I have started making soaps, and I feel not a moment too soon. This will only be a hobby of the more casual kind. I am just so fed up with all the chemicals I put in my hair and on my skin. I want to know what is in there.
Working with lye was a bit scary at first, but that fear soon disappeared. You just need to be cautious in dealing with it.
Do you wonder why you need lye to produce soap? I did too. I had forgotten everything I learned in school.
The answer is: No lye=No soap. The lye reacts with the oils, and make soap. The process is called saponification. No lye is left after the process is complete.
Two major production methods exists, hot process and cold process. When you use hot process you force the saponification to go through all the stages in a an hour or so. After curing for 24 hours you have a bar of soap you can use right away. Most will tell you to let it rest for 1 to 2 weeks, to harden. It will last longer if you do.
The other production method is cold process. With this method you need to let the soap cure for 4 to 6 weeks before you use it. The saponification process is done after a day or two, but it needs to cure for so long to make it last longer.
I have made a few batches – and loving it. I also made a batch of Castile Soap, the soap that is produced with 100% Olive Oil. This one is special, as it needs to cure for 4 to 6 months! Just in time for Christmas.