How to Make Hot Process Soap! Recipe for Lavender-Rosemary-Vanilla Pink Clay Soap
I've been getting lots of requests for soaps lately! One of the soaps I make is a Lavender-Rosemary-Vanilla soap with French Pink Clay. I use the hot process method, which for me, is simpler than the cold process style because I don't have to worry about temperatures of the oils and lye solution. PLUS, with my impatient nature, I can use hot process soap right away! No curing time needed.
The blend of essential oils I use in this soap is extraordinary! I just can't think of a better word. The Lavender is calming, the Rosemary increases clarity, and the Vanilla is just plain soothing. I also add a natural colorant of French Pink Clay which gives the soap an amazing "slip." This means it's great for shaving too! I add in some organic Lavender flowers for texture and exfoliation---and BAM! Amazing, lathering, long lasting, natural herbal soap that is GREAT for your skin, mind, and spirit!
*After you read through this tutorial, if you want to see another very detailed photo tutorial on hot process soap, visit Make Your Own Soap, ! And if search "soap" on my website, you'll find many other great recipes and directions!
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Ingredients for Lavender-Rosemary Soap
15 ounces Coconut Oil
15 ounces Olive Oil (I've found Costco has the best price!)
12 ounces Sweet Almond Oil
6 ounces Shea Butter
1.5 ounces Castor Oil
15 ounces distilled or filtered water
7.2 ounces food grade lye
(You don't have to use Food Grade Lye, but I always do. It just feels better to me.)
1 ounce Lavender Essential Oil
.5 ounce Rosemary Essential Oil
1.5 ounces Vanilla Extract (no sugar added)
Textures & Colorants:
3 tablespoons French Pink Clay
3 tablespoons Lavender Flowers
Where I Usually Buy My Products:
Honestly, I usually buy my olive oil and coconut oil from Costco. You can get the price cheaper for coconut oil on Amazon if you look, though. My other soaping items are from Amazon or Starwest Botanicals. Their prices for bulk-type essential oils are reasonable, and the essential oils are actually of good quality--perfect for soap making!
Any herbs (or spices for that matter) that I use, I almost always get from Starwest Botanicals because of the quality, the speedy shipping, the great variety of products, and the excellent customer service.
Tools You Will Need:
A Note About Safety
Using lye to create soap is potentially very dangerous. Lye is caustic and can cause burns and blindness if any gets into your eyes. ALWAYS use safety gear---eye glasses and rubber gloves. I also wear long sleeves.
If any lye or lye solution or caustic uncooked soap gets on your skin, apply vinegar right away. The acid in the vinegar counteracts the alkalinity of the lye.
Also---it's important to stay with your soap while it's cooking. I walked away once, and it had boiled over the top of the crock pot! NOT a fun clean up.
Keep children and pets away from your soap making area. The lye can really hurt them---even a little bead on the floor!
LOL! I have to share this: The very first time I decided to make "real" soap using lye, it took me about two months to gear up for it. As my husband watched warily, I carefully followed all the steps. I was dressed out like the guys on "Breaking Bad." I think he thought I was completely cray-cray! lol
At any rate, I'm a little bit looser with the safety measures now, but I ALWAYS wear my basic gloves & eye glasses.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You should download my Hot Process Soap Making Checklist. It’s FREE, and it’s also a lifesaver! You can get it at the end of the article.
How to Make Lavender Rosemary Vanilla Hot Process Soap:
1. Melt your oils.
I preheat my crock pot on low. Add all the oils in together and allow them to completely melt. I also add in my clay at this time. You can see a little sprinkle of the pink clay on the side of the crock pot and a tiny dab of unmelted shea butter too.
NOTE about measuring the oils, lye, and water: You MUST measure accurately. I actually try to measure to the hundredth of an ounce. You need a kitchen scale to do this! I use an Ozeri that has never failed me.
2. Mix up your Lye Solution.
You need to use a heat-proof container. I use a Pyrex glass 16 ounce measuring pitcher that is dedicated to soap making only. IMPORTANT! Always, always, always pour the lye beads into the water, NOT the other way around. Mix it up well. (If you pour water into lye, you could potentially cause a volcano, and this could seriously injure you and at the least, make a huge mess.) I do this step OUTSIDE because of the fumes---or if it's too cold or hot, be sure you're near a ventilated window.
I allow the lye solution to sit for a few minutes (outside) to cool down some. Unlike with cold process soap making, where you need to really watch the temperatures of the oils and lye solution, with hot process you don't need to worry about the heat of the lye solution. With that said, though, I prefer to let my lye solution cool just a tad before pouring it into the oils.
**At this point, while the oils are still melting and lye solution is sitting (I let it sit outside because of the fumes), it's time to blend up your essential oils. I also add the flowers at this time to the essential oils because I have found that letting the flowers sit in the EO's while the "cook" is going on makes the scent last even longer in the finished soap! SET THE EO'S ASIDE....You won't use them until the very end!
3. Add the lye solution to the oils in the crock pot.
After the oils are completely melted, gently pour your lye solution into the oil. (One of the nice things about hot process soap making is you don't need to fuss about the temperatures of the oil or lye solution.)
4. Bring the mixture to trace.
Using a hand blender (I use one that is completely dedicated to making soap), mix until you reach "trace." Trace is that point when the mixture resembles a slightly stiff pudding.
5. Cook your soap
Put the lid on your crock pot and let the mixture "cook." You will eventually see the mixture bubbling, turning, and rising up in the crock pot. Go ahead and stir it down well. You may need to stir it down another time or two.
6. Keep stirring as needed.
Note the bits of opaque mixture still in the crock pot? You don't want ANY opacity in the soap at all. It is still caustic at this point. You are looking for it to turn completely transclucent. Some compare it to the appearance of petroleum jelly.
7. Test your soap.
Test your soap to be sure it's done and safe. There are two things to look for---feel and zap. Take a bit off your soap spoon. If it's done, you should be able to roll it into a waxy little ball. It will be soft, but you can form it. Now, the ZAP test. Just place the little ball on the tip of your tongue. You shouldn't feel anything and just taste a bit of soap. If you feel a "ZAP" (and you will KNOW if you do), then either it's not done or something is not quite right.
Here's a quick story about testing the soap:
Once, I inadvertently forgot to add the Sweet Almond Oil---12 whole ounces of oil! That darn mix wouldn't stir up right! So I kept stirring and trying the ZAP test! For like two hours! YIKES! Lol! I had a SORE tongue. DON'T do this! :-) When I finally realized what had happened, I just wanted to kick myself! lol But I'll never make that mistake again!
8. Pour/Glop it into the mold.
Now, just add the hot, finished soap to the mold. Press it down really well. In fact, I'll gently drop the mold with the soap in it a few times to help release any air pockets in it!
9. Let it cool completely.
After cooling about 45 minutes, if you want, you can slice off the top. I just draw very sharp knife along the top. You'll be left with a nice smooth top, and since it isn't yet completely hardened, it's not hard to do.
10. Unmold, and cut what you want!
When your soap is completely cooled (I usually let it go overnight, or at least several hours), then you can remove the soap from the mold. You'll be left with a nice loaf of soap! Another great thing about hot process soap making is that you can leave the soap in the block, which helps retain the scent. You can cut just what you need at a time!
One of my favorite soap making resources is the Everything Soap Making Book. It's my soap making "Bible." I LOVE this book, and I've used it extensively. It's worth buying this book, especially if you are beginner. The author comprehensively covers every aspect of soap making you can think of in terms that are understandable.
And if you are interested in some truly expert cold process soap making advice (and directions for turning the cold process recipes into ones that will work for hot process too), check out The Nerdy Farm Wife's Natural Soap Making Book! It's a real winner!
Have you ever tried making hot process soap? I'd love to know your thoughts about hot vs. cold process! Let me know if you try making soap! I'd love to hear your experiences!
Hugs & Self-Reliance!
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Disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional, and I do not proclaim to cure, diagnose, prevent, or cure any health or emotional issue. Please see a medical professional for concerns. The advice in this article, elsewhere on my website, or in my shop is simply my own opinion based on years of study and experience and is for informational purposes only.