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Gentle soap recipe

I would like to share a very simple soap recipe for sensitive skin. I have formulated it for my son and poured it into cute silicone moulds so he is more motivated to wash his hands. It doesn’t contain essential oils, but cocoa powder brings a slight chocolate aroma.

This recipe is made of just 3 oils - olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter and has 7% of superfat (not saponified oils). This trio creates a very moisturising, gentle, creamy, but still hard bar of soap. Instead of just normal water I brew some chamomile tea (very important to wait till it completely cools down before mixing it with caustic soda) and used olive oil infused with chamomile flowers to add soothing properties to the soap.

What tools do you need to get started?
  • Rubber gloves

  • Precision scales (0.1 g)

  • Pyrex jar or beaker

  • Stainless steel whisk

  • Regular cooking pot (only for melting fats)

  • Large plastic bowl

  • Cooking thermometer

  • Other 2-3 small containers

  • Plastic immersion blender (aluminium can lose its shininess in the process)

  • Mould for the soap (any reused plastic tub or silicone form will do)

This recipe is for around 5 soap bars (90-100 g each).

Ingredients
  • Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda, NaOH) 55 g

  • Chamomile tea 128 g

  • Olive oil infused with chamomile flowers192 g

  • Coconut oil 120 g

  • Shea butter 88 g

  • Cocoa powder 4g

Procedure
  1. Weigh separately the sodium hydroxide (in a small dry container) and cold chamomile tea (in a pyrex beaker)

  2. Slowly pour the sodium hydroxide into the water in a well ventilated place and mix with the whisk until the sodium hydroxide is completely dissolved (this solution is called lye). Be careful, as this will become quite hot while dissolving! Set aside to cool down.

  3. Weigh the solid fats (coconut oil and shea butter) and slowly melt them in the cooking pot over low heat.

  4. Filter Olive oil and weigh the olive oil in bowl.

  5. Weigh cocoa powder in a small container.

  6. Pour the melted fats into the olive oil, mix well and check the temperature.

  7. When the temperatures of the oil mixture and of the lye both reach 35-50°C (ideally 40°C) pour the sodium hydroxide solution into the oils and start blending with short bursts.

  8. When the mixture reaches a homogeneous and slightly creamy texture (trace), it means that the saponification reaction has started. 

  9. Separate the mixture into two parts and add the cocoa powder in one part and mix it well.

  10. Pour the first part (with cocoa) into the not coloured part slowly with circular movements. Make sure not to mix it too much, so the colours do not blend completely together.

  11. Pour the mixture into your chosen moulds.

  12. Cover the mould and leave to rest for 24-48 hours.

  13. When the soap feels solid enough, unmould it and cut it into pieces as you like.

  14. Place the soaps in a dark, well ventilated area to cure for at least 4 weeks.

Please be extra careful when handling sodium hydroxide (caustic soda, NaOH), as it is a very alkaline (basic) ingredient and can cause burns on your skin. Wear gloves during all the making process.

There is no sodium hydroxide left in the final product, when the saponification process is finished.

I really hope you are going to enjoy this recipe! If you are interested in learning more about soap making you are always welcome to sign up for one of my workshops.

You can sign your interest here to get notified when the workshops are going to be available again!

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