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I like to start off by making sure my essential oils are weighed out and combined in a glass container. As it can take some time to get these measurements right, it’s easier to do it now so you just have to tip it in later when it counts.Then, weigh out your sodium hydroxide/lye crystals and your water in separate containers. I like to use a glass jug for the water. When ready, pour the crystals into the water and stir with a stainless steel spoon.This will begin the chemical reaction, and the lye water rapidly increases in temperature. Avoid inhaling any fumes that release. Turn your head and lean away from the lye solution.Now, place the jug aside to cool, preferably somewhere with good ventilation and move on.
Weigh out the coconut oil and the shea butter. Then, melt together. You can use a water bath, although a series of 30-second bursts in the microwave works well for me. Then weigh the olive, avocado and castor oils and add them to the melted coconut oil and shea butter.
Now that we’re almost ready to mix, check the temperature of the oils and the lye water and compare them. We want them between 90F and 120F.Once you’re satisfied that both fall within this range, pour your lye water into the oils and blend with a stick blender until you reach trace.Not quite sure what trace is? Take a look at our basic cold process soap recipe for a more in-depth description of trace.
Now that we’re at trace, go ahead and add the activated charcoal and essential oils (in that order), mixing thoroughly after.
Now we’ve added our last ingredients, the batter will begin to harden. So, working quickly but carefully (as the batter is still caustic) pour or spoon your batter into your soap moulds.While it saponifies, it’s important to keep it warm. I like to use a heating pad on a medium to the low setting for a few hours, but if you don’t have one just keep it well insulated with a piece of cardboard on top and an old towel that you’re not using anymore..
Allow this to saponify for 24-48 hours before removing from the mold. If your soap is still spongy after the first 48 hours, leave it for another 24 hours before attempting to remove it. Or, when you come to make it again, try adding the sodium lactate.Then, when we have it out of the mold, we’ll need to let it cure for about 4 weeks in a cool and dry environment. Check with PH indicator strips to ensure that your soap is safe to use, especially before gifting or selling.