Witch Hazel has been used as a home remedy for centuries by the Japanese, Chinese and Native Americans. It is a natural astringent and possesses antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It’s commonly used to help ease itchy and irritated skin, acne, dermatitis, and eczema making it great choice as a homemade soap ingredient.
My natural shea butter and witch hazel soap makes a wonderful homemade Christmas gift idea for any of your friends or family who may suffer from easily irritated skin. It’s a natural choice that you’ll feel good about gifting. And, of course, you get to keep and use the extra bars!
Homemade Shea Butter & Witch Hazel Soap Recipe
8 fluid oz. distilled water
4.8 oz. lye/sodium hydroxide
This witch hazel soap recipe will yield approximately 10-12 homemade soap bars depending on how they are cut and fits inside on of my DIY wooden loaf soap molds. This homemade soap recipe is not recommended for beginners. The witch hazel does significantly increase trace which may prove overly challenging to someone who doesn’t have cold process soapmaking experience under her belt. If this is your first time making homemade soap I recommend you begin with my cold process soapmaking tutorial and a simple cold process soap recipe to get you started on the path into the world of soapmaking.
I specifically chose the Witch Hazel Extract from Mountain Rose Herbs for this homemade witch hazel soap recipe as it leads in both quality and potency. Unlike most store brands with are distilled only once and often contain more alcohol than witch hazel, the witch hazel extract from Mountain Rose Herbs has been double distilled and contains 86% witch hazel extract and only 14% alcohol. This makes it more soothing than the version found in your local store, and lacks the alcohol sting and scent. I do not know and cannot offer advice on how witch hazel with a higher alcohol content will react.
Alternately, if you prefer not to work with traditional witch hazel you can make an oil infusion instead. Simply infuse witch hazel bark in one of the carrier oils you’ll be using with this recipe beforehand.
Begin by measuring out the distilled water with a large measuring cup. Pour into a pitcher or other heat safe, non-aluminum container. Set aside. Now weigh out the lye using a digital scale. Slowly pour the lye into the water and mix well until all of the lye has dissolved. (Don’t forget to take proper safety precautions including gloves, goggles and a well-ventilated area!) Now set the lye-water aside to cool.
Next weigh out the soapmaking oils and combine in a large stainless steel pot. Heat on the stove top over medium heat until all the oils have melted then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Once the ingredients reach around 85°-90°F you can begin the soapmaking process. (Alternately you can also wait for the ingredients to reach room temperature.) If you are using colorant begin by adding the titanium dioxide to the soapmaking oils then mix with a stick blender to combine.
Now add the witch hazel and lye-water to the oils. Mix by hand or very slowly on low with the stick blender to combine. Add the fragrance oil and mix again. It will begin to trace very fast.
To get the marbled blue and white look like I have I then removed a small portion of the soap and added the blue pigment, mixed, then poured back into the pot and mixed lightly to disperse some of the color but not so much that it become uniform.
Now spoon – as your soap will likely be rather thick at this point – the soap into your prepared mold. The white top, if desired, can be achieved by dusting the top of the soap loaf with a white or pearl mica as soon as it’s poured into the mold. Finally, set a piece of cardboard on top of the mold then set aside for 24 hours.
Once the saponification period has passed you can now unmold the soap loaf and cut it into bars. Set the bars aside to cure 3-6 weeks then wrap and label as desired.
If you like the Christmas tree tag I used on one bar of my homemade witch hazel soap be sure to check out the DIY for making your own here. Or explore more of my homemade soap recipes by visiting Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen You can also follow my DIY Bath and Body Pinterest board for additional recipes from both myself and other great soapmakers across the web.