I made soap again! This one’s the best one yet. Each time I improve on my recipe in small ways: adjusting the beeswax for bar hardness, coconut oil for lather, essential oils for fragrance.
Originally I only made soap to find a helpful way to recycle my leftover grease. See my very first soap here (along with better directions), my second here, and my bacon-celebration soap here. But now that we rarely fry anything and I can no longer eat bacon, that “wastelessness” aspect of it is becoming less important to me than simply coming up with a pleasant soap.
I do still supplement with such recycled oils, but not as much as I could. I find that they detract from the luxurious smooth feel of a more conditioning, fancy soap. (They are perfectly good for laundry soap however, and if I ever come across a treasure trove of bacon grease I would certainly make tallow soap again… just not to rub on my body.)
Even without using 100% recycled bacon grease (which sure did save on cost!), this soap came out to about 90 cents per bar. I spent about $25 on the ingredients (not counting those I had already, like fragrance). Since we love the Zum bars at our local organic grocery and will usually spend about $5.50 on each one of those, I estimate that this single batch of soap has saved us about $120.
- Warm together til melted:
- olive oil, 8 oz
- castor oil, 2 oz
- coconut oil, 12 oz
- shea butter, 2 oz
- beeswax, 2 oz
- recycled fats, 12 oz
- cocoa butter, 8 oz
- add to an old crock pot on “low” while you prepare the lye.
- Wearing gloves and glasses, and with a sink full of soapy vinegar water behind you, add 6.2 oz lye to 15 oz water in a heatproof container.
- Once lye cools to the same temperature as the fats, pour it carefully into the crock pot.
- Stir with an immersion blender – do not splash! – until it reaches “trace.” Cover and cook on low for 40 minutes to an hour. Soap should be translucent and the consistency of soft mashed potatoes.
- Meanwhile, line your molds thoroughly with press n’ seal.
- When soap is ready, mix in fragrance: 1 ounce each of honeysuckle fragrance and orange essential oil, added after cooking. I also added some red mica powder I happened to have, for color.
- Spoon into molds, smear flat, and let rest overnight.
- Slice, set the bars apart from each other for airflow to cure them, and let them rest at least a week before using.
- After a week or two I wrap my bars in saran wrap so the delicate essential oils stay fragrant for longer. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.