This skin loving handmade soap recipe makes a thoughtful homemade Mother’s Day gift. But make it now so it’s ready to gift in time for Mother’s Day as cold process soaps take a minimum of three weeks to cure. You can also cut your soap loaves into smaller guest sized soap bars, stamp with hearts and use as lovely handmade wedding favors.
I made the handmade soap pictured above with the following recipe and a Pink Berry Mimosa fragrance oil. However, you can use any skin safe fragrance oil or natural essential oils that you like. If you’ve never made handmade soaps before, you may want to start with a simpler recipe that uses less expensive soapmaking oils until you get the hang of it. You can learn how to make homemade cold process soaps through my soapmaking tutorial and easy homemade soap recipe found here.
Homemade Skin Loving Soap Recipe
4.9 oz. cocoa butter
4.9 oz. shea butter
9.6 oz. palm (fruit) oil
14.7 oz. 76° melt point coconut oil
20.2 oz. soybean oil
9.6 oz. avocado oil
4.9 oz. hemp seed oil
9.6 oz. sweet almond oil
14.7 oz. olive oil (pomace is fine)
4.9 oz. grapeseed oil
32 fluid oz. distilled water (I discounted my water and used 28 oz.)
12.9 oz. lye (100% sodium hydroxide)
4 oz. fragrance oil (or 2 oz. essential oil) of choice
soapmaking colorants of choice
Practice soapmaking safety and wear rubber gloves and goggles. Have vinegar on hand to neutralize any lye that may spill or land on skin. You’ll also need a digital kitchen scale to weigh out your ingredients and a stick blender to mix the soap.
Start by measuring out your distilled water in a pitcher. I discounted my water to 28 oz. and it turned out great. It was still soft enough to cut but just hard enough that you won’t spend 6 weeks waiting for the excess water to evaporate. If you are using a fragrance oil or essential oil known to accelerate trace, you can either use the full 32 oz. of water or allow your oil and water temps to cool to 98°F so it doesn’t seize up on you.
Now weigh out your lye and slowly pour it into the water in a well ventilated area with an exhaust fan or outside. Stir and set aside where it won’t get knocked over.
Now weigh out your butters and oils into a large non-aluminum pot. I start with the solids, then add the liquid oils, but it doesn’t really matter. Once you’ve weighed out and added all of the butters and oils to your pot, place on the stove top and heat over medium heat until thoroughly melted. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.
Once your lye-water and oils have cooled to about 100°F – this can take anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on the temperature in your home – you’re ready to mix the two together. While you’re waiting you can prepare your molds. I lined two large loaf soap molds for this recipe which will yield approximately twenty-four 5.5 oz. – 6 oz. bars once cured. Keep in mind that if you decided to half this recipe, you MUST run the oil amounts back through a lye calculator.
Now that the ingredients have cooled, slowly pour the lye-water into the oil and mix with a stick blender. Just before trace, I added color to my batch of soap. However, colorants are optional. As this soap uses some dark colored oils – avocado and hemp – and I did not want a dark bar of soap, I used several teaspoons titanium dioxide to lighten the batch and then added some matte orchid ultramarine pigment powder until I achieved the color I was looking for. You can also use skin safe micas or other cold process approved soap dyes based on your own personal taste.
Continue mixing to incorporate the color, then once your soap reaches a light trace, mix in the fragrance oil or essential oils that you have chosen. Once thoroughly mixed, pour your soap into the molds. Then cover the molds and insulate – I use bath towels – for twenty-four hours. After the allotted amount of time has passed, you can unmold your homemade soaps and immediately cut them into bars. Then set them aside to cure for a minimum of three weeks before use.
If you want to stamp your soaps, you need to do this as soon as you cut them into bars while the soap is still soft. I used a handmade stamp and diamond dust mica to stamp my soaps with hearts. You can find the tutorial for making your own hand stamped soaps here.
For a limited time, you can buy my Handmade Pink Berry Mimosa Soap from Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen. Each bar of Pink Berry Mimosa Soap comes wrapped in a glassine bag with a hand drawn label on the front and a “handmade with love” sticker on the back. Then they’re all tied up in a bow with red and white bakers twine making them a lovely homemade gift choice for Mother’s Day, birthdays and weddings. This is a very limited edition soap, so be sure buy yours before they sell out for good!
Note that hemp seed oil and avocado oil have a shorter shelf life than most other oils, so don’t buy more than you plan to use. You can refrigerate these after opening to extend the shelf life up to six months. However, keep in mind that avocado oil will solidify in the refrigerator, so you’ll need to allow time for it to liquify again before use.
Want to add botanicals or clay to your soap? You can do so at trace. Natural ingredients like red rhassoul clay, lavender blossoms or dead sea salt would be a wonderful touch. What are some of your favorite ingredients you enjoy in handmade soaps?