You read that right:
I got real crafty last summer!
If you're like me -obsessed with beauty and cosmetics, that is-, read on because there's a whole 'nother world you can let loose your passion: making your own beauty products! I proudly present you my first batch of homemade olive oil soaps- which, contrary to what you might think, they're dead easy to make.
But why soaps, you might ask?
It was only because I didn't want to waste a huge 5lt can of olive oil that didn't taste quite right. Throwing it away was not an option, so I had to find a means to make it useful ;)
First and foremost, there's two things you need to keep in mind before experimenting with soap-making recipes:
a. Do your homework. Even the tiniest little search online will be enough to baffle you with contradicting recipes. So before settling on a particular recipe, learn about the characteristics of each ingredient, what quality of soap they produce, and the importance of accuracy in weighing each quantity.
b. Take all precautions necessary! It's very, very important not to let the lye get in contact with your skin. Or your eyes and nose. Get youselves some gloves, an old blouse with long sleeves, a face mask, and some vinegar in case you spill yourself with some soap mixture by accident (vinegar counteracts the lye in the soap).
Here's a side-by-side comparison with a store-bought soap. The one in the middle is
made according to the basic colour- and fragrance-free recipe. Green colour has
been added to the soap on the right, along with Cedar essential oil.
So, what's the main principle behing soap-making?
Mixture A consists of all the oils the recipe calls for. Mixture B has the lye (or Sodium Hydroxide, or NaOH, if you prefer) diluted into water. You should have the two mixtures reach the same temperature, preferably 37 °C. Once you achieve that, you stir mixture B into mixture A, and then blend with a hand mixer for 5', or until it reaches the consistency of velouté soup. Then you pour it into moulds lined with parchment paper, and you're done!
The next day, you take it out of the moulds and cut it into slices, or any shape you want really. Then you must store it in a cool and dry place for at least 6 weeks, during which time the soaps are NOT usable yet. After 6 weeks have passed, you can finally take them out of their storage place and put them into use!
* I decided to make my own recipe (took me an afternoon full of calculations!), as I wanted to be sure that the quantity of the ingredients were 100% correct. You certainly don't have to follow that route! If anyone's interested, below I have a photo of the recipe I made. *
- 967,5 gr olive oil
- 82,56 gr coconut oil
- 140 gr lye, or Sodium Hydroxide, or NAOH
- 350 ml ionised water
FIY, the only ingredient that doesn't matter if you pour too much or too little into the mix is water. That happens because water doesn't take part in the chemical reaction between oil and lye, it only serves as a diluter to the lye. Other than that, any recipe for homemade soap MUST contain a small amount of coconut oil, because this is what is going to make the soap foam. I've also read that cheap olive oil of the worst quality (for ex. olive pomace oil) makes a better soap than what you'd get by using the more expensive cooking olive oil!
I hope I've inspired you to pull up your sleeves and experiment with DIY ideas, like making your own soaps! If you have any questions about soap-making, don't hesitate to ask: I may not be an expert in the field, but I can definitely help out a beginner.
What are your thoughts on homemade cosmetics?
Do you think they're worth the effort? I certainly do!