How to Make Holiday Spice Hot Process Soap Recipe (Natural and PERFECT for ALL the Holidays!)
I’m getting my holiday gift giving lists ready, and on these lists is the always popular hand-made soap! I thought I’d give a new twist to the typical spicy scent this year, and what has emerged is my Holiday Spice handmade soap. Like all my recipes, it’s completely natural, and this soap recipe is plant based too.
NOW. I have to admit. I. LOVE. THIS. SOAP! I thought my Pumpkin Pie Spice Soap was the bomb, but this one is also very exceptional, I must say. The combination of essential oils in the recipe gives this all natural handmade soap a spicy, yet refreshing herbal scent. It’s gotten some rave reviews from people I’ve shared it with so far!
I’m not going to go into soap making detail in this article, so if you are new to making your own soap or are unfamiliar with the hot process method, please check out these complete tutorials and my eBook on making hot process soap with recipe variations.
Hot Process Soap: How to Create Your Own Handmade Soaps (98 page eBook)
(and there are LOTS more over on the blog, too)!
The neat thing about making hot process soap is you are speeding up the saponification process. This simply means the lye solution interacts with oils much more quickly during the cook time in the crock pot. Once the lye is cooked out, and the oils are completely saponified, all you’re left with is exceptionally moisturizing soap. And guess what? It still retains the natural glycerin, which is great for your skin!
Best of all….you can use it right away! Cool, right?
So…Does Hot Process Soap Need to Cure?
The answer is yes. And no. Not really, actually. With the hot process soap making method, curing soap essentially allows any moisture (water) to evaporate, leaving a harder bar of soap. Now, cold process soap is a different matter altogether. You can find out more about the differences and similarities of both hot process and cold process soaps in this comparison article.
However, hot process soap may retain a small amount of moisture immediately after cooking. I have found the amount of moisture in your soap really depends on the recipe you use. Some recipes, I’ll be honest, contain too much water for a harder bar of hot process soap. And some folks believe you should add water to a cold process recipe to make it ready for hot process (I disagree, depending on the recipe).
Here’s the final answer to the cure question: If your soap feels rubbery or too moist, let it cure for a few days to a week. This isn’t necessary, but it will extend the life of your soap. If your soap feels hard enough, go ahead and use it. I use mine sometimes within hours of it cooling down completely. I always use mine the very next day and have never once had a problem.
With all that said, if you leave your hot process soap alone to cure for a few extra days, it will just help it really harden all the way. But it is solid enough to use right away, too.
The only time I’ve actually had to “cure” my hot process soap is when I’ve used a recipe that I’m unfamiliar with and there has been too much moisture left in the cooked soap. The best thing to do is run any soap recipe through a soap calculator, like this one.
Alrighty then! On to the recipe!
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Holiday Spice Hot Process Soap Recipe
**I didn’t color this soap with any kind of herb except for some ground cinnamon. You could add herbal colorants like Moroccan Red Clay for a reddish hue, Nettle powder for a green color, etc. See this article about how to color your soaps naturally using clays, herbs, and other natural additives.
It’s really the essential oil blend I used that creates such a vibrant, refreshing and spicy holiday scent! Everyone who has picked up this soap has literally ooh-ed and aah-ed over the smell. Mmmmm….. It’s not your typical spicy scent because the rosemary adds a “green” note. Now here is the recipe:
Ingredients for Holiday Spice Handmade Soap:
The Oil Mixture:
*** 15 ounces olive oil
*** 15 ounces coconut oil
*** 12 ounces almond oil
*** 6 ounces shea butter
*** 1.5 ounces castor oil
The Lye Solution:
*** 15 ounces distilled water
*** 7.2 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
The Essential Oil Blend:
*** 1 ounce Orange essential oil
*** 1 ounce Clove essential oil
*** 1 ounce Rosemary essential oil
What I Used for Color/Texture:
*** 1 tbsp ground Cinnamon or Clove
NOTE: Some people are sensitive to cinnamon and clove essential oils on skin. Because it’s so diluted in the soap, it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you are sensitive to clove or cinnamon, perhaps use a lot less or not at all.
ANOTHER NOTE: The links above are to Amazon, and although the essential oils are not the highest quality, they are just perfect for your soap making and are not as expensive as other essential oil brands. I like the NOW brand for soap making only, which I can get on Amazon.
The best place I like to buy my essential oils and carrier oils/butters is from Starwest Botanicals. This company is actually my favorite company to purchase quality body products from for my DIY obsession.
Also, I’ve found that coconut oil and olive oil are best purchased in bulk from Costco or other bulk warehouse if you have one nearby. For both price and quality, I’ve had best luck there. Bulk Apothecary is another company that has good butters and oils, although I’m not a fan of their essential oils.
Tools You’ll Need for Making Hot Process Soap:
NOTE: This is a three pound soap recipe, so keep that in mind for your mold. That’s quite a lot of soap. If you want to cut it in half, just adjust the measurements. BUT I always say if you make any kind of changes to a soap recipe, you should run it through a soap calculator, just to be sure your lye solution is correct.
*** A large crock pot—-6 quarts or larger is best. I like this simple manual one, and it’s not that expensive. You do not need a fancy crock pot for making your soap.
*** A hand blender is an absolute necessity.
*** A kitchen scale is vital for measuring the ingredients by weight (never by volume for making soap).
*** Wooden spoons for stirring your soap as it cooks.
*** Soap mold. The mold in that link is a little small for this recipe, but I like to have a bread top. This is because I cut the top off after about an hour or two of cool-down time. This does two things: It leaves a lovely smooth top for your bars, and you can use the top to form into soap balls, which are fun, unique gifts. If you don’t want a top, just buy a slightly larger mold or decrease the amount of soap.
*** Safety gear—-gloves and goggles or eye covering.
*** Heat resistant measuring pitcher for the lye solution. I like Pyrex, personally.
Instructions for Making the Soap:
Again, you can find very detailed instructions for making hot process soap in the links to the articles and eBook above. Please be sure to be very familiar with the process before you start! Here are the bare basics for you:
Step 1) Set your crockpot on low. Measure your Oil Mixture into the crock pot (NOT the essential oils).
Step 2) While your oils are melting together, measure out your lye solution. Be sure to pour the lye into the water and NEVER the water into the lye. Be sure you are wearing your safety gear!
Step 3) Pour the lye solution into the melted oils in the crockpot. Use your hand blender to mix to “trace,” like a thick pudding consistency.
Step 4) Put the lid on your crock pot and cook on low. The cook time should take about 45 minutes to an hour. You’ll have to stir it down occasionally and watch it carefully because if you are using a small-ish crock pot, you may have a boil over, and you do not want that! My motto is stir like a mad-woman if it starts climbing up the sides!
Step 5) Are you wearing your safety gear?
Step 6) Test for done-ness. You can use the ZAP test (see articles or eBook above) or just use good judgment, or use an actual pH test. Honestly, the pH testing never really worked for me. Just saying.
You can find out more information about knowing for sure if your soap is done in the articles mentioned above. When your soap is done, this is the point where you turn off the heat and add your essential oils and the ground cinnamon. Stir them in really well.
Step 7) When you’re sure it’s ready, put it into your soap mold. Press down WELL to be sure there are no air pockets. You don’t want Swiss cheese soap!
Step 8) Allow your soap to cool completely.
Step 9) You can cut your bars right away and allow them to sit out, or cut them as you need them. That’s actually what I do. I have found that by cutting as needed, the scent is retained a LOT better.
Final Thoughts on Holiday Spice Natural Soap
I love this soap, and so has everyone who has smelled it, men and women alike! If I had to change it up, I think I would have added an herbal color, though. Like a scant tablespoon of Nettle Powder, which would make a nice lightish green.
I’d love your feedback on this recipe if you make it! And as always, if you have comments or questions, please leave them in the comments section! I’ll reply! :-)
You may also enjoy these related soap-making articles:
Goat Milk & Honey Hot Process Soap (yes, you can make goat milk soap using the hot process method! :-)
And there are many, many more on the blog! Just search “soap” and all kinds of things will come up! :-)
Hugs, Health, & Self-Reliance,
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