*Make Soap with me is my FREE on-line little book you can read, get all the basic of making soaps, including recipe and other useful links on line.
I know most of the soapmakers out there do not share their recipes… what a shame. Today, I am sharing mines :
Here a picture of my master recipe that I was using in 2006 here in Mexico. Since then, I have made soaps in Canada using the oils available over there and I have also made soaps in USA, using what was around me locally. Back to Mexico, I have to use what I find on the shelves in the grocery stores. I cannot order on-line, the postal service and the carriers are not very reliable and the custom offices are charging a very high fees for crossing the borders. So the ever practical person that I am is still making soap with whatever I have handy.
In Mexico, the lard (pig fat) is available in large quantity. To me, it is a fat that brings a very good conditioner and moisturizer to the skin, specially the face. Olive oil is a bit on the expensive side here, the canola oil is ok and the corn one also. Coconut oil is way too much money and all the others expensive oils out there: not even worth mentioning it here. Anyway, to make handmade soap at home, I don’t need more than what I have around me.
In 2006, my master recipe was:
Canola oil (31%)
Olive oil (19%)
Sunflower oil (31%)
Lard (animal fat, not vegetable fat) (12%)
Fluid (I always use the minimum amount given by the calculator)
And to know the exact amount of these ingredients, I use MMS on line (calculator). Because I travel a lot, I was buying my Lye in Canada and bringing it with me, hoping not to get cut at the crossing customs, which I never did. While living in the USA last year, I got a large quantity of Lye at Lowe’s hardware store. Without lye, there is no soap (I am not going to get into details here, just do a search on the net and read, read and read about it).
This master recipe gave me beautiful soaps, very creamy, very nice to the eyes and very hard soaps. I used this base for many batches of soap.
Now back to Mexico this time, I have been using a different recipe:
Canola oil (29%)
Olive oil (29%)
And it gives me a very nice soap, not too much on the bubbly side but still good. Why did I change my recipe? Oh, because I made soap down in Florida in last November and I was experimenting with different oils and all and I got carried away with my passion I guess. Looking at it now today, I might go back to my original recipe in 2006.
So these are my main recipes, the rest is just a question of colors, smell and all. I have a tendency to use natural colors from the earth (infused teas, mica, etc) but not too much. I use fragrance oils (essential oils too expensive for me) and beside, the lye kills most of the essential oil added to the recipe, keeping about just 3% of the smell after mixing it all. So for me, fragrance oils been made with essential oils end up at the end of the recipe to be about the same smell, less expensive. This is again, my personal choice. And on top of this, I have started to make my own fragrance oil with a good carrier (olive oil), so far with great results.
Fresh ingredients like fruits, beer, and wine: yes, I do use those, with great success again, but I do a search on the internet prior to adding any new ingredients to my recipe, taking notes and notes and ton of notes (did I mention taking notes?). A handmade soap made with beer is unbelievable to the touch and a great soap for shaving. My Beer and Patchouli recipe is here, with the instructions on the process. My Cucumber and Melon soap was made last November with great success also. When using real fruits, I add a liquid inside of one vitamin E capsule, as a preservative.
As for containers : I started out by using those plastic drawers I got at my local Wal-Mart store, lined them up with plastic wrap and was making good looking soaps with it, using Cold Process method.
Now, I am using the Cold Process Oven Process method, with those molds (plastic for oven), wood mold, a simple wood mold that I got at the liquor store with a wine bottle inside. I don’t lined the plastic one but I do line, using this method, the wood mold one using freezer paper, parchment paper or a garbage bag cut up.
The rest : I use my imagination and make soaps at home… and most of the time now, I open my cupboard of oil supplies, see what I have left over, measure everything in my lye calculator and make a recipe of whatever. The best soaps come from those whatever left behind because without a specific recipe, I use right from the start a plain way of making a soap and can add my imagination, my feeling for the present moment and create, just create. Once you have master the basic of saponification and the safety of using lye, the rest is just endless.
Making soap is pretty simple. It is all those calculations now on the net that makes it complicated. It should not be. My grand-mother did not have a scale and was using only the size of her pots and her nose to make her soap. What a soap it was…without much of a recipe!