Our new favourite DIY soap!
Everyone who has ever made soap knows that there are two kinds of accidents: the bad ones and the good ones. With the first kind, we’re left with a useless, lye-heavy soap with a rather unappealing pattern. With the second kind, we create something truly unique, if unexpected, and our mistake turns out to be a success! Gravity, our new favourite homemade soap recipe, was one such happy accident—just like the proverbial apple that fell on Newton’s head!
While we wanted to create a very simple pattern—a small drop of colour in an ocean of monochrome—in the end, a superb, colourful, gravity-bending swirl appeared before our eyes. Fortunately, we had taken good notes on our process (as always!) and were able to reconstruct our creation!
We’re delighted to present you with our little “mistake” of a homemade soap!
How to make soap
Sodium hydroxide solution
Oil and butter mixture
- 210 g (20.21%) coconut oil
- 210 g (20.21%) shea butter
- 210 g (20.21%) olive oil
- 70 g (6.74%) castor oil
- 35 g (3.37%) sweet almond oil
- 20 g (1.92%) spearmint essential oil
Colour 1 (mauve)
Colour 2 (blue)
- 1 g (0.1%) ultramarine blue
Colour 3 (white)
- 1 g (0.1%) titanium dioxide
- 4 measuring funnel pitchers
- 1 silicone spatula
- 3 mini silicone spatulas
- Components to make a double boiler
- 1 large stainless steel bowl
- 2 small stainless steel bowls
- 2 scales, accurate to 1 g and 0.1 g
- 1 basin, full of cold water (to make a cold water bath)
- A few ramekins
- 1 immersion blender
- 1 large Pyrex measuring cup or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pot with a minimum capacity of 500 ml
- A few spoons
- 1 thermometer
- 1 silicone loaf mold
- Personal protective gear
Good to know!
- In this soap recipe, we chose to use sweet almond oil for superfatting because it is non-greasy, very gentle on skin, and soothing.
- The saponified oils give this homemade soap some lovely properties:
- Coconut oil hardens soap, cleanses, and provides great lather.
- Shea butter hardens soap and provides silky, creamy lather.
- Olive oil makes the soap milder.
- Castor oil makes the soap milder and provides abundant, creamy, stable lather.
Steps to follow
- Prepare and disinfect your equipment and workspace.
- Take the necessary precautions for handling sodium hydroxide safely.
- Weigh the water in a Pyrex measuring cup or HDPE pot.
- Prepare the sodium hydroxide solution: weigh the sodium hydroxide; pour the sodium hydroxide into the water, contained in a Pyrex measuring cup or HDPE pot; mix together.
- Place the sodium hydroxide solution in a cold water bath to cool it quickly.
- Weigh the coconut oil and shea butter in a large stainless steel bowl. Melt on the double boiler.
- In a small stainless steel bowl, weigh the olive and castor oils.
- When the coconut oil and shea butter have melted, remove from heat. Add the olive and castor oils and mix together.
- In a second small bowl, weigh the sweet almond oil. Set aside.
- In a ramekin, weigh the essential oil.
- Weigh the colourants for the three colours in three separate ramekins.
- In three separate measuring funnel pitchers, disperse the colourants for the three colours in a little bit of the oil mixture from step 8. Crush any granules of colourant with the mini spatulas to prevent clumps from forming.
- When the oil and butter mixture and the sodium hydroxide solution have both cooled to a temperature of 35°C – 40°C, pour the sodium hydroxide solution into the oils while mixing with the spatula or immersion blender. Continue to blend until the mixture is homogeneous.
- Do not wait until you reach trace. As soon as the mixture is homogeneous, add the superfatting oil and the essential oil and continue to mix to incorporate both.
- As soon as the mixture is homogeneous, pour two thirds of the soap batter into the measuring funnel pitcher containing the colourants for colour 1 (mauve).
- Divide the remaining third of the soap batter between the measuring funnel pitchers containing colourants for colour 2 (blue) and colour 3 (white).
- Using the immersion blender, mix the colour 1 batter to disperse the pigments.
- At light trace, pour one third of the colour 1 batter into the bottom of the mold.
- Transfer half of the remaining colour 1 batter into the last measuring funnel pitcher. You should now have two measuring funnel pitchers with approximately the same amount of colour 1 batter in each.
- Using the immersion blender, mix the batter for colours 2 and 3. Quickly rinse the immersion blender in between to avoid mixing one colour into the other.
- At light trace, pour alternating lines of colour 2 and colour 3 batter along the center of the mold lengthwise, from one end to the other.
- Place the two measuring funnel pitchers containing colour 1 batter on either side of the mold (lengthwise). Pour the remaining colour 1 batter along the whole length of the mold.
- Cover the soap for 24–48 hours.
- Unmold the soap while wearing gloves. Cut soap and leave to cure in a cool, dry place for four to six weeks.
Use and conservation
This homemade soap is formulated for all skin types.
When made in optimal sanitary conditions, it will keep for at least one year.