Simple Homemade Soaps that Heal and Nourish

I am a true believer in the wonderful anti-aging effects of essential oils on the skin. I kept thinking I wanted to make a facial or body soap and incorporate one or more of the oils I love into the soap. What I found was that not only could I do that but there are also so many other things I can add to make my soap healthy and nourishing.

So I began doing a little research on how to make my own soaps. There seems to be three categories of home made soaps, Melt and Pour (M&P), Cold Process (CP), and Hot Process (HP). The easiest is the Melt & Pour method because with this one you are not actually making soap but rather melting a soap base and adding things to it. Because I have never made soap before I decided to go with the easier option.

I went to Michael's and purchased a few things. A couple of cute molds, some glycerine soap base and a Shea Butter Glycerine base. I also purchased a kit which I figured later may be a waste of money because it basically had the same items in it but also included some color drops, fragrance drops (which I don't think I'll use), and white pearl powder.

My research turned up quite a few ideas that I decided to use. There seems to be an endless supply of great things you can add to your soaps. Here are some the possibilities...

Pureed fruit.  We all know that there are many fruits that are great for the skin. Fruit should be washed and pureed first. Then start by adding 1 teaspoon to a cup of soap and increase if needed. Note that adding fruit will lessen the shelf life of your soap but I think it will be used so quickly this just won't be a problem. I suggest you try strawberry, banana, or avocado. ♥

Fresh Herbs: Make a puree by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of water to herb leaves and put in food processor to puree. Then place them in a coffee filter and wring out excess water. Add a teaspoon to a cup of soap to start with and add more if needed.

Citrus: Use the jest of citrus peels or the rind with seeds removed. Add 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of soap and add more if needed.

Oatmeal: If you want to add a bit of a scrub, pulverize oatmeal in a food processor until it is fairly fine for a gentle scrub or leave whole for a more invigorating action and add to the soap.

Coffee: Adding coffee grounds are a great way to exfoliate and deodorize. A great idea for a more manly soap. Coffee does tend to bleed its color so be sure to use only grounds from brewed coffee.

Dried Spices: Just add a pinch of a dried spice like cinnamon, which has its own wonderful properties. I think this would work great with the oatmeal.

Essential Oils: For me these are a must. Essential Oils are well known for their healing and regenerative properties. I make sure mine are a pure therapeutic grade (I get them here). Try to get your melted soap base as cool as possible, but still pourable, before adding so you wont lessen the therapeutic benefits.

 This is my first choice, anti-inflammatory, regenerative, tones & tightens, astringent, anti-cancer, anti-tumor.

Anti-oxidant, neutralizes toxins, regulates hormones, promotes circulation, hydrating, supports elasticity of the skin.

Anti-spasmodic (facial muscles/ nerves), anti-inflammatory, healer, halts bleeding, emottlient, hydrating, promotes cell growth.

Tissue renewal, calming, scar tissue, pain relief, circulation, antiseptic, anti-fungal, speeds healing.

Can prevent muscles from sagging, anti-bacterial, tightening, boosts immunity, diuretic, influences endocrine glads to regulate, fights acne and dermatitis.

Speeds healing, emollient, anti-inflammatory, reduce hypertension, spiritual, toning.

About the bases. Melt and pour soap base in its original form is clear. There is also a white version which has a white colorant called titanium dioxide added. You can find the base with added Goat's Milk or Shea Butter but keep in mind that these will affect the color of your final product. Goat's Milk will lend an opaque ivory color, Aloe or Hemp base will be clear but with a greenish tint, and Honey will be clear with a dark yellow appearance. Just remember this if you add other color to your soap as the base additives will slightly change the final product's color.

About Glycerine. Most all M&P base formulas contain glycerine. Glycerine, a byproduct of the siphoning process used in making the soap, is a humectant which means it attracts moisture. This creates a super moisturizing and skin loving soap whereas most commercial soaps have had the glycerine removed. Another good reason to make your own.

About Fragrance: There are two different ways to add fragrance to your soaps. Synthetic oils (often called fragrance oil) or natural essential oils. If you use a synthetic oil make sure it is approved for use in soaps. Scents made for use in candle making, potpourri, or other crafts, may not have gone through the safety testing needed to be sure it is safe for use on our skin. If you use a natural essential oil be aware that some like Peppermint or Spearmint have a cooling sensation and others can warm up like Clove or Cinnamon. The suggested formula for adding synthetic or natural scents to your soap is .25 oz fragrance per pound of soap. (.25 oz = 150 drops). I just added a few drips of Pure Essential Oils to my small batch.

About Color: You can create some pretty and fun soaps by adding color if you wish. Again, make sure the color you use is safe to use in soaps or cosmetic products, after all is will be going on your skin. If you are after purity you may not want to add color, but adding a bit of color can add a lot of fun and variation to soaps if a fun visual is what your after.

About Safety. A word about safety. When you melt the soap base it will probably be over 120 degrees. This creates a scalding liquid that can burn even when splashed. Keep this in mind if you will have children around and when choosing containers and molds. 

About Molds. You can use just about any plastic or silicone form for a mold. Even an empty jello box can be used. If what you want to use will not expand, like glass or metal, you cannot use it. For my first try I used a silicone heart shaped baking cup tray I found at Michael's. I measured how much soap I would need by filling a 4 cup measure with water, filling all the cups, and then figuring the difference. The 6 cups in my tray held 2 1/2 cups soap.

How you do it.

I wanted to try both the clear glycerine and the white soap so I melted 1 1/4 cups of each (separately of course). To melt the soap just cut up what you need into cubes and add to a microwavable dish. I used a Pryrex© measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir with a spoon or wooden utensil like a chop stick. Continue to microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring each time, until chunks are completely melted. You can also melt in the top of a double boiler. Just don't let it boil no matter what method you use.

Once it has cooled a little you can add your extras. Cool as much as possible, but still pourable, before adding essential oils.

I added 1 pureed strawberry to the white soap, along with some red coloring to make a light pink, and a few drops of Geranium Essential Oil. BTW, its hard to puree just one strawberry so I just mashed it up really well with a fork.

I filled one cup with the same mixture, minus the strawberries, and added just a touch of blue color (it was already pink) to make a nice seafoam color. I also added a couple drops of a scent that came in the kit.

To the clear soap I also added a well smashed up strawberry and a few drops of Frankincense Essential Oil and added to 2 of the cups

I also poured 1 cup with just the clear soap, some scent product that came in the kit and Frankincense EO.

Reminder to self and helpful hint when using the silicone molds, place the mold on a cookie sheet or cutting board before filling. If you don't you won't be able to move it until pretty much set as the liquefied soap will splosh everywhere. By placing it on a firm but movable surface you can just move the whole thing.

Once you fill the mold you can spritz with some rubbing alcohol to remove bubbles. I had a little empty spray bottle in my Essential Oil supplies that worked great.

It takes about four hours for the soap to harden at room temperature or two hours in the refrigerator. Once hardened you can unmold. If you find you have removed the mold too early and the soap is not quite set you can just reheat to melt and pour back into your mold. If your soap is really hard to get out of the mold you can put it in the freezer for about 1/2 hour.

It was amazing to me how much the strawberries darkened the clear glycerin soap. Here you can see the difference in the clear soap with and without added strawberry.

Also here is the white soap base with strawberries (the back 2) and the one in front without the berries and with a bit of blue color.

Hope you enjoy this little tutorial. I think my first batch came out pretty well and can't wait to use them. I'm already looking forward to making a batch with banana and oatmeal with some Sandalwood Essential Oil. ♥♥

A little disclaimer here...I get paid a small affiliates fee for promoting the Spark Naturals line of essential oils, accessories, and spa products. And you get 10% off by using code ENJOY if you place an order. (Does not apply to Oil of the Month Club)

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