Handmade Essential Oil Soap for Christmas #1: Frankincense & Myrrh
Frankincense and Myrrh oils are famous for being gifts for Our Lord Jesus on the day of his birth from the Three Kings. Both of these oils were more valued than gold in those times. These days, they are revered for their health benefits, and Frankincense, in particular, for its anti-aging and skin healing properties. I've added some Moroccan Red Clay to give this soap a lovely light pink/brown color and for the extra benefits for your skin. I love giving Frankincense & Myrrh Handmade Hot Process Soap for gifts during the holidays!
Making hot process soap is very easy! That's not to say it's not a little complicated, and there are definitely safety steps you MUST follow. Although hot process soap is not as "pretty" as cold process, with a more rustic appearance, I enjoy it because it can be used right away and the essential oils used for fragrance tend to last a LOT longer.
I'm not going to add a lot of process pics in this post, but if you want to see two really good picture tutorials of the whole process, see this post and/or this post. They're both pretty complete. If you are new to soap making, you might want to take a look at both.
What does my Frankincense & Myrrh Soap smell like?
It's kind of hard to describe, but the Frankincense has a kind of buttery mild turpentine scent (to me). Now I know that doesn't sound great, but really, I think it's pretty nice. Myrrh has a deep and kind of smoky smell. I added a touch of the peppermint to sweeten the scent a little and also to pleasantly bring out the Frankincense notes. I'm obviously not a "perfumer," but my nose "knows" what it likes! lol
Here's How to Make Frankincense & Myrrh Hot Process Soap:
NOTE: This is for a 3 pound batch of soap. If you want less or more, just make adjustments. Or, email me, and I'll get them to you.
15 ounces distilled or filtered water
7.2 ounces food grade sodium hydroxide (lye)
15 ounces organic Coconut Oil
15 ounces organic Olive Oil
12 ounces Sweet Almond oil
6 ounces Shea Butter
1.5 ounces Castor Oil
Fragrance & Color
2 tablespoons Red Moroccan Clay
1.5 ounces Frankincense Essential Oil
.5 ounce Myrrh Essential Oil
.5 ounce Peppermint Essential Oil
NOTE: I'm a terrible measurer, and I tend to have a "heavy hand" with my oils. I just like the scent on the strong side. If you are sensitive to scents, just reduce!
Another note on this recipe: I've used this basic recipe extensively for years, and it ALWAYS turns out---unless I mess up! lol
Where Do I Get My Butters, Oils, and Essential Oils (for Soap making)?
When I first started making soap, this was a BIG question. Where do you get all the stuff?
I have found that Costco has the best prices on Organic Olive Oil. I buy that there. Once in awhile, I'll buy Coconut oil there for making soap too, but I have found the best place to buy oils, butter, and essential oils (for soap making and room sprays) is Starwest Botanicals or Bulk Apothecary. They have a huge selection of every thing you need. I believe the essential oils at Starwest are of better quality overall than Bulk Apothecary, but either are fine for making soap.
About essential oils: I use doTerra for direct application on skin and for inhalation too because the quality is unbeatable, and for health reasons, it is the best you can get. It's also more expensive due to its quality. So, if you're trying to solve a health problem, go doTerra. However, the price is honestly prohibitive for making soap. That's why I buy my essential oils for making soap from Starwest Botanicals. The quality is still very good, but the price is much better. You can also try Bulk Apothecary for oils and butters. Just do some comparing! You'll find some things less expensive at SW, and some less at BA.
How to Make Hot Process Frankincense & Myrrh Soap
1) Gather your tools:
* Crock Pot You'll want a large crock pot, in case things get REALLY frothy--my soap has been known to tumble out of the pot once or twice--NOT a good thing. A simple crock pot is fine. You don't need anything fancy. I recommend dedicating a crock pot to only making soap. I have two for soap, and one for cooking. People say, when then walk into my kitchen, "Boy, you sure have a lot of crock pots!" Oh well. :-)
* Wooden Spoons for stirring
* Kitchen scale I have two scales, actually. This one (Ozeri) is great, and I also use a Cuisinart. I'll try to put that one below.
* Measuring cups and pitchers I use Pyrex because it's a great product. ALSO and more importantly, the lye solution needs to be poured into a heat resistant container as it's VERY hot.
* Large knife OR
* Soap Cutter (optional)
* Hand Blender This is an absolute MUST have. It will take FOREVER to get your mixture to trace without it. See the directions below.
2) Once I decide to make soap, I'll get the crock pot going---especially in the winter when the oils (shea & coconut oil) are solid. They need time to melt. I put these two oils in first, although you don't have to.
3) Add your oils to the crock pot, along with the clay
4) Now get your lye solution ready. ALWAYS POUR THE LYE BEADS INTO THE WATER....NOT the other way around. You could get seriously hurt by pouring water into lye. ARE YOU WEARING YOUR GLASSES? Sorry for the all caps! I cannot emphasize how important this is. Also----use a heat resistant container for this part!
Also, I should mention that you need to keep the lye solution away from children and pets. I know that's probably obvious, but they could be badly burned by both the heat of the mixture (it gets REALLY hot from the chemical reaction) and also the caustic nature of the solution itself.
If you happen to accidentally get any on your skin, rinse off with vinegar. The vinegar counteracts the alkalinity of the lye.
Let this solution sit while the oils are melting.
5) While you are waiting for the oils to melt, get your essential oils blended. Set aside. You won't use these until the very end.
6) Once the oils are melted, carefully pour in your lye solution.
7) Get out your dedicated hand blender, and mix away (Got Your Gloves & Glasses on?). You will need to mix it until it's the consistency of pudding. This is called "trace."
8) Put your crockpot lid on, and hang around for 20 - 30 minutes---maybe even less. You will see the chemical changes in the oils as the lye solution "saponifies" them into soap! You'll see some different stages:
First Stage, the mixture will turn hard and opaque
Second Stage, it will start bubbling and rising---getting frothy. Once a lot of it is frothy, STIR, STIR, STIR it down. It will calm right back down. You may still have some opaque pieces. That's ok. Just cook some more.
Third Stage, you may see another "froth" rising up, especially if you still had a lot of opaque bits. Just stir it well again. Some people call this the "mashed potato" stage, because that's kind of what it looks like.
Fourth Stage, eventually, it will turn a bit waxy and translucent. With the clay added, it's a little harder to see the translucency, but you can pretty much tell. Now is the time to test it to see if it's done.
9) Test the soap. Take a small bit (careful, it is VERY hot) and roll it around between thumb and finger. It should feel just like wax. If this is the case, then do the "ZAP" test. Place it lightly on your tongue. If it "ZAPS" you (you'll KNOW if it does), then it's not done, or perhaps you made a mistake somewhere (this has happened to me, and I talk about it in this post).
10) I LOVE this step. Here is where you turn off the crock pot and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then pour in your essential oil blend and stir like crazy until it's mixed in well. If you are using a pungent oil, you may need to look away while you do this part because it can be pretty strong. Your house will smell AMAZING for a LONG time!
11) Now, using a wooden spoon, put the soap into your mold. I use a silicone soap mold. Push it in there really good to be sure there are no air bubbles. If you have too much soap (this is a 3 pound batch), you may have a "top" like a loaf of bread. You can cut this off when it cools down after about 45 minutes if you want a nice smooth top. My husband and I cut this top up and use it. We don't care if it's pretty or not.
12) I let my soap sit overnight so it's completely cooled down. The nice thing about silicone molds is that you can just peel it away from the sides of the soap very easily. You can go ahead and cut it up now, OR just leave it in loaf form and cut up as needed. It lasts a LONG time this way!
This whole soap making process takes about two hours, not counting the time it takes the soap to cool down in the mold.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! I'd love to know about your soap making adventures....I'm pretty new to this, and I'd love to learn from you! Also, if you have any questions, please please ask!
Hugs and Self-Reliance!
P.S. I shared this article on these blog hops: Healthy Happy Green and Natural, The Homestead Blog Hop, The Homesteader Blog Hop, Our Simple Blog Hop, Grandma's House DIY, and The Homestead Bloggers Network! Stop by any of these for some really great DIY, all natural, homesteading, simple life articles from lots of talented bloggers!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and this means if you happen to click through on one and make any kind of purchase (not necessarily the item pictured), then I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. It's my hope that one day I'll be able to support my blogging habit! :-) Thank you for helping!
Disclaimer: These are my simple directions. Please do extra research on soap making and take all the precautions needed. I'm not responsible for mistakes or injuries.
If you are going to get into making soap (or even if you've been making soap for awhile), you HAVE to have this book. This is the book that started me off! In fact, the recipe here is based on one in this book!
Jan Berry's website, www.nerdyfarmwife.com, was also instrumental in getting me into making soaps. She has some really great ideas, tutorials, and recipes.
Here is the other kitchen scale I have. Both the Ozeri and this one are great! This one is a little easier to keep clean.
Please leave comments, questions, and other ideas! I'd love to hear from you! You are what makes this blog! :-) It's kind of boring without you, actually--- :-)
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click through and make a purchase (not necessarily the item pictured), I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you SO much for supporting HHH and my blogging habit! Heidi