- 400g Shea Butter
- 600g Coconut Oil
- 200g Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
- 450g Water
- Optional: Essential oils or fragrance oils for scent
- Large stainless steel or heat-resistant plastic pot
- Heat source (stove or hot plate)
- Digital kitchen scale
- Stick blender
- Rubber spatula
- Soap molds
- Safety gear (gloves, goggles, and long-sleeved shirt)
Tips for success:
- Use a digital kitchen scale to measure your ingredients accurately. Soapmaking is a chemistry experiment, and accurate measurements are crucial for a safe and successful outcome.
- Always wear safety gear, including gloves, goggles, and a long-sleeved shirt. Sodium hydroxide can be dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes.
- Be patient and don’t rush the cooking process. Hot process soap takes time to cook and cure, but the end result is worth it.
- Stir the soap mixture regularly during the cooking process
Before you start, make sure you have all your ingredients and equipment ready, and wear your safety gear. It’s also a good idea to line your soap molds with parchment paper or silicone liners to make it easier to remove the soap later.
Step 1: Measure the ingredients Use a digital kitchen scale to measure out the shea butter and coconut oil into your pot. Heat the pot over low heat to melt the oils, stirring occasionally.
In a separate container, measure out the water. Then, carefully add the sodium hydroxide to the water (not the other way around, as it can cause a dangerous reaction). Stir until the sodium hydroxide is completely dissolved.
Step 2: Combine the ingredients When the oils have melted, add the sodium hydroxide solution to the pot. Use a stick blender to mix the oils and sodium hydroxide together until you reach a light trace. This means the mixture has thickened slightly, and you can see a trail or “trace” when you drizzle the mixture across the surface.
Step 3: Cook the soap Cover the pot with a lid and let the mixture cook on low heat for about 1-2 hours. Check on the mixture every 15-20 minutes and stir with a rubber spatula to prevent it from scorching on the bottom. The mixture will gradually become darker and more opaque as it cooks.
When the mixture looks like thick, mashed potatoes, it’s ready. You can also do a “zap test” by touching a small amount of the mixture to your tongue. If it doesn’t zap or tingle, the soap is safe to handle.
Step 4: Add scent (optional) If you want to add essential oils or fragrance oils for scent, you can do so at this point. Stir the oils into the soap mixture with a spatula.
Step 5: Mold the soap Scoop the soap mixture into your prepared molds, using a spatula to smooth the surface. You can also use a spoon or piping bag to create decorative swirls or patterns. Let the soap cool and harden in the molds for at least 24 hours.
Step 6: Cut and cure the soap After 24 hours, you can remove the soap from the molds and cut it into bars. Place the bars on a drying rack or tray and let them cure for 4-6 weeks. During this time, the soap will continue to harden and any excess water will evaporate, resulting in a harder, longer-lasting bar.