Homemade Soap Gift

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It is becoming a tradition at home: make soap and other natural cosmetics as gifts for Christmas. So, as many soap makers do, I think, formulate and design a special soap for holidays. This post shows the recipe of this homemade soap to give as a gift. Hope you like it!

The Pretty Soap

As my skills with swirling are still “under construction”, I aimed at a layered soap with a simple top design. Maybe next year I will make a bright green and red soap, but as I have a lot of blue and violet colorant, this year I made my special soap around these colors: blue, violet and cream. I also planned to add some golden mica color

The soap base is the same as my Lavender Soap Recipe, but adjusted to work the layers: it needs to have more liquid oil for me to have time to work the soap with 3 colors. Too many solid oils and the soap batter will harden too quickly. Other variables that accelerate trace are certain essential oils (especially if they have other addictives, like certain alcohols), higher temperatures, higher concentration of lye (lower water content), or sugary ingredients (milk, honey, beer,…).

As for scent, I have just used a lavender blend, so I could make all my natural cosmetics lavender-based. Anyway, lavender never gets old 🙂

Here is the resulting soap:

Ingredients

So, as oils, I used coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil and RSPO palm oil. Pretty simple. I’ve just used some rosemary infused-olive oil I still had as a more special ingredient. 

As for the colorants, I’ve used the blue and violet micas I have been using in other soaps/recipes, no full natural dye ingredients this time. You can use woad root to get a blue color, but it’s complicated and expensive to purchase it where I live, so I’ve skipped it.

The blend I’ve used for scent is made with lavender, neroli, ylang-ylang and benzoin. I’ve finally found a base note that I truly like with lavender: benzoin. 

Recipe Difficulty

With three color layers and a design on top of the soap, this turns into an advanced soap recipe, so only try this one if you have a good experience with other soap recipes.

I hope you like this recipe, and enjoy your soaps at home!!


Watch this video for Soap Making Safety instruction

Video in portuguese
Video in english

Watch this video for the Cold Process Soap Making tutorial

Video in portuguese
Video in english

Homemade Soap Gift

Sofia Matias
This soap recipe was created as a holiday soap gift for family and friends. Instead of using green and red, the holiday color, I thought of making a more wintery/twilight soap, with blue and violet colors. It's the first layered soap recipe I am presenting in this blog.
Difficulty: Medium
Weight: 1 kg (35,20 oz)
Superfat: 6%
Lye Concentration: 30%
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Curing Time 30 d
Total Time 30 d 1 hr 20 mins
Servings 12 soap bars (90g)
Cost $39 / 32,50€
Cosmetic Soap Bar
Method Cold Process

Equipment

  • Immersion blender
  • Pyrex or stainless steel bowl
  • Heat-resistant jug or pitcher for lye solution
  • 3 Pitchers
  • Digital scale
  • Digital thermometer
  • Measuring spoons
  • Rubber spatula(s)
  • Small strainer
  • Cup / bottle for after trace ingredients
  • Large soap mold
  • Safety goggles, gloves and mask

Ingredients
  

Lye Water

  • 320 g distilled water
  • 137 g lye (100% sodium hydroxide)

Oils

  • 300 g extra virgin olive oil (10,58 oz)
  • 200 g refined or organic coconut oil (7,05 oz)
  • 300 g sunflower oil (10,58 oz)
  • 200 g RSPO palm oil (7,05 oz)

After Trace Ingredients

  • 10 drops grapefruit seed extract (GSE) or rosemary extract (RSO) (anti-oxidant)
  • 1 tsp ultramarine violet – CI 77007 (4 ml of violet mica)
  • 1 tsp ultramarine blue – CI 77007 (optional) (4 ml of blue mica)
  • 27,5 ml essential oil blend

Essential oil blend

  • 12 ml essential oil lavender (3 tsp)
  • 9 ml essential oil/fragrance neroli (2 tsp + 1 1/4 tsp)
  • 4 ml essential oil ylang-ylang (1 tsp)
  • 2,5 ml essential oil benzoin (1/2 tsp)

Decoration

  • golden mica and poppy seeds to sprinkle
  • alcohol to sprinkle

Instructions
 

Get Ready!

  • Wear goggles and gloves! Look at “Safety Recommendations” in the video above or in How to Make Soap From Scratch
  • Watch the video above about "Cold Process Soap Making tutorial" or read the post  How To Make Soap by Cold Process Step-by-Step for instructions on cold process soap making before starting. These are generic but important steps for all recipes.
  • Assemble everything: ingredients, equipment, safety equipment. Prepare your workstations. Measure all the ingredients. Don’t start the recipe without having everything ready!
  • Remove a tablespoon of the measured liquid oils into a small cup. Strain the blue mica into the cup and mix well with the oil.
  • Repeat the previous step to the violet mica

Heat the Oils

  • Heat the oils until the solid oils are completely melted (it is not necessary to heat all the time).

Make the Lye Water

  • Make the lye water according to How to Make Lye Water. Stir the mixture until the vapors start to dissipate.

Make the Soap Batter

  • Use as a target temperature 40ºC for the oil-solution mixture. If necessary, you can reheat the oils, but not the lye solution.
  • Pour the lye water carefully into the oils. It's better to strain the lye water to catch any undissolved lye crystals. Mix for a while.
  • Reach a light trace with the immersion blender. If needed you can use the blender later.
  • Add the after trace ingredients: essential oil blend and anti-oxidant extract. Mix well with a spoon or spatula.
  • Beware that the soap batter might start hardening fast after adding the essential oils. Be efficient from now onwards.
  • Divide the soap batter evenly into the 3 pitchers, more or less (no need to be precise).
  • Add the blue colorant into one of the pitchers and mix well with a spoon. You can use the immersion blender in case the soap is still too liquid.
  • Add the violet colorant into another pitcher and mix well with a spoon. You can use the immersion blender in case the soap is still too liquid.
  • Check the third pitcher (should have soap batter with its creamy natural color) and mix a bit to prevent hardening

Making the Layers / Molding

  • Use a soap loaf mold for this soap. Start by pouring the blue soap into the soap mold. Pour until the mold surface is completely covered.
  • Then pour the violet soap into the soap mold carefully and try to cover the blue layer (but it's not required).
  • Pour the creamy soap on top of the violet layer. Grab the blue soap pitcher and repeat the last 3 steps until your pour all soap batter.
  • If you wish to make some top effects, let the soap batter sit for a bit until it reaches a paste consistency (you might not need to wait for this). Use a spoon or fork to make the top effects. This video gives some ideas.
  • At last, sprinkle the top of the soap with golden mica and/or some poppy seeds, and finish it by sprinkling alcohol
  • Make sure you properly isolate your soap loaf mold (easiest way is to heat for a bit your oven, turn it off and then place the soap mold inside the oven)

Cutting and Cutting

  • After 48 hours, unmold and cut your soap into small bars
  • Unmold the soap and cut it into bars. See How To Cure Soap, in the chapter "Unmoulding And Cutting Soap". Let the bars cure for 4 to 6 weeks. See How To Cure Soap.
  • Let the bars cure for 4 to 6 weeks. See How To Store Soap.
Keyword holiday soap gift

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6 Comments

  1. Great article Sofia,

    Wow, those homemade blue and violet holiday soaps look very fun, I really have to try that cold process! I was thinking of using woad root but it seemed more expensive, glad to know I wasn’t the only one thinking of using the mica as a colorant alternative. Out of curiosity, will the soaps be hard blocks, or will it be a bit moist? It would be great if the soap creates more bubbles when reacting with water while showering 🙂

    1. Hello Riaz and thanks for your comment.

      Are you a soap maker yourself? I am asking due to your question about woad root 🙂 in Portugal it is indeed expensive to purchase that root, and, unless I am able to plant it and use my own (seems like a lot of work to be honest, just for some blue color) I will use the blue mica instead. Yes, some micas are considered “natural” ingredients, although they are processed in lab: they use the original mineral, like iron oxide, and treat it to be safe for skin. I don’t find it irritating, so I really don’t mind using it.  

      About your second question, this recipe makes hard bars but with a “soft” feeling, as in not being completely “dry” (due to the floating oils). Regarding bubbles, it does make a lot of foam, if that’s what you meant 🙂

      Feel free to pose more questions! I’ll be happy to answer.

      Cheers,

      Sofia 

      1. 5 stars
        I’m not a soap maker unfortunately but my sister is, she sells custom-made soap in bulk and sells them to spas and resorts so I tend to help her out from time to time since production is only at home in the garage. Never knew it’s a big industry to hop into but it’s actually fun. Wishing all the best for your business growth, I know you’ll grow big in no time 😀

        1. hehe, I am more like you than your sister. I don’t seel soaps in Portugal, as the legislation to do it is too heavy, for instance I cannot do it from my kitchen. I am an amateur soap maker (cosmetic formulator…?) and I am like any regular person. I just loved the subject and because of that, have been reading and experimenting a lot. I also stopped shopping for hygiene products and now I do them on my own. And I mean most of them: soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, facial lotion, lip balm, wrinkle serum,… you name it.

          The objective of my blog is precisely that: to tell everyone that anyone can make soap or other natural cosmetics at home, just like you can bake a cake at home or purchase them at a bakery store. Which means that, even if you don’t know a lot yourself, give it a try! Who really knows about the chemistry behind baking a cake? But you can follow a recipe and bake a homemade cake. The only difference for soap is that you need to be careful with lye, and you need to respect the measurements by the gram.

          Thanks a lot for your comments and interest in the subject!

          Cheers,
          Sofia

  2. Thank you for your post. I don’t know that you can make your own soap. It is kind of you providing all needed to make soap at home. In the corona area, hygience is one of the best way to prevent us from coronavirus infection. I use soap ten or twenty times a day. It is important to know what exactly are in the soap. Now we have all to make my own soap. I difinitely give this a try. 

    1. Hello Anthony and thanks for your comment.

      I love soapmaking and I have created this blog to “spread the word”. Just like you say, we should all know that we can make soap at home, which is actually better than the soap and gels we purchase at supermarkets (if properly made of course).

      Natural soap not only allows you to clean/disinfect your hands (as long as you wash then for a while and with hot water),as they are a bit milder than alcoholic gels or even commercial hand soaps. Of course, there are no miracles, washing your hands 10-20 times a day you do need a moisturizing cream or salve to condition your hands. Which you can make at home as well: How To Make Healing Salve, check out this recipe made with infused oils and beeswax.

      Hope your soap experience goes well, let me know how it went 🙂

      Cheers,

      Sofia

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