricier cling wraps don't allow the aroma to be smelled, as they're too thick. Make a label for your soap if you'll be giving it to someone for a special occasion like Christmas, birthdays, a wedding or anniversary, a promotion, etc. You should list the ingredients.

About the Author

Lisa Maliga, owner of Everything Shea Aromatic Creations offers a fragrant selection of designer shea butter glycerin soaps, exclusive Whipped Shea Butter, & unique SoapCakes to personalize for gifts or promotions.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Soap on a Rope


Translucent Soap Base
Soap Mold of your choice
Red, yellow, green & blue soap color chips
Rope (nylon cord works well)
Fragrance Oil or Essential Oil (Choose type and amount you like)


Bring ends of cord together and tie an overhand knot. Cut ends off close to the knot. If mold is too shallow to hide the knot, tape cord ends together. Pour the mold half full of melted soap. Place the cord ends in the mold. Hold or tape the cords in place. Fill the mold with the remainder of the soap. Don't move the cords until the soap cools. Remove the soap from the mold when it is completely cool and hard.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why Use an Aromatherapy Diffuser?

An apparatus used to scatter the scent of different oils and substances into the air is an aromatherapy diffuser. You get the benefit of the essential oils as a result simply by breathing in the air.

Diffusers come in various types, from purse size to a spa diffuser. Dispersing the essential oil into the room or space desired in the only purpose of diffusers no matter what type. Specialty stores and sometimes in department stores is where you can find aromatherapy diffusers.


In order to use a homemade diffuser there are many ways to make use of what you already have in your house in case you aren’t sure if you should yet invest in a store bought diffuser. The
following are a few tips to try:

1. A dispenser can be made from a deep glass bowl that isn’t larger than your face dimension. Fill it only half way with boiled water. Add about ten drops of essential oil into the water. The heat will cause the oil to evaporate and dispense the oil essence into the desired room you place it in.

2. Diffusers can also be made from candles. Candles that already come in a jar are a good idea. Let the candle burn for half an hour or at least until the wax is melted in the jar, then add the desired essential oil. You will get the same effect you would get with the boiling water method. The oil will be dispersed in the air from the heat. You must remember to use the essential oil with great caution since it is flammable.

Types of Aromatherapy Diffusers Available

1. Terracotta rings that go around the bulb are lamp rings. These have a grooved lip that goes
all the way around. You pour the essential oils into the rings and the bulb will heat and disperse the scent into the air and fill the desired room.

2. Fan diffusers disperse the essential oil into the desired room through the use of a fan. Placing the oil on a disposable absorbent pad and then placing it into the unit and starting the fan
achieves the desired results. There are a variety of sizes to choose from with fan diffusers.

3. A very small fan is used along with an electric heat diffuser to gently disperse essential oil into the desired room.

4. A great apparatus is a nebulizer which breaks the essential oil into separate molecules before dispersing them around the room. This makes the absorption of the essence both better and quicker. It is said that this method has a higher therapeutic value.

To de-stress and enjoy your time at home or in the office an aromatherapy diffuser is a great and inexpensive device.

About the Author

Lance Winslow in an Aromatherapy and Essential Oils expert; and writes
on aromatherapy, aromatherapy diffuser and aromatherapy herbs.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Color Additives for Bath Products

Cosmetic Grade Color Additives fall into two categories, Organic and Inorganic. (Inorganic refers to the fact that they lack a carbon molecule and has nothing to do with the quality or purity of the Color Additive).

Organic Color Additives: Dyes, Water Soluble (like our FD & C dyes), Oil Soluble, Pigments, Lakes, Carmines. The Dyes can be water or oil soluble.

Water Soluble Dyes, like our FD & C Dyes, give crisp, brilliant, transparent color to your clear products and light, clean tints to your opaque products. They are great for coloring soaps, lotions, creams, powders, salts, etc. They can bleed if used in high concentrations in your products so do not over use and test in small batches. The color may not be very stable under alkaline conditions or if exposed to light, therefore, soaps made with FD & C dyes may fade.

Oil Soluble Dyes, like our Oxides & Ultramarines, can be used for a variety of oil based formulations.

Inorganic Color Additives: Pigments, Iron Oxides, Manganese, Ultramarines, Titanium Dioxide, Ferric Ferrocyanide (Iron Blue), Chromium Oxide

Inorganic Color Additives are regulated by the FDA to ensure that they do not contain harmful levels of heavy metals. Although Iron Oxides can be found in nature (rocks, dirt), they contain heavy metals such as lead so Iron Oxides for cosmetics are synthetically manufactured. They produce "earthy" tones and never bright, true colors. You can achieve beautiful muted colors with these pigments.

Iron Oxides are the most widely used of the Inorganic Pigments. There are 3 basic colors - Red, Black and Yellow Oxides. From these 3 oxides and the addition of Titanium Dioxide, you can achieve any shade of brown (Skin Tones). So if you are trying to create a skin tone foundation, blush, bronzer, this is where you start. They are stable under normal pH ranges and have excellent light stability however, they should not be subjected to high heat as the colors may change slightly.

Manganese Violet is not stable in alkaline environments so it should not be used in soap and it decomposes in water so it should not be used in water based formulations. It can be used to tint oil based products, and will give a nice mauve to deep purple tone. Do not use in lip products.

Ultramarines are mostly used in bar soap and cosmetics. They are not stable in acid conditions under a pH of 7 and will release hydrogen sulfide when exposed to acid (which will smell like rotten eggs!). They do very well in alkaline products such as soap. They are light stable.
Titanium Dioxide is used to lighten other pigments and lends opacity to formulations. Use to whiten soaps and other formulations which have undesired yellow tints.

Ferric Ferrocyanide or Iron Blue fades in alkalinity and is not for use in lip products, We do not carry an iron blue pigment, however, it is commonly found in many of our blue toned Pearlescent Micas.

Chromium Oxide Green (yellowish green) and Hydrated Chromium Oxide Green (aqua green) have excellent stability in bar soaps but tend to be heavy and difficult to disperse so they will settle out if used in a liquid formulation.

Pearlescent Micas:
Micas use light reflection, refraction, and transmission to exhibit their effects much like a prism creates various colors as light passes through it. They are made by coating small platelets of mica with various dyes and pigments. The size of the mica particle is measured in microns and determines the luster of the mica (the ability of the mica to bend and reflect light).

Smaller sizes will give a pearlescent effect with a smooth sheen. Medium size particles give a satin effect. Large particle sizes give a sparkle effect. The smaller the particle size is, the more opaque it will make your product. So you can use the fine micas to opacify transparent soaps. Some micas are first coated with an iron oxide which absorbs light and then it is coated with an interference color to reflect light. The result is a two-tone mica which changes color as it turns. Micas can be heavy and therefore may settle out in low viscosity. To use in soaps, pour your soaps at cooler temperatures as they will suspend the micas better. To achieve the real effect of a mica in soap, the particles need to be aligned in the same direction - you can try pouring your soap and then "combing" the surface of the soap in one direction using a spatula. You will get different results when you add micas to colored verses non-colored soaps. Having a background color enhances the effects of the mica.

Using Color Additives:
To use Organic Dyes, you need to first mix with water if you purchased a powder form. Add your liquid dye drop by drop to your product and stir until the desired color is achieved. These will not work in oils or oil based products like lip balm.

To use Inorganic Pigments, you will need to first disperse the pigment in oil and then blend the pre-disperse pigment into your batch. These will not work in water formulations such as body sprays or low viscosity formulations such as body oils.

To use Pearlescent Micas, you can add them to a dry medium and stir (such as salts, or powders) or disperse them in oil or water and blend into your batch. When adding to soap, you can disperse it in a little bit of liquid soap first and then blend into the whole batch.

Using Color Additives can be tricky even for someone with a chemistry background and ALWAYS requires testing. Colors may bleed, fade, speckle, change over time, not result in the color you expected, etc. Colors will be affected by the color of your base, any fragrances used, other ingredients, pH and other variables. We cannot provide all the information necessary for the proper use of color additives here and therefore we encourage you to do your own research. Color additives should not be used directly on the skin. Even micas should be combined with fillers and then properly preserved for making cosmetic blushes, etc. We do not provide any technical support for the formulation of eye and face cosmetics. DO NOT use any of these Color Additives for making eye products without proper technical knowledge. When making lip products, double check to make sure the product can be used in lip formulations.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Creepy Halloween Soaps


Clear Glycerine soap base
"Rounds and Ovals" soap mold
Several drops of essential oil for fragrance
(try a mixture of Lavender and Peppermint)
Small plastic spiders, bats, etc.


Place plastic trinkets in bowl of soap mold with right-side facing down.*

In a small microwave-safe bowl, place about 20 cubes of soap base. Melt soap in microwave on HIGH power for approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds. Soap should be heated until most but not all of it is melted. The remaining chunks should be gently stirred until they are completely melted. Stir in essential oils.

Carefully pour melted soap into mold. Allow to cool and harden. Do not move the mold until it has set up. To release soap from mold, place mold in freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and let sit for several minutes. As the mold warms up it will expand and the soap will pop out.

*To have the trinket remain in the center of the soap you can do a double pour. Pour melted soap into mold filling 1/2 way. Allow to cool and set-up for 10 minutes. Place trinket right-side down and pour another layer of melted soap into mold.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pumpkin Pie Soaps

Submitted by Melinda to Wholesales Supplies Plus Forum

1 lb. MP Soap base, your choice
1 tsp. pumpkin seed powderup to
1 T. pumpkin pie FO
soap molds

Cut the base in chunks, put in pyrex cup and cover with saran wrap. Microwave at 50% power for 1-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until just melted. Allow to cool just for a minute or two, keep stirring occasionally to prevent a "skin" from forming. Add pumpkin seed powder and Pumpkin Pie fragrance oil and stir. Pour into molds, allow to harden completely, unmold, and wrap in saran wrap. Makes a fantastic holiday soap, I got so many compliments on this one last year.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hot Process Soap Recipes (2lb, 3lb, 4lb)

I found this recipe for hot process soap (oven version) on the following link;, And what I really like about it is that the author has included the ingredient amounts for 2 pound, 3 pound and 4 pound batches.  What is great about hot process soap is that you can use it a lot sooner than regular cold process recipe.


For 2 pounds:

16 oz. coconut oil
16 oz. olive oil
12 oz. water (6oz. liquid per pound of fats)
4.80 oz. lye (allows a buffer of 6% fat to be in soap)
0.64 oz. shea butter or cocoa butter (to superfat)

Finished batch size: 4 pounds

24 oz. coconut oil
24 oz. olive oil
18 oz. water
7.21 oz. lye
0.96 oz. shea butter or cocoa butter (to superfat)

Finished batch size: 3 pounds

32 oz. coconut oil
32 oz. olive oil
24 oz. water
9.61 oz. lye
1.28 oz. shea butter or cocoa butter (to superfat)

This is a recipe for Hot Process (Oven Process) but please follow instructions and precautions for making cold process soap. I usually wait till lye and oil are no higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, then you can combine lye water and melted oils in a large pot. Make sure you have plenty of room as hot process methods tend to 'grow' soap; so allow about 6" of room to spare in your pot. In cold process, you always have to have trace, but in hot process it's not really necessary, but I do it anyway.

After trace (or just stir with a wire whisk until slightly cloudy) place pot in 220 degree preheated oven. Set timer for 20 minutes and then check and stir the mix with a wire whisk to mix oils thoroughly. Place back in oven and wait another 20 minutes. The mix should be similar to applesauce - in texture and color - if it doesn't look like this, then it may need to cook another twenty minutes. At the end of this 20 minutes it should now have passed the creamy applesauce stage and should look a bit curdled. Wisk or blend thoroughly and then test for lye. I usually take a bit of the mix (watch out its really hot) and roll it between your gloved fingers ... after its a bit cool, then touch it to your tongue - if it zaps your tongue - put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. If you are leery about touching your tongue with this mix, then just take a small piece of soap and soap up your hands under running water. If it stings, then you still have lye! So pop it back into the oven. After taking the pot out of the oven after 60-90 minutes, it may appear to have some oil in the bottom of the pot - just mix it thoroughly back together.

At this point, you can add the fragrances or essential oils but be sure that the soap mixture is 10-20 degrees BELOW the flashpoint of your fragrance/essential oil - or you will just burn off the beautiful scent! You also have to work fast with hot process as the soap can get VERY hard to pour if left to cool very long - so it can be a bit touch at first - but keep at it - HP (hot process) is great! You can also combine your fo/eo's together with your fat oils or melted butter and then add/stir this mix into your soap - this will keep the mix more pliable for pouring into molds. After you pour/glob the soap into your lined mold, pound the mold a couple of times on the counter and then cover with freezer paper and smooth out the top of the soap in the mold. Allow the soap to set/cool for about 4-6 hours and then pop it out of the mold and you're good to go!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Victorian Floral Solid Perfume

This solid perfume is easy to use and has a delightful Victorian floral scent. It’s a wonderful perfume that’s just absolutely perfect for every day use.

1/2 Ounce Beeswax
1/2 Ounce Shea Butter
1/4 Ounce Cocoa Butter
1 Ounce Sweet Almond Oil
1/8 Teaspoon Rose FO
1/8 Teaspoon Lavender FO

Combine the beeswax, shea butter, cocoa butter and sweet almond oil in a pot. Melt over a low heat using a double boiler, or place your pot in simmering water until fully melted.Remove from heat, and then add the rose and lavender FO. Mix well and pour into perfume tins or lip balm tubes. Let cool then use.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sheer Lipstick Recipe


1 oz Beeswax
2 oz Castor Oil
2 oz Grape Seed Oil
1/2 oz Wheat Germ Oil
4 tsp Lip safe Mica


Melt the beeswax in a double boiler. Once fully melted add all of the oils. Pour your colorant into the double boiler and stir well. Let the mixture sit until the mixture begins to thicken slightly (thus suspending the colorant better) and pour into jars or tubes.

If you are looking for other recipes, check out some of the links in the side bar or check in my archive. There are alot of recipes in both places. I am always looking for new recipes to post on my blog, so please return in the future.

Source: Glory Bee Foods 2006/2007 Catolog page 21. Website:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Discounted water cold process method (DWCP)


Using stronger lye solutions involves higher risks when working both with the lye solution, and with the fresh (unsaponified) soap. The smaller the amount of water, the higher the chances to suffer from lye burns or experience the dreaded volcano effect.

Other possible problems with discounted water include unwanted reactions between ingredients and your personal reactions to caustic fumes. Also, and very importantly, please keep in mind that water discounting is not an alternative to correct curing times. So.......

Water discounting does not "magically" eliminate curing times. Good soap needs to cure for at least 4 weeks, no matter which method has been used to make it - and if you cure discounted water soap even longer, you will always find your soap only gets better with age.

Never attempt discounting water when using potassium hydroxide (KOH). KOH is used for liquid and "soft" soaps, which always require larger water amounts - so discounting water to dissolve KOH is not going to give you any advantages, anyway.
Never attempt discounting water before gaining a sound experience with weak caustic solutions (27% NaOH - 73% water).

Avoid discounting water if you are hypersensitive to NaOH and its fumes.

Avoid discounting water (unless you really know what you're doing) if you're making a soap containing milk, or sugars, or waxes/stearic acid, or fragrance/essential oils that are known to cause seizing problems.

Avoid discounting water (unless you really know what you're doing) if your recipe contains relatively large amounts of jojoba oil or mango and shea butter (and I won't mention neem oil because I don't think one could use more than 3%of neem anyway). These oils are all well-known "trace-accelerators", and when used in discounted water recipes, can make it really difficult for you to keep the soap mix soft enough to be mouldable.

For similar reasons, avoid discounting water (unless you really know what you're doing) if your recipe uses more than 30% of either tallow, or coconut, or palm kernel oil, plus 10% or more of another hard fat.

Pay *double* attention to the usual precautions when working with caustic soda (wear rubber gloves, protective clothes and a mask; always work near a water tap, be it outside, or inside with the window open; avoid breathing in the fumes; lock up kids and pets; do not leave the caustic solution unattended, etc. etc.).

At least in the beginning, only discount water in recipes using more than 75% of olive or other soft oils.

Always double check your calculations. Do not blindly trust the first set of results; repeat the calculations inverting the factors, and apply all the other interesting tricks you've learned at school to make sure your results are correct.

Measure the water in a sturdy, heat resistant container (heavy plastic or pyrex - I suggest avoiding metals altogether with strong lye solutions) and place the container in the sink, or in a large container filled with cold water.

Pour the caustic soda in the water A LITTLE BIT AT A TIME. Stop and stir often, to avoid lumps or splashes.

Use a long handled plastic tool to mix the solution. Paint stirrers usually work best.

Avoid letting the caustic solution cool down without stirring periodically. Strong lye solutions might precipitate (which means, some of the NaOH might congeal in the bottom of the container) and fatally compromise the results of your soap batch.

Have your extra ingredients, moulds etc. ready before mixing the caustic solution with the fats.

Be prepared to work faster then usual.

Always insulate your moulds properly. Saponification is always completed faster when soap goes through gel stage, and this is particularly noticeable in discounted water soaps.

Keep in mind that water discounting might make unmoulding more difficult than usual. Try to unmould your discounted water soap as soon as possible - that is, as soon as it's set.
If you use log or slab moulds and need to cut your soaps, do this as soon as possible. Discounted water soap can go very hard, very quickly!

If you sell your soap, always let your DWCP soaps cure as long as they need, and for 4 weeks at the very minimum. Longer curing times are particularly important for soaps that don't go through gel stage - but it's a fact that good soap always needs correct curing times, and nothing beats soap that has been cured long enough. As I like to point out to all those who ask my advice... if soapmaking could be described in one word, that word would be patience. Let's leave hurried soapmaking to the industries, and always strive for better soaps! :-)

I hope you've found this information useful. If you would like to discuss further, there are currently only two Internet mailing lists that offer qualified support and advice from soapmakers who regularly (and competently) discount water. These are Soap Naturally and DWCP.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Kukui Nut Oil Profile

Botanical Name- Aleurites Moluccans
Origin- Hawaii
Extraction- Cold Pressed/Partially Refined
Shelf life- 12-14 months
Kosher Certified- No
Notes- Keep away from high temperatures and direct light. A semi-clear liquid having little or no odor, and blends well with most formulations.
For cosmetic purposes only.

Color- Light Yellow
Odor- Characteristic and odorless
Free Fatty Acids- <1.0>Fatty Acids Oleic- 78%
Palmitic- 6%
Linoleic- 19%

An Introduction

Kukui Nut Oil has been used for many years in Hawaii , and has only recently become known to the rest of the world. It is prized for its rejuvenating and soothing effects upon the skin, without leaving a greasy or oily film. Pressed from the seeds of the Aleurites moluccana tree, Kukui Nut Oil is invaluable for many different skin conditions, providing moisture and nourishment to dry, mature, and damaged skin.

The History

The Kukui Nut tree was first brought to Hawaii by early Polynesian settlers. It quickly adapted, and is now Hawaii 's official state tree. Kukui means ‘enlightenment' in Hawaiian. Traditionally, babies in Hawaii were anointed with Kukui Nut Oil to protect their skin from the sun, salt, and other elements. In addition, it was used on skin irritations, wounds, and burns. Kukui Nut Oil was also used to massage members of royalty, who were sometimes massaged for seven or more hours with this oil!

Cosmetic Use

Kukui Nut Oil is a fabulous moisturizer, and quickly penetrates the skin leaving a silky-smooth non-greasy feeling. It is often used for dry or damaged skin, immediately relieving symptoms because of its quick absorption into the skin. It can leave even the roughest and driest skin feeling smooth, soft, and hydrated. Kukui Nut Oil contains Vitamins A, C, and E, providing anti-oxidants that help to protect the skin. This unique oil is able to penetrate into the deepest skin layers, while creating a protective shield that locks in moisture. Kukui Nut Oil is great for those with sensitive skin, and is a wonderful ingredient to add to your bodycare products. Specifically, it is beneficial for the following conditions:

Burns – including: sunburn, windburn, radiation burns, and heat induced burns.
Chapped skin
Mature and prematurely aged skin
Dry skin conditions
Dry hair and scalp
Usage Instructions

Kukui Nut Oil is an excellent oil to add to your bodycare products, especially your creams, lotions, and massage oils. Simply add Kukui Nut Oil once that your product no longer needs to be heated, and do not expose it to high temperatures. You can also use it for an oil treatment on dry hair and scalp, or add a few drops to your bath water for a luxurious treat.

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Blue and White Swirl Soap (Cold Process)

Blue and White Swirled Soap - Using White as a Color Choice
By David Fisher,

Often times, soap makers (and candle makers for that matter) are trying to color their soaps (or candles) a color other than white. Whether it's adding a purple swirl, or a bright yellow tint, or green speckles, or layers of orange and red...we're starting with white and making it something different. But white can be a really nice component to a soap design - you just have to plan ahead a bit. But we're not talking about just plain white soap. This soap is actually a two-color swirl - using white as one of the colors. You can use the exact same technique to do a two-color swirl with two other colors.

Blue and White Swirled Soap

(1) Preparation and Ingredients
(2) Prepare the Two Colors
(3) Mixing the White Half
(4) Mixing the Blue Half of the Soap
(5) Pour in a Little Blue
(6) Pour a Little White
(7) Continue Alternating Blue and White
(8) Whisk the Swirl
(9) Unmold, Slice and Enjoy


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Melt and Pour Gem Soaps

From David Fisher

Assemble all your ingredients and materials.

For this project I used:

*Basic equipment and a basic understanding of Basic Melt and Pour Soap Making

*Clear Melt and Pour Soap Base

*Colored Mica - I used an Emerald, a Gold and a Copper colored mica - Micas are available at Soap by Star

*Soap Dye - You want to make sure your soap color is clear and not opaque Fragrance, if desired

*A gem-shaped soap mold - The mold I'm using is a Milky Way mold - you can find a similar one at Bramble Berry

Let's Get Started
Prepare the Molds
Weigh the Soap and Melt It
Add the Color and Fragrance
Pour the Soap Into the Molds
Spritz with Alcohol - Let them Cool
Unmold the Soaps
Enjoy Your Soapy Gem Stones


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Gel phase and Unmoulding of CP Soap

A good way to understand if your soap is coming out properly, is to have a quick peek after 2 to 4 hours after pouring. By this time, properly mixed and insulated soap will have reached gel phase, and will look translucent and *much* darker then when you poured it. This is perfectly normal, and really, I think this is the only way to be sure that what you've done is going to be soap.... soon! :-)

Since there's no precise steps to follow at this stage, I will simply give you a list of notes and comments:

*Try and keep the soap in gel state as long as possible (that is, do not move the moulds or remove the insulation layer).

*After 12 to 24 hours, the soap should be ready to unmould.

*Properly made and insulated soap is opaque and solid, and should not be covered by any "soap dust".

*Soap dust is a white powder that may appear on the surface(s) of the soap exposed to air. Chemically speaking, this may or may not be sodium carbonate, a mild alkaline salt that forms when the still caustic soap mixture reacts with the air surrounding the soap, and is totally innocuous. Another theory is that this white powder is simply "dry soap". Discussions abound on this subject, and my personal conclusion is that it's not worth worrying (too much) about it.... :-)

*Unmould the soap and leave to cure at room temperature.

*Arrange the soap on your chosen "cooling racks" (for instance, clean carboard trays, such as those used by greengrocers for exotic fruit) so that air can circulate around each soap.
If you live in a very humid climate, it might be safer to cure the soap in air tight plastic containers. Experiences and opinions on this subject are not unanimous - my personal experience is that a humid room is a lot more "dangerous" than an air tight plastic box, and I know of soapers (in tropical Australia) who simply avoid making soap during the monsoon season.

*Curing is basically needed to get rid of the excess water, as well as an extra precaution to make sure no free alkalis are present.

*Well cured soap has a richer lather and lasts much longer than fresh soap.

*If you have precise pH strips, you can test the alkalinity of your soap. At the end of the saponification process, natural soap will read between 9.0 and 10.5.

*On the pH of soap, I recommend Ann Perius-Parker's article, available from Kathy Miller's fantastic soap info site.

*In my experience, the pH of properly prepared, mixed and insulated soap does not change over time.

*There are more empirical ways for testing the alkalinity of soap. The most popular is called "tongue test", and I personally like the way "Hersh" (James Hershberger) describes how to do a tongue test without burning one's tongue off.

*A simpler and less painful method, is to wash your hands with the soap. If it burns, or if it leaves you with a "boiled skin" feeling (similar to what happens after soaking in a hot bath for a long time), or if the lather feels slimy and rinses off with difficulty, then the soap is still caustic.
This might change over time. So before deciding your soap is too caustic, leave it to cure for another few days.

*If the burning/slimy/boiled skin sensations are still present after one week from unmoulding, then there is too much free caustic soda in the soap. Double check your recipe and notes: did you leave one of the base oils out? Did you check the accuracy of your scales? Did you double check the initial calculations using a reliable SAP calculator?

*In my experience, soap that still feels caustic after two weeks from unmoulding is most likely a "lye heavy" batch.

*The fact your soap is lye heavy doesn't mean you must throw it in the bin. On the contrary! Soap can always be rescued - for instance, you can rebatch the soap adding some extra oils, or you can make some laundry gel.

I hope you've found this information useful. If you would like to discuss further, you might like to consider joining a qualified soap making list, such as Soap Naturally.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Ylang Ylang Chiffon Body Souffle Recipe

All measures by weight, except if otherwise noted. \

1 oz. aloe butter
3 oz. ultra-refined shea butter
2 oz. rosehip seed oil
2 oz. hemp seed oil
1/2 to 1 tablespoon glycerin USP
1/8 teaspoon rosemary oil extract
1/2 to 1 1/2 oz. Natrasorb (optional)

Scent blend:
1 part neroli
1 part jasmin
1 part tangerine
3 parts ylang ylang

Melt aloe and shea butters over low heat in a stainless steel vessel. Once liquid, remove from heat and stir in fixed oils and ROE. Cool in freezer til white "crust" begins to form along sides of vessel (from fats hardening) and the butters become semi-opaque. Remove from freezer and begin beating with an electric mixer, preferably one that is outfitted with whisks. Beaters work OK. Once the mix becomes aerated and fluffy, drizzle in the glycerin while mixing on low speed. Once all the glycerin is in, whip again. Feel the consistency and decide if you want this product to have a less greasy feel. If you do, add in the Natrasorb by sprinkling atop the butter mix, and whip again til all is incorporated.

This product will not become hard in 24 hours. It should remain fluid and creamy if mixed properly. Spoon into sterile jars. This product is not pumpable.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Citrus Mint Soap Recipes

by Carrie Grovesner

Citrus and mint fragrances go together really well in soap. You get a doubly refreshing bar, perfect for that morning shower or whenever you need a little pick-me-up. When you’re blending citrus fragrances with mint, use a strong peppermint oil. Spearmint and wintergreen type fragrances seem to clash with the fruit scents, but peppermint is a great complimentary addition.

Using the recipes below, follow the instructions found here to make your cold process, citrus mint blends. The Grapefruit Mint Scrub Bar recipe makes a smaller batch.

Citrus Mint Soap
24 ounces olive oil
24 ounces coconut oil
24 ounces soybean oil
8 ounces palm kernel oil
11.5 ounces lye
30 ounces water
1 ounce sweet orange essential oil
1/2 ounce lime essential oil
1/2 ounce lemon essential oil
1/2 ounce grapefruit essential oil
1 ounce peppermint essential oil

Grapefruit Mint Scrub Bar
8 ounces coconut oil
8 ounces palm oil
32 ounces olive oil
6.5 ounces lye
18 ounces water
1 ounces grapefruit fragrance oil
1/2 ounce peppermint essential oil
1 tablespoon ground loofah*
* add the ground loofah at trace, just before pouring


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just Thought I would let you know

For the last couple of weeks, I have been dealing with bronchitis. It is not really that not fun. And if you were signed up for my bath products class on 9/27 that is the reason why it was cancelled. Sorry about that. I will be offering the class again soon.

Making Homemade Soaps - What Needs to Be Learned First

By Lisa Chambers

Soapmaking can be a creative and rewarding hobby as long as the proper safety precautions are followed. One of the biggest aspects of this means learning about lye and other safety procedures, and this should be done before even bothering to attempt to research how the soapmaking process works.

Sometimes even experienced soapmakers need to be reminded! Don’t let this all scare you- making soap can be as safe of a craft as any other! However, the key to safety means being informed. Here’s some guidelines and tips: GET TO KNOW LYE AND RESPECT IT!!! 

Soap CANNOT be made without lye. There’s no way around it and if someone told you they did, I hate to break it to you- they lied. Even liquid soap, bath gels, and shampoos contain a form of lye called potassium hydroxide. However lye, alone, is a highly dangerous substance. There’s no sugar coating it- lye can kill you. If you respect it and use it properly everything will be fine. Try not develop a fear of it, and instead focus on handling it properly. Label your lye water. If lye is ingested internally, there is a strong likelihood of it being fatal. If you walked away for even for less than a minute and someone walked into your kitchen with a bowl of lye water in a glass, bowl, or pitcher- the results could be deadly! Just to be safe I like to mark my bowl or pitcher with large adhesive label or even better yet, a permanent marker. 

Wear your goggles or safety glasses. Always! If lye water splashes into your eyes, it can blind you. It doesn’t take much… Better to be safe than sorry! Wear your gloves…. And your clothes! If it can do that to your eyes, exposed skin isn’t safer either! Lye can eat through skin. Even in tiny amounts it can cause painfully irritating chemical burns. 

It’s wise to keep a bottle of vinegar around in case of splashes or spills. If this should occur, rinsing with vinegar helps to neutralize the lye. However, care should be taken to prevent this because the vinegar cannot undo damage that has already been done! Even finished soap bars can be irritating until soap has it’s “curing” time- usually a very minimum of four weeks. 

When making soap, it’s smart to make sure you’re wearing clothes that will protect your skin. Pants, instead of shorts or dresses, and long sleeves are ideal. Don’t forget your feet- remember your shoes! Keep pets and children away while soapmaking. It doesn’t take much for lye to be harmful to anyone- it takes even less to bring harm to a small child or pet. If you have little ones running around, it’s best to do your soapmaking in an area they don’t have access to or wait until you have “alone time”. Even with ground rules and with the best behaved children or pets in the world, it’s just not worth the risk. 

Only use pure lye. NEVER attempt to use Draino or any other products that “contain” lye. These products contain other chemical additives that may interfere with the soapmaking process. The results could range from winding up with a soap that is highly irritant to the skin to a lethal concoction that you wouldn’t even want to be in the same room with! Work in a well ventilated area. The fumes that rise when lye is mixed with water during the first few minutes can irritate the lungs. Some people are more sensitive to it than others, but a well ventilated area is recommended to anyone. Remember even if it doesn’t bother you at the moment, repeated exposure may bring about a different story. Larger batches of soap are usually give off more potent fumes than smaller ones. 

Use an accurate scale. Never measure your ingredients by volume because it can lead to inaccuracies, leaving you with an irritating “lye heavy” soap. Instead, make sure you use an accurate scale to weigh out your ingredients- one that measures in increments of at least a 10th of an ounce is best. A good postal scale will do just fine. It’s also a good idea to invest in calibration weights for your scale so that you can test it’s accuracy periodically. Use the right equipment. 

Choose your bowls, pitchers, spoons, or whatever will come in contact with your raw soap carefully. Ideally, you want to make sure your supplies aren’t going to be used again for cooking, for an example. You also have to keep in mind that certain metals such as aluminum or copper can have undesired chemical reactions with lye. The best materials to use are stainless steel and heavy duty dishwasher safe plastics. (Even wooden spoons will do, though the lye water will slowly eat at them over time. I lost a good spoon that way!) 

Some people even recommend using large glass Pyrex measuring cups. However, I personally can’t. I have heard of rare instances where even sturdy Pyrex glass has shattered- in one case I heard of, no one was even in the same room when it happened! In a way it makes sense. Lye water, when first mixed, can reach very high temperatures in an absurdly small amount of time. Then on top of it, over time the potent lye itself may do it’s damage. Over time it may make the glass brittle and create stress on it, though unseen to the human eye. 

Use distilled water instead of tap. Some people say it’s alright to use regular tap water for soapmaking. In most cases, it probably is fine… However tap water can contain various trace metals and minerals that may interact with your lye, giving some unexpected results in your finished soaps. Once again, much better to be safer than sorry! Mind your pour! Always make sure to close the container of lye tightly when you’re done. Any moisture that gets in contact with the lye granules will form clumps, which may increase the chance of spills while pouring next time you use it. It may even effect your soap by giving you inaccurate weighings of your ingredients in the end, if enough gets in there. Pouring slowly so you get it right the first shot and don’t have to put any back is also wise. 

Another thing that can be a hassle sometimes when pouring to weigh your lye is static… Lye sometimes gets a “charge” and granules here and there seem to have a mind of their own when being poured! A quick wiping of the container you’ll be weighing with a dryer sheet first helps with a smoother pour. 

Always use a lye calculator- no matter what. Never assume a recipe that someone gives you, that you find online, or come across in a book is safe. Even if you obtain a recipe from the world’s most trustworthy source, it is always safer to run your recipe through a lye calculator first to make sure you use the proper amount of your ingredients. There are many free and easy to use lye calculators that can be used online or downloaded to your computer, so there’s no excuses! 

Stay away from painted surfaces. It’s best not to do your soapmaking on any painted surfaces. Lye can easily strip paint and damage surfaces. Even on kitchen counters made with a tougher surface material, it’s a good idea to lay down some plastic or freezer paper to protect the area you’re working in. Remember to always keep that vinegar handy as well, just in case! I know this all must sound terrifying to some and makes you feel as if you need a Hazmat team on standby when learning how to make soap, but believe me it’s not really as bad as it sounds! 

More people than you’d probably imagine throughout the world make soap every day. If you’re interested in soapcrafting, just do as much research on the subject as possible from as many different sources as you can. There are also several wonderful forums for soapmakers where people can turn to others for advice and to share experiences and ideas. Soapmaking may not be for everyone, but chances are once you make your first successful batch , you’ll be hooked on this craft! Just remember- at any stage in this wonderful hobby, safety always comes first! 

You can visit Lisa Chambers’ website at for free information, recipes, and tips based on natural or crafty point of views.