For those of you who have been looking at the recipes and thinking you would like to try them out, I’d like to share some of the sites I found really helpful when I was just starting (not really so long ago). As you are probably aware, to make soap you need to work with lye (Caustic soda) which can be very dangerous, so it’s important that you do a bit of research, watch a few videos and make sure you have protective gear before you start.
First off – the site I used to start off with was Soap Queen. If you watch this video it will give you the basics on how to start.
Actually, the soap queen website has a great collection of information for newbies. I haven’t looked at it all yet, but I probably will at some point. Here is the link for the collection at soap queen. Soap queen beginner resources
Of course the only thing when I was starting was that I was dead set against using Palm oil. It took me awhile to realise that it isn’t such a big deal to not use it, you just have to have some idea about the properties of different oils in soap. One of the properties of palm oil is that it makes the bar of soap harder. So if you take Palm oil out, you need to make sure you are replacing it with another oil that makes a fairly hard bar. Here is a website that shows the properties of different oils in your soaps –Summer Bee Meadow. I guess there are so many different oils thought that site is pretty confusing unless you know what you are looking for.
I found some standard oils I liked and started using them as a beginning. I guess I’ll try out others as I go. In the end Tallow (which is basically beef fat) is pretty hard and can replace Palm oil. Coconut oil is pretty hard too – I found it was pretty safe to use 1/3 each of Olive, Coconut and Tallow and then I add Castor oil for the lathering quality. I really like macadamia and avocado oil as well for the moisturising and protective nature of them. However, make up your own mind and experiment, thats half the fun.
The resources I have given you talk about equipment, oils, scents etc. but I guess it’s important to remember that soaping doesn’t haven’t to be hugely expensive. I buy my milk in those 1 litre cardboard cartons now because I like to use those to make my soap bars. I did end up buying a couple of loaf times from Aussie soap supplies, which is where I have been buying my supplies from. They have a great selection of mounds and other soaping products.
Another thing you will need if you decide to give soaping a go is access to a lye calculator. This lets you know how much lye you need to add to a recipe to turn the oils into soap. Even if you write down a recipe from the net, it is best to recalculate the lye as it isn’t something you want to get wrong. The lye calculator I use is Majestic Mountain Sage Lye Calculator. It’s pretty easy to use. You just put in the amounts of the different types of oils you are using and hit calculate. It gives you the amount of lye and fluid you need for the oils to saponify.
If you have decided to join me in making your own soap – have fun!