You might want to make your own homemade soap because you want to avoid some of the common chemical ingredients in store-bought soap, or because it saves money, or just for the fun of mixing your own scents and molding them into decorative shapes. Making soap from scratch isn’t a simple process, and you will need to be careful with the lye – make sure you understand what the dangers are and how to avoid them before you start.
Or you can make things much simpler and “rebatch” your own soap, using another soap (like Ivory, which already has the lye) as a base. You can also make a smallish batch of homemade soap right in your blender, following the instructions here or here. You can also make liquid soap in a blender.
Whatever method you choose, here’s where it gets fun: the recipes. You can get very creative with the ingredients. Anything you want to use for scent is fine, but you can also put in ingredients like milk and honey or coffee grinds (great for exfoliation). You may also want to be aware of how certain oils help your skin.
The following homemade soap recipes vary in difficulty. Not all of them use lye. Some of them are simple re-batching or “melt and pour” recipes which are more suitable if you want to keep it simple.
Recipes for homemade soap
- Lavender and Oats Goat Milk Soap Recipe: not only is goat’s milk supposed to be great for skin, but this recipe also includes shea butter, plus oats for exfoliation.
- Chai Latte Love soap: with vegetable oils and fragrance oils, this soap can be poured into cups and made to look like adorable actual chai lattes being served.
- Pumpkin Soap Recipe: featuring olive, sunflower and coconut oils, blended with actual pumpkin and essential oils.
- Pure Coconut Oil Soap: a simple soap recipe with a moisturizing version for skin and a more drying version that’s right for laundry.
- Cucumber soap: cucumber is actually an astringent. This recipe harnesses its supposed curative properties along with its wonderful scent.
- Spoon Swirl Soap: a beautiful, multi-colored soap made with the room temperature method, using oxides, mica and cocoa powder to get its striking appearance.
- Charcoal Facial bar: a black bar of soap featuring charcoal, which is used in some high end cleansers because it’s so good at clearing out pores. This is a very sudsy soap even though it contains several oils, so it’s very moisturizing yet very cleansing.
- Vegan lavender soap: made from olive oil and palm kernel oil (see this comment on why palm kernel oil might not be such an animal-friendly choice) instead of animal fat, with the relaxing fragrance of lavender.
- Lollipop soap: terrific for kids or as a party favor. Yes, it’s soap on a lollipop stick.
- Chocolate soap: you’ll find a variety of chocolate soap recipes there, and some are vegan. Some add flavors like orange or vanilla, which will give you ideas for your own recipes.
- Coffee and Cream soap: this recipe is melt and pour – no lye! Very easy for beginners or even supervised kids, and fantastic smelling.
- Apple Tart soap: another easy melt and pour recipe. Red and apple-scented.
- Oatmeal soap: I love oatmeal soap for my sensitive skin. This recipe is so simple: Dove + oatmeal = whole new soap.
- Spicy Tea Glycerin soap: add tea and dried flowers to boring bars of glycerin soap.
- Hand-milled sage soap: a lye-free recipe that gives you a delicious scented soap.
- Avocado oil soap: just what it sounds like. Avocado is awesome for all types of skin.
- Fresh Ginger soap: not only a great recipe, but a tutorial on using fresh ginger in soaps.
Making soap at home can be a very fun and rewarding hobby. Once you’ve made a few batches from recipes, you get a feel for how it’s done and then you can create your own recipes. Decorative bars can be great as gifts, too (and much less expensive, and more thoughtful, than pretty bars from stores).
Originally published Nov. 14, 2012