This homemade cold process soap recipe from guest blogger, Rebecca D. Dillon of Soap Deli News, is perfect for cold weather. Formulated with natural ingredients and a blend of minty essential oils, this soap recipe not only nourishes dry skin, but is also perfect for seasonal handmade holiday gifts.
About Cold Process Soapmaking
The first time I made cold process soap it was a complete disaster. YouTube didn’t exist. So there were no instructional soapmaking videos to help guide me through the process. There were websites with recipes of course. However, digital photography was still awkward and internet speeds were not what they are today. So, I fumbled through trying to make my first batch of soap with just a recipe and less than adequate instructions. To make matters worse, it had taken me absolutely FOREVER to work up the courage to handle lye needed for the soapmaking process.
If you’ve ever thought about making cold process soap, but haven’t yet taken the dive, you likely have felt the same way. That fear of the unknown when working with lye for the first time can be daunting. Learning how to make homemade soap, however, taught me a few things.
- If you learned something, then you didn’t fail.
- Working with lye isn’t nearly as scary as everyone makes it out to be.
- You have to WEIGH your soapmaking fats (oils and butters), not use liquid measurements. (A key instruction that was left out when I made my first attempt.)
- Since then, I’ve really fallen in love with soapmaking. Part of the joy that comes with making soap, is being able to share my craft with others.
Homemade soaps are also a great alternative to commercial soaps if you have problem skin. You can create a custom soap recipe that addresses your skin’s specific needs. Whether you want a low cleansing bar for your dry skin or one with activated charcoal for acne, the options for creating homemade soaps are endless. I also love that the extra soap bars are perfect for homemade gifts for friends and family.
With winter on the way I really wanted to formulate a homemade soap recipe that works well for dry skin. Having grown up with eczema I understand how irritating dry skin can be. By using a low cleansing and high conditioning soap, you can help to minimize your occurrence of dry skin. It can also help to prevent your already dry skin from getting
The Story Behind This Cold Process Soap Recipe
First, however, there is a story behind this cold process soap recipe. Fortunately it’s nothing like my first attempt at beer soap where I had lye volcano onto my stovetop. (I survived all body parts intact. However, I guess that doesn’t help quite so much with the “lye isn’t as scary as everyone makes it out to be” part.)
So, my story goes…
My boyfriend, Greg, has made cold process soap with me before. However, for this cold process soap recipe, I managed to relinquish control (with much effort) of the mixing stage. Meaning I let him make this soap from start to finish. Mostly anyway. I did pour the soap into the mold.
As this left me with idle hands, I decided to add a little extra glitz to this soap during the mixing stage. In addition to adding a blue mica powder (which turned purple) I also added a bit of super sparkle mica powder mid-mix. As this particular mica does not turn the soap white, rather it simply adds shimmer, I went with the more is more awesome approach.
Greg would mix. I would pour. My pouring got a bit out of control. It looked like it was snowing inside. We had clouds of mica dust in our eyes and down our throats. Our skin sparkled. The floor, table and countertop all glinted in the light.
In other words, I did something I shouldn’t have. It’s possible that when I die (hopefully not from lung cancer) my son will request an autopsy to see if there’s glitter still lurking about in my organs. Considering my love of glitter, it’s possible there could be. I mean, I do plan to live until I’m at least 112.
Point being that, while super sparkle mica is awesome, kids, don’t try this at home. Also you should really consider using a respirator mask. (Like a sane person.) My finished snowflake shaped soap bars now leave behind a tiny glint of sparkle after use. For that, however, I won’t complain.
As you won’t be making the same (ever so delightful) mistakes as I did, my cold process soap recipe does offer some rather marvelous benefits.
Benefits of My Cold Process Soap Recipe
This homemade cold process soap recipe for dry skin is carefully formulated so it won’t strip skin. Crafted using a higher than usual superfat (of 8%) that leaves some of the oils and butters unsaponified for their natural skin conditioning properties, this soap also contains ingredients proven to nourish dry skin.
Carrier oils like olive oil and anti-aging rosehip seed oil along with moisturizing ucuuba and cocoa butters help make this vegetable based soap extra luxurious. While a blend of natural, seasonally inspired wintergreen and peppermint essential oils help to invigorate the senses for the perfect morning pick me up.
- 1.6 oz. (50 g) cocoa butter (10%)
- 4 oz. (125 g) refined coconut oil (25%)
- 5.6 oz. (175 g) pomace olive oil (35%)
- 1.6 oz. (50 g) ucuuba butter (10%)
- 1.6 oz. (50 g) rosehip seed oil (10%)
- 1.6 oz. (50 g) castor oil (10%)
- 5.25 fluid ounces (165 fluid) grams distilled (or filtered) water
- 2.15 oz. (67.75 g) sodium hydroxide/lye (food grade)
- .25 oz. (7.75 g) peppermint essential oil
- .25 oz. (7.75 g) spearmint essential oil
- 1 teaspoon mica powder in color of choice, optional
- You’ll need to allow around two hours for this soapmaking project.
- A digital scale is needed to weigh the soapmaking oils, butters, essential oils and lye for this cold process soap recipe. However, you will use a liquid measurement for the water.
- You’ll also need a thermometer, non-aluminum heat safe containers, a spatula, an immersion blender and a silicone soap mold. (I used this soap mold.)
- If coloring your soap using a mica powder, be sure to choose one suited for cold process soap. Otherwise the color you have may not be the one you get in the end.
- I recommend placing your mold onto a cutting board, prior to pouring your soap, for easy transport.
Safety Tips & Precautions
While I’m more likely to cut my knuckles on a microplane (almost every time!) than get burned by lye there are some simple safety tips you should follow.
- Wear protective clothing – long sleeves, gloves and eye protection.
- Work in a well-ventilated area. You may also want to wear a respirator or face mask. (This is the case for mica as well.)
- Always pour the lye into your liquid, never the other way around.
- Never use aluminum pots, molds or utensils when working with lye.
- Use heat safe containers to mix your lye.
- You will need to follow basic cold process soapmaking instructions to recreate this cold process soap recipe. While I outline the steps for making cold process soap below, you can find in depth instructions on how to make cold process soap here.
- Begin by measuring out the water for this cold process soap recipe into a heat safe container. Next, use your digital scale to weigh out the lye into a separate container. In a well ventilated area, slowly pour the lye into the water. Then mix well until all of the lye has dissolved. Set the lye-water mixture aside to cool.
- Now, weigh out the soapmaking oils and butters and combine in a large heat safe container or non-aluminum pot. Heat either in a double boiler or over medium-low heat on your stovetop until melted. (You can also use a microwave at 30% power if desired.) Once melted, remove the container of melted soapmaking fats (oils and butters) from heat. Set aside to cool.
- Once both the lye-water and the soapmaking oils and butters have cooled to around 90°F (32°C) and are within 10°F (-12°C) of one another, you’re ready to make soap!
- If you’re planning to add color to your cold process soap recipe, then now is the time to do! Measure out and add one teaspoon of cosmetic mica powder to the pot of melted soapmaking oils. Mix with an immersion blender to evenly distribute the mica powder throughout the soapmaking fats.
- You can also weigh out and add the essential oils at this time. Or simply wait until your soap has reached a light trace. (I added both my colorant and essential oils prior to mixing in the lye-water.)
- Slowly add the lye-water to the soapmaking fats. Then mix with your immersion blender until you reach trace.
What is trace?
You’ll know when you’ve reached trace as your soap batter will look like pudding. You can test for trace by dragging your immersion blender through the top of the soap. If you’ve reached trace, the blender will leave a trail behind it that doesn’t disappear.
Sometimes, however, soap can have a false trace especially when using hard butters like cocoa butter and ucuuba butter. Therefore, I recommend mixing this one just a wee bit more after you’ve reached trace to be sure that your soap won’t separate.
Once your soap has traced, pour the soap batter into the cavities of your snowflake mold. Then, smooth out the soap using a silicone spatula.
Cover the soap with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, then set aside overnight.
Your cold process soaps should be ready to unmold within 24-48 hours. However, if you find your soap is still a tad too soft to unmold after two days, simply pop the mold into the freezer. After an hour or so, your soaps should easily release from the mold and will quickly harden up afterwards.
Once you’ve unmolded your homemade soaps, allow them to cure in a cool, dry location for 4- 6 weeks prior to use. After that time, your cold process soaps are ready for personal use or gifting.
If you enjoyed this homemade cold process soap recipe, then you can discover more of my cold process soapmaking recipes online. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Blog Lovin’ and Instagram. Or simply subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.