How to Make Hot Process Tangerine-Cocoa & Oatmeal Calendula Soap (Natural, Handmade, Lovely)
It's been brought to my attention via several questions from my readers about different things to do with hot process soap making that I am kind of stuck in a soap recipe rut! The FINAL straw, was a question from a man who purchased my Hot Process Soap Making eBook and asked me if it's ok to use high alcohol content liquor (Fireball Whiskey) in the soap.
Hmmm..... Gee? I'd never done that before. And I don't know anyone who has? Which is what I told him. But still, I was thinking, shouldn't I know the answer?
And then I was kind to myself: "No, I don't need to know the answer to every question." And I admit. I don't. I am a learner and a student just like everyone else! And I love being a student all the time. A student of Life. A student of Soap Making. A student of Herbalism. A student of Gardening. A student of raising Goats. A student of Blogging....And...so much more! It's who I am. A constant student.
After doing a bit of reflecting, I decided it would benefit me and you, my readers, if I were to branch out and try some new soap making ideas, recipes, and techniques. While realizing, of course, the fact that I am learning right along with you! So, yesterday, I chose a recipe from Jan Berry's Simple and Natural Soap Making book I purchased recently (which is WONDERFUL, I may add), and I adjusted it to fit the oils I had on hand, and of course, I turned the recipe into Hot Process....My favorite.
The thing about trying new recipes, I have discovered over the years, is that sometimes they don't work. Sometimes things happen. Sometimes trying to turn a cold process recipe into a hot process recipe is harder than you think. When you are unfamiliar with the behavior of certain ingredient combinations or heat levels or water discounts and more, then you are taking a chance of a failure every time you try a new recipe or decide to be brave and make changes to it.
Now, failure is good! Right? That's what I always told my students, back when I was teaching. You learn from your failures and not-so-perfect results! So how did I get myself into such a rut with my soap making?
I realized my big excuse for not breaking out of my soap rut was because I am SO short on time, that I really didn't feel I could afford to lose time on a soap experiment that might fail, when I already have a GREAT recipe that seriously works every. Single. Time. And that I love. And that you can customize the heck out of. You can find it in my How to Make & Customize Hot Process Soap eBook, along with detailed directions for how to make hot process soap.
However. Excuses begone! The time has come to break the chains of same old, same old; do some radically different things; and just open myself to learn more from any (potential) failed soap making experiments (as well as the successes, of course).
Potentially, here are some things that can happen badly with hot process soap making:
Your oils won't emulsify with the lye solution (been there, done that, and figured it out). Your soap turns out too soft and doesn't ever harden up. You end up with DOS (Dreaded Orange Spots) on your soap because the oils you use go rancid in the soap. The saponification process just doesn't work. You burn a fragile ingredient (like honey or milk) in the crock pot, and your soap turns out a really ugly color. I could go on and on! Just being real.
But yesterday I was brave (heh, heh). Here is my latest and greatest recent experiment with a new recipe that I changed up a bit and converted from cold process to hot process soap.
Note: There are affiliate links scattered throughout this article for your convenience. If you happen to click through and make any kind of purchase, I'll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for helping support Healing Harvest Homestead--Heidi
How to Make Tangerine-Cocoa Calendula & Oatmeal Hot Process Soap
(LOL....I think it needs a catchier, shorter name!)
Ingredients for Tangerine Calendula Oatmeal Hot Process Soap
10 ounces distilled water
3.9 ounces sodium hydroxide (lye)
7.5 ounces Coconut Oil
3.5 out ces Cocoa Butter
12.5 ounces Calendula-infused Olive Oil (You can read this article about how to make an herbal infused oil, if you need to know how to make this oil. You may also just use regular Olive Oil.)
3.5 ounces Sunflower Oil
1 ounce Castor Oil (I usually use a little more Castor Oil, but I ran out. See what happens? You just go with it and figure it out. Jan says you can substitute a bit of olive oil for the Castor Oil, which is what I did.)
1 ounce Tangerine Essential Oil
1 ounce Orange Essential Oil
(This combination is SO beautiful and happy!)
Color & Texture:
1 tablespoon finely powdered Oatmeal. I just powder it up in my herb grinder. This provides a slight exfoliating benefit, and helps moisturize you skin, too.
The lovely color of this soap is a pretty light yellow. It comes from the Calendula petals infused in the Olive Oil. Gotta love herbs! NOTE: Not all herbs add color. You can find some great ways to color your soap in this article, "How to Use Clays and Herbs to Color Soap Naturally." There is also a chart in my Hot Process Soap eBook.
Tools You'll Need to Make Hot Process Soap
** A large crock pot
** Wooden spoons (or stainless steel--you don't want to use any other metal)
** Heat resistant measuring pitcher
** Kitchen Scale (VERY important)
** Hand Blender (Also VERY important)
** Soap Mold
** Safety Gloves (and be sure to wear long sleeves too)
Directions for Making Tangerine-Oatmeal-Calendula Hot Process Soap
NOTE: These are very basic directions because I've written quite a bit about the hot process soap making method. If you are new to soap making, please read these much more detailed articles, "Lavender-Rosemary Hot Process Soap" and "Make Your Own Hot Process Soap: My Favorite Recipe." You can also purchase my "How to Make & Customize Your Own Hot Process Soap," which is VERY detailed and includes recipes, charts, and ideas for you to customize your own hot process soap.
Step One: Get Your Oils Measured and in the Crock Pot
Set your crock pot to LOW. Measure out your oils (I measure to one-hundredth of an ounce) and put them in the crock pot. Let them melt completely, but not get too hot.
Step Two: Get Your Lye Solution Going
Mix the water and lye. This is IMPORTANT: Always pour the lye into the water---NEVER the other way around. You could potentially have a lye volcano happen, and that might be damaging.
I just set this solution aside in a safe place away from children or pets, either outside or near an open window (due to fumes), while the oils melt all the way.
Step Three: Mix to Trace
Now, pour your lye solution into the crock pot with the melted oils. I don't worry about temperature too much because with hot process you are cooking everything anyway. However, with that said, I've noticed that if my lye solution is really hot, still, sometimes my oils and solution don't emulsify as well. So---A little cool down period for the lye solution is a good thing.
Using your hand blender (make sure your safety gear is on!) blend the oils and lye solution to trace. This will look like pudding, with soft little peaks.
Step Four: Cook the Soap
Put the lid on the crock pot and cook the soap! It will go through several stages.
#1) The soap will become very opaque and rather hard.
#2) Starting on the edges, your soap will start turning to a gel-like substance, and it may even crawl up the side of the crock pot. This is normal. When there is enough soap gelled, then just stir it on down.
#3) Any opaque bits still left will begin to gel too, leaving you with something similar to mashed potatoes. Keep stirring.
#4) Finally, you'll get a nice substance that is similar to petroleum jelly, with a translucent appearance. When you pick up a little ball of it, it will feel waxy and be moldable. At this point, you can do the ZAP test, if you like. Or not. It's up to you. This is the stage where you are almost done!
You'll know when you reach this stage because the soap stops changing. I usually let it go for another 15 minutes, then I check it.
Step Five: Add Any Extras
Turn off the crock pot, and let it sit for five to 10 minutes or so. Now it's time to add your oatmeal and essential oils. Stir super well!
Step Six: Pour the Soap into the Mold
That's it...just glop the soap into the mold. I press it down really well to be sure there are no air pockets in your soap because that would just look kind of ugly.
Step Seven: Allow it to Cool and Then Remove the Soap Block
You'll need to let the soap cool down completely before removing it from the mold. This can take anywhere from five hours to overnight. If you are using a silicone mold (which I prefer), removing the soap is really quite easy.
Now you have a nice block, or loaf, of soap!
Step Eight: Enjoy!
You know what one of the nice things about Hot Process Soap Making is? You don't have to cut the block into bars all at once! Isn't that cool? Leaving the loaf intact longer saves the scent of the essential oils, too. I just cut what I need at a time.
If you want, you can allow your soap to cure for a few days, as this will allow the soap to harden even more as any residual moisture evaporates. But....I generally cut myself a little bar and use it right away. Because....I have no self-control. Ahem.
How Long Does Making Hot Process Soap Take?
Gosh, I keep forgetting to address this question, so I'm throwing it in here. The time it takes depends on the temperature of your home and how solid your oils are when you put them in the crock pot. Melting the oils can add a significant length of time (up to 30 minutes or so) to the total time.
For the actual cooking time, though, you can depend on it taking any where from 45 minutes to about an hour and a half. Honestly, if you let it go a little longer, it's not going to hurt your soap.
From start to finish, you are looking at a total time period from 1 1/2 hours to up to 3 hours or so.
Final Thoughts About This Hot Process Recipe
This was a GREAT experiment, and I'm glad I did it. Overall, I would say this recipe is awesome and a success! I really liked using Cocoa Butter in it because Cocoa Butter is seriously one of my most favorite butters in the world. It smells SO good! The scent doesn't really last that well in the soap, though.
A little note about the lather. Lather is so important for a good handmade soap to have. Castor oil is one of the ingredients that helps give soap a good lather, and for this recipe, I didn't have enough. But here is a picture! I am happy to tell you this soap lathers beautifully!
O.K. Game on! You can look forward to some new soap combinations and recipes from now on in this blog....all hot process, though. If you want to know why Hot Process Soap is my favorite, you can find out in my book, or just check out this (unbiased--heh,heh) article, "Cold Process vs. Hot Process Soap."
One of my cold process soap making friends made mention she thought my "objective" views were actually biased toward hot process. Well. That's o.k., but still there is accuracy in that article, and as she admitted, she couldn't really argue with any point made. It's all a matter of preference!
Do you make soap? What is YOUR favorite kind and why? Do you have a favorite recipe? I'd love for you to share with us! Leave a comment!
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
P.S. If you haven't already done so, please sign up for our weekly newsletter! You'll get info, recipes, and ideas not found on the blog, and I'll be sending you free eBooks on using herbs and essential oils, too!
P.P.S. Another mention for Jan Berry's Natural Soap Making book. It's excellent. I've been a fan of Jan's for many years. She is an expert at the cold process soap making method, and is very science-y with her knowledge. If you are interested in cold process, I recommend her book, as well as my other friend, Kelly Cable's Soap Making for Beginners., which is where the recipe for Goat Milk & Honey soap came from!
If you want to try the hot process soap making method, though, I think you should try my book. There's just not a lot of great information out there about hot process soap, and I've tried to remedy that with my book.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert soap maker. These are my personal experiences and experiments. I disclaim any liability for misconstruing directions, not doing enough research, and not taking proper safety measures in the soap making process. Always use common sense and be safe.