There are plenty of reasons to make your own soap. It's less wasteful when it comes to the plastic and paper-packaged stuff you buy at the store. And as oppose to commercially produced soap, you can make it with natural ingredients and fragrances that are better for your skin and better for the planet. Plus, you'll save money in the long term and a batch will last you for months.
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The recipe below uses coconut oil and olive oil as a base. We've used coffee grounds and oat bran in this batch, which act as a natural scrub and also impart a lovely fragrance.
You can also make your own nourishing lip balm with three natural ingredients:
A note about soap chemistry
The key ingredient in soap making is lye, which is sodium hydroxide (a salt). No commercial or homemade soap can be made without it. While caustic to skin and clothing, don't be alarmed by its inclusion—it is necessary to any soap making, and soap is essentially a chemical reaction between the lye and the oils used. When combined, the reaction is called 'saponification'. Once the soap is made and cured, they is no lye left in the finished bar, only the natural ingredients you used to make the soap.
While the setup and all the equipment below may seem a little complicated, don't be afraid to push on! With some common kitchen equipment and a few ingredients, it takes less than an hour to make enough soap to last you a few months. Plus, you'll have the added satisfaction of having crafted something yourself.
You could omit the coffee in this recipe and use finely ground walnut shells instead, or simply use oat bran instead of coffee. You can also experiment with a few drops of essential oils, such as vanilla, almond, lavender, or peppermint. You can buy soap molds at a craft store or online (you can get both plain and patterned molds.)