There’s lots of good reasons why you might want to master liquid soap making, the most important reason being that you can tailor make the soap for your own skin type and fragrance of your choice. Also liquid soap making can be a great way of making inexpensive, personalised gifts if you have a limited budget.
Liquid soap making is done by using glycerin which can be bought from in bulk from most pharmacies or health food stores. Glycerin is a thick almost gelatinous liquid that is produced from animal fats. It is often added to beauty products and cosmetics because of its moisturising properties. The strange thing about glycerin, however, is that in its pure form it can actually remove moisture from sensitive skin and even cause blistering. Therefore it is always sensible to wear rubber gloves when working with glycerin.
You can make a simple liquid soap that uses bar-soap as a base but personally I prefer to start my liquid soap making from scratch, using the following basic recipe, which I personalise by using several different variations.
You will need:
6 ounces of water
3 ounces of potassium hydroxide
8 ounces of non hydrogenated soy bean oil
4 ounces of coconut oil
4 ounces of sunflower oil
half a cup of glycerin
Essential oil or blend of oils of your choice
First mix the water with the potassium hydroxide and leave on one side. Then combine the oils together (not the essential oil) and heat slowly, stirring well.
After the oils are well mixed bring the mixture to about 150 degrees F and stir in the water/potassium hydroxide mixture. Mix vigorously to prevent the different elements from separating. Once the oils have stopped rising to the surface, allow the mixture to cool. You then let this mixture set for a week or so, stirring occasionally to prevent the oils from separating.
Finally, add half a cup of glycerin and the amount of essential oil that gives the strength of smell that you are aiming for, and then give the mixture a final stir. You can then add water until the mixture is the consistency you require – for a liquid soap add more water and for a body wash add less. Pour into pump bottles, ready for use.
Variations – For a herbal soap replace the 6 ounces of water with a blend of strong herbal tea. Chamomile and mint work well as does green tea. Also if you want more of a body scrub effect then try adding a bit of oatmeal into the mix which will act as a gentle exfoliator. You could also add food colourings and even body glitter for different results. For more variations substitute the coconut and sunflower oil with other carriers such as almond oil or avocado and try adding different and interesting blends of oils.
Have fun with your liquid soap making and remember the only limit is your imagination!