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soap/lotion recipies!

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October 1st, 2010, 08:45 AM
greenchild's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: MN
Posts: 15,839
Starting with the basics

When heating your butters/oils, you should only use glass or stainless steel containers, NEVER plastic or aluminum.

DO use a double boiler to heat. Heating slowly & gently you have much less of a risk of destroying the beneficial properties of your ingredients. NEVER use a microwave on high.

Use a silicone spatula, not a rubber one, for making soap. The lye will ruin the rubber one after several uses.

Get a stick blender. They cost about $10 at Walmart and make the whole process so easy.

Get a good digital scale. They start at about $30. Make sure the scale does both grams and ounces, unless you want to do the conversions yourself!

If you are going to be making cold-process soap, please be cautious and use safety glasses. Make sure you are near a sink in case you need to rinse yourself off quickly. Sodium Hydroxide is a caustic, and if you get it on your skin it will cause a chemical burn. Please keep it away from children and pets.

If I think of anymore I will add to the list.

Afterbath Oils
making after-bath oils are the easiest. just gently heat your oils together using a double boiler and thoroughly mix them.

lotions are 70% water, the rest being 10% emulsifier, 3 - 5% essential oils, and the rest being your butters/oils. I think, but can't remember offhand, that preservatives should be 1 - 3%.

creams are the same, but reduce your water to 60% and up the butters/oils to make up the difference.

an easy recipe that makes between 8 oz and 12 oz, depending on how frothy it gets when you mix it:

6 TBSP distilled water (you could make an infusion of herbs - same as making tea - you can even use breastmilk, it makes a WONDERFUL lotion! )
1 TBSP vegetable emulsifier
1 TBSP cocoa butter
1 1/2 TBSP mango butter
1/2 TBSP shea butter

(just a note here, I prefer unrefined butters over refined butters, they smell soooo much better. But, some people don't like those scents and choose refined, which doesn't smell)

1 TBSP oils of your choice. I like a variety of oils, meadowfoam seed, safflower, cherry kernel, jojoba, rice bran, watermelon seed, rosehip seed, etc. Your choice, use one or a mix!
1/2 tsp glycerine
1/8 tsp borax (optional)
essential oils of your choice. Up to 3 - 5% of your total product can be essential oils so up to 1 1/2 tsp. It's easiest to measure these out before you start the whole process and set that container aside until the end.
1/2 Tbsp potassium sorbate (natural preservative)

Put the emulsifier, butters, & oils in one container and heat until melted, and set aside. Put the water in another container and heat. After removing from heat, add the glycerine, borax, and potassium sorbate and stir until dissolved. Using your stick blender, mix the oils and pour the water mixture into the oils mixture. It will usually turn white, unless you made a tea and used that for your water portion. Once it is thoroughly mixed, add the essential oils and stir thoroughly. Pour into your final container. It will thicken up as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life. This amount lasts me about a month, but that is just one person using it.

Most everything can be found at your local grocery store or a natural foods store. Except the emulsifier & natural preservative, you will probably have to order those online. Some people do not like using borax or clays bc there is a irritation danger if it is inhaled - but I can't find any info on the web about NOT using it in topical applications. Basically once its in the product it's fine - just don't go sniffing in the box. Using borax gives your lotion/cream a much smoother spreadability.

A note about preservatives - I've used tea tree, grapefruit seed extract, and rosemary olestrin with some successes, some fails. It depends on what you put in the lotion too. If you use breastmilk and do not use potassium sorbate, it will go moldy in 3 weeks. If you do not use breastmilk, the lotion should last about 5 - 6 weeks before going moldy, maybe less in hot weather. Potassium sorbate helps prevent mold and I've been using it with no mold issues - but then again, I only make small batches so I use them up faster.

I do want to try adding raw honey to this but I haven't done research yet into how much to use.

I like using a ratio of 25% beeswax to 75% butters/oils. If you are going to add extracts (alcohol based), you will want to use an emulsifier bc they will separate from the finished product once it starts to cool. Beeswax takes a high heat to melt. Same applies here, 10% emulsifier amount.

The salve I recently made is beeswax, unrefined shea butter, mango butter, & olive oil for the base (really the amounts of each are up to you, just keep the ratio intact). I used an emulsifier bc I added calendula & plantain extracts. I also added geranium, tea tree, lavender, rosemary, & immortelle essential oils. This one is not made for its scent! It doesn't smell horrible or anything but it is incredibly useful. Especially if you put it on a bug bite while the welt is still white, not yet red and it's gone within a few hours. I hate mosquitoes. FYI lavender is a great mosquito repellant. Right now the lotion I have made is lavender. But the effects don't last all day, maybe 1 - 2 hours at best.

Cold process soap
this makes about 8 - 9 approx. 5 oz bars of soap, depending on how you cut your soap into bars. You will need something sturdy to use as a soap mold. I used to use a cake pan, but then I finally built one out of wood. You will need to line the inside of your mold with freezer paper, shiny side up - it's just like wrapping a present, only inside out. Tape it down to stay in place.

4 5/8 oz sodium hydroxide (lye)
8 - 12 fluid oz of water - I like to use between 9 - 10 oz.

Open a window or turn on a fan. You will need plenty of fresh air bc this STINKS and the fumes can overwhelm you. Lye is a caustic and WILL burn you if you come into contact with it.
Pour the lye into the water (NEVER the other way around) and stir until dissolved. This process heats the water up to 200 degrees F. You need it to cool down to between 90 - 120 degrees F, so after it is all dissolved, set it aside.

This is where a scale comes in handy:
3 oz. castor oil
6 oz. coconut oil (I like the 76 degree type - it will say that on the label, means it will be a liquid at 76 degrees, and a solid at cooler temps)
1 oz. butter - I like shea and mango equally - depends on what you want to use - but most of the time I skip it and make this 1 oz just extra canola oil.
10 oz. palm kernel oil (you will probably have to get this online too)
12 oz. canola oil

Additions to measure ahead but use later:
you can add up to 1 TBSP of clay, ground oatmeal, herbs, or colorants - mineral colorants are in powder form - make sure not to inhale these either! Some herbs can also give nice earthy tones.
you can generally add 2 oz. of essential oils (this is where buying in bulk comes in nicely) but some essential oils are REALLY strong smelling so you don't need even 1/2 an ounce, maybe 1/4 oz or even less! examples are cloves, spearmint, lemongrass. Generally citrus scents will fade faster so you will want to use the full amount if you want a strong scent to your soap.

Gently heat the oils until they are melted. The lye solution is cooling down while you are heating the oils. Depending on your room temperature, by the time you are done heating the oils they and the lye solution should be between 90 - 120 degrees and ready to use. If not, you can heat the oils more, or set them aside to cool. If the lye solution gets too cool, you can set the container into a few inches of hot water to heat it back up. If I'm really in a hurry, I set the oils and lye containers on top of ice packs and stir until they reach the desired temp. Anyway, once they are both in the right range, while stirring the oils, add in the lye solution. The mixture will go from transparent to opaque. Make sure to get all the lye solution mixed in thoroughly. It will start to thicken very soon, when it gets to "trace" (this is where if you lift up the mixer and it drips the soap mix back down, you can see a trace of where it landed), it is time to add your extra ingredients like clays, herbs, essential oils, etc. Once it's all thoroughly mixed, pour it into your lined soap mold. You can use a spatula to smooth it out if the mixture got really thick before you poured it. Set it aside to cool, and you can remove the block of soap from the mold in 18 - 24 hours to slice up as you please. Set the bars aside on a paper towel (to absorb any excess oils), and you may want to turn them occasionally. This particular recipe is ready to use in 2 - 3 days.

Suppliers I like:

Wholesale Supplies Plus for essential oils/oils/butters:
Wholesale Soap Making Supplies and Candle Making Supplies - WholesaleSuppliesPlus
Texas Natural Supplies - they have tons of stuff!!!!! http://www.texasnaturalsupply.com/ but they cost more.

and for fun stuff - essential oil combinations: http://www.rainbowmeadow.com/infocenter/ca...blendselect.php

Have fun, and be creative!

Last edited by greenchild; October 3rd, 2010 at 08:53 AM.
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October 1st, 2010, 12:46 PM
Earthy.Mama's Avatar .*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.*.
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Thank you for retyping this all up again I can't wait to start doing this!!!!

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October 2nd, 2010, 08:20 PM
marmeeof5's Avatar Host of Green Mommies
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Thank you! Would you be willing to post this over on the Green Mommies board? We have been sharing recipes for homemade personal care products and I think others might like these!
~Mary~ "Marmee" to Tiffany(29, married to Bill. Mommy to Karabeth- born 8/07), Christina(26), Heather(24, married to Bryce. Mommy to BE, born 3/09, Conlan, born 9/10 and a girl due 7/13), Ashlee(21, married to Matt, Mommy to Gunner, born 8/12), & Rebecca Joy(15)

Last edited by marmeeof5; October 2nd, 2010 at 08:22 PM.
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October 2nd, 2010, 08:30 PM
Tiki's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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How would I go about making a just cocoa butter lotion?

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October 3rd, 2010, 08:52 AM
greenchild's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: MN
Posts: 15,839
Originally Posted by marmeeof5 View Post
Thank you! Would you be willing to post this over on the Green Mommies board? We have been sharing recipes for homemade personal care products and I think others might like these!
sure I also have recipes posted somewhere on JM for laundry soap and baby wipes.

Originally Posted by Tiki View Post
How would I go about making a just cocoa butter lotion?
For just a cocoa butter lotion, you would need distilled water, cocoa butter, emulsifier, and a preservative. I've never done it with just butters and not oils - using just butter would make it thicker so you might want to use at least 70% water. The only thing is that if you make it and decide you don't like the consistency (too thin or too thick), you can't change it after it has been made or it will separate. Just have to adjust proportions when making the next batch.
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