You might want to make your own homemade soap because you want to avoid certain 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 some ingredients. Make sure you understand the dangers and how to avoid them before you start.
Soap making methods
Melt and Pour
This is the simplest method, but it can be used to make the most complex and artsy soaps. You just melt a pre-made soap base, add in any other ingredients you want, pour it into a mold, and let it cool and harden.
The way this method can get complex is when you’re making layers and decorative elements to make an amazing-looking soap. (See the Mermaid Soap in the recipes below.)
This process involves making a soap base from scratch. In short, you mix lye with an oil or fat, add in some other ingredients, and watch it become soap.
It’s one of the more popular processes, but also one of the more complicated ones. It gives you total control over all the ingredients in the soap, which might be one of the reasons people like it.
For more info on Cold Process, check out this page.
It’s basically like the cold process, except with heat. The heat speeds up the process, and you can use a microwave, crockpot or oven.
Whatever method you choose, here’s where it gets fun: the soap 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.
Soap Making Gear
If you’re totally new to making handmade soap, you may want to start off with a soap making kit. They make everything simple and self-contained. If you’d rather learn from scratch, you’ll need:
Lye. Unless you plan on never using lye based soap recipes.
Decorative soap bars can be great as gifts, too (and much less expensive, and more thoughtful, than pretty bars from stores).
Homemade Soap Recipes
The following DIY 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. Others are cold process soap recipes, which lets you make fantastic-looking layered or ombre bars.
This rich recipe contains olive oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and castor oil. It can be poured into cups and made to look like adorable actual chai lattes being served. This is a cold process soap, so it doesn't contain lye.
This is a cold process soap recipe, and the page contains both a short video and a link to a full tutorial showing you how to make cold process soap. If this technique is new to you, you'll get lots of help learning it here.
Green tea and lemon essential oils smell great together. The antioxidants and tannins from the tea are said to have several benefits for the skin. Overall, this is a great soap for anyone who has acne.