Again, my passion is natural! I love making Castile Soap because there are a variety of ways I can use the finished products!!!
Understanding What Castile Soap Is
I admit, the recipe I use is a modified version of what true Castile Soap is because I do use a couple of oils, whereas true Castile Soap uses only Olive Oil. Still, as people have become more involved with the development of personal use Castile Soap, and also with companies such as Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, the search for the perfect option has allowed the definition to grow and expand a lot, allowing for the addition of newer oils for better lathering or greater cleansing abilities. I want to admit, however, that while I was once a big fan of Dr. Bronner's my move to more natural alternatives led me away from his products, because, on a personal level, I could not utilize Palm Oil with good conscious.
So, before I delve into the wonderful recipe we use in our home, I want to explore the variety of options and why the move to the addition of newer oils proves beneficial.
The first exploration is going to require an evaluation of the importance of utilizing olive oil. This oil offers excellent conditioning to the skin without being harsh or stripping the skin of its natural oils. Unfortunately, when Castile Soap is prepared with only Olive Oil, one cannot accomplish the lather we often associate with cleansing.
This is one of the reasons the addition of something such as coconut oil is an amazing option! Some might ask why not create the Castile Soap with only coconut oil the? Unfortunately, completely removing olive oil and utilizing coconut oil can create a base which can dry out the skin.
It's all about balance and discovering the best combination of oils to create a perfect option for your skin! The search for important oils to use led me to the inclusion of Vitamin E Oil (another ingredient you find in Dr. Bronner's Castil Soap). So few people give credit to this amazing oil that helps in the prevention of wrinkles, boost the moisturizing strength of the soap, help in the reduction of brown spots and hyperpigmentation, and so much more!!! This was a must have oil in our mixture!!!
There are so many other options which you can break down to include in the mixture to locate what works perfectly for your home, but these three are a must in our approach!
Creating a Paste
I Will Be Making My Own Video, But this Works for Now
Isn't Lye Dangerous?
When people discover we make our own Liquid Castile Soap, the first question we face is: Isn't lye dangerous? This is a two-fold answer. In truth, yes, when working with lye, you are working with something that can be dangerous, but with the proper equipment and approaches, the dangers are minimal and you can avoid any serious injuries. The initial phases, when using potassium hydroxide (KoH), are dangerous because you need protective gear because you are creating a caustic chemical before you diluting it down.
Immediately, people then ask how can something so dangerous to use can be safe for the skin, or considered safe in a natural lifestyle. Here, it's time to explore how the process removes the dangers and creates a safe, natural soap. Once you prepare the lye, the next part of the long process is the work to "superfatting," which is why you add additional oils to react with the lye utilized. The oils you move into your lye will negate the dangers of the lye, converting it into a safe, cleansing soap which will condition and soften the skin.
I do feel here is an excellent point to identify that while many "store purchased" Castile Soaps are more transparent, this recipe will be a little cloudier. The reason for these differences is because we have chosen to use the "superfatting" process to reduce the alkaline nature of the KoH, making it safer for the skin. The products in the store will utilize other options, such as citric acid, to reduce the pH of the lye and this allows for a more transparent final product.
In the end, as your lye is cooked in with the oils, the pH levels are quickly reduced, and as a result, your final product will be safe for your skin, provide great lathering properties, and also a safe, natural product.
It's also important to note that potassium hydroxide (KoH) is found in many chemical cleaning products, which is why this natural approach will allow you to create a final product with a variety of natural alternatives in your home!
Utilize your New Soap with so Many Options!
Just Create Your Base
- 24 ounces olive oil
- 16 ounces coconut oil
- 9.35 ounces potassium hydroxide, flakes
- 25 drops vitamin e oil
- 4 cups distilled water, for lye solution
- 10-12 cups distilled water, plus any extra needed to dilute the final product
- Add the olive oil, coconut oil, and vitamin e oil to a 6-quart crock pot.
- Cut the crock pot on high.
- While the oil melts, put on safety gloves and goggles to begin working with the potassium hydroxide, measuring out the weight and adding to a stainless steel or pyrex bowl.
- Move outside for proper ventilation, and carefully measure the water into a separate stainless steel or pyrex bowl.
- Slowly, begin adding the lye flakes into the water, stirring to dissolve. (Note the mixture does let off fumes and becomes very hot, it's the reason you need the protective gear and also the reason to move this step outside, where there is proper ventilation).
- Once the flakes have dissolved, you can carefully move the lye mixture close to the crock pot and wait for the oils to finish melting if they have not already.
- Once the oils are melted and warm, carefully add in the lye solution with the oils and leave the crock pot on high.
- Use an immersion blender to begin combining the lye solution and oils, and continue mixing for approximately 5 minutes, or until the mixture has begun to look opaque and thicken.
- For the next thirty minutes, you are going to return to the mixture every five minutes and continue to blend the paste together.
- During this process, you will notice the paste thickening, and this is what is meant to occur. You are wanting progress from an icing texture to a thick Elmer's glue texture. It is the reason you are returning so often during this step. You need the texture to be perfect.
- Once it becomes difficult to blend the soap mixture with your immersion blender, you will place the lid on the crock pot and leave it cooking on high for three hours.
- Every thirty minutes during the three hours, you need to return to the mixture with a heat resistant spatula so you can stir/fold the mixture to ensure the product is cooking evenly throughout.
- During this time, you will notice the paste becoming increasingly translucent and moving from the white, puffy texture to something that is more yellowy-translucent and similar to a thick gel.
- After three hours (or possibly longer) the paste will begin to look fully gelled and translucent, and it will be time to prepare a clarity test.
- Use a spoon to remove around a golf ball size portion of the gell and place it in 1/2 cup of boiling water and stir gently until the gel is fully dissolved.
- Allow the diluted soap to cool. If the soap is opaque, or if scum rises to the surface, add back into the crockpot and cook for another hour before performing another test.
- If the diluted soap is translucent and there is no scum, then it is time to proceed to the final steps of dilution.
- Add 10 cups of water to the paste in the crockpot.
- Break the soap paste up into the water as best as you can. You are not wanting it to dissolve fully, you just want to make sure the water and gel are combined well.
- Place the lid back on the crockpot and turn down to warm.
- It will remain on keep warm for 8 hours, or overnight. If you walk by, feel free to stir, but don't make a special effort to stir.
- After 8 hours, or overnight, if you notice there are still chunks of the gel present, then you will need to add one to two more cups of distilled water and allow it to finish dissolving.
- Once all the chunks are dissolved, with no presence of the paste, ladle the soap into a clean and dry 1-gallon jug (glass or plastic).
- Now, you have your own Liquid Castile Soap to begin using in a variety of products you can make for your home!!!