If you grew up in the ’90s in India, body wash wasn’t a staple in your bathroom. But your good old bar of soap was! For me, soap translates to a fresh, relaxing indulgent bathing experience. Liril, Chandrika and Lux were brands that we ALL used at some point in our lives. My family grew up using the fresh, citrusy aroma of a Liril soap and an indulgent soap called Harmony every now and then. It came in multiple fruity fragrances that were just a treat to your senses. Over the years, that humble bar of soap that used to cost us a mere Rs. 10 now costs anywhere between Rs. 30- Rs. 600. Depending on the type of soap you buy and the brand, you’re going to have to shell out big bucks for something that’s over in a week or two. What I'm about to share with you today is one of my personal favourite DIYs.
A lot of commercial soaps are very harsh on your skin. They are alkaline and have ingredients like surfactants, SLS and harsh additives that can strip your skin of its natural pH balance. Making your own homemade soap is a great way to control what goes on your body and let’s admit it - it is a LOT of fun. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you’re going to be jumping up and down with joy because this DIY soap recipe is a cakewalk. It’s as easy as melt, mix and pour! And the best part is that you can add ingredients like rose petals, lavender buds, beeswax, glycerine and absolutely any natural fragrance you please! You can make soaps in any shape, size and colour that you possibly want. Intrigued, right? Let’s see how to make your own soap then, shall we?
You’re going to need a few basic ingredients like soap base, essential oil, skin-safe colouring, a soap mould and some DIY skills. Make sure you are patient and I promise you the end result will be so worth it!
You need what is called a melt and pour soap base. You can buy it in a variety of colours and ingredients. You have soap bases like goats milk, aloe vera and glycerine and they are transparent while some are pure white. These are easily available online and can be used to make your own soaps. Make sure you look for ones that are free of sulfates, surfactants, SLS and parabens.
Start by cutting the soap base into smaller cubes. Use a strong, hard knife that can cut through the bar. This will make the melting process far easier. Now you need what we call the double boiler method - Take a big pan or vessel and fill it up with water. In a smaller vessel - add your cubed soap base. Allow it to sit for a few minutes and you’ll see it melting. Keep stirring it to avoid lumps. Once your entire soap base has melted, add the rest of the ingredients and stir the mixture to combine all the ingredients. Melt and pour soap base has a tendency to solidify pretty quickly so make sure all your ingredients are ready to be added to it. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to combine ingredients.
Once your soap base melts, you can add ingredients like colourants and additives. This will give your soap some personality. Use skin safe colouring to give your soap some colour if you like. Depending on your skin type, you can add ingredients like rose petals, lavender buds, calamine powder, kaolin clay, multani mitti, turmeric powder and sandalwood powder to your soap base. If you want to create an exfoliating soap, add walnut shell powder to your soap base.
You can customise the fragrance of your soaps using skin-safe essential oils. You can add a single fragrance or a combination of fragrances you like. It’s your soap so feel free to do what makes you happy. Use anywhere between 5-10 drops of essential oils per bar if you want a mildly scented soap and 15-20 drops if you like a stronger fragrance. And when you use essential oils, you must always add them to your soap base in the end once you have taken your vessel off the heat. This is because essential oils lose their potency and tend to evaporate if you add it to a boiling soap base mixture. Alternatively, you can also use soap fragrances.
Once you have added all your ingredients into the melted soap base, you need to transfer it to a mould so that it can solidify. You get various types of soap moulds in the market. I prefer to use the silicone moulds because it makes it easier to pop out the soap once it hardens. You can even use cupcake, chocolate or cookie moulds, you get them in multiple shapes! They will definitely make your soap look adorable. The soap base is piping hot, so make sure you carefully transfer it to the moulds. Use oven mitts to protect your hands if needed. Once you have poured the base into the mould, set it aside for an hour or two until it solidifies. That’s it! Your easy-peasy DIY soap is ready!
Now wasn’t that easy? Let’s look at a few recipes for different types of soaps now, shall we?
Dry, flaky skin? An exfoliating soap sounds like something you may need. You can use it daily or once a week depending on your skin. And what’s better than making your very own exfoliating soap? No need to spend extra money on those body scrubs!
Here’s what you need:
If you want a strong exfoliating soap then use walnut shell powder. If you want a mildly exfoliating soap then use oatmeal powder or any type of clay - multani mitti, french clay, kaolin clay etc. Walnut shell powder is brownish while oatmeal powder is white in colour so you could add a few drops of brown colouring.
Melt the soap base and add the exfoliants and colouring. Combine all the ingredients and then add your fragrance. Vanilla and lavender or rose essential oil will give this soap a relaxing aroma while you use it. Once you have mixed the ingredients well, carefully transfer the liquid soap base to a soap mould. Set it aside for an hour or two and allow it to solidify. That’s it, your DIY soap is ready!
Is your skin dry and sensitive? A moisturising soap is what you should be using.
Here’s what you need:
For every bar of soap, add a teaspoon of any moisturising ingredient. If you are using oils, use oils like coconut, jojoba or olive oil. If you want something mildly moisturising, aloe vera gel is a good option. You can even add some rose petals to give the soap some character and some pink or red colouring. Add rose, orange and jasmine essential oil to the soap mix and transfer it to your soap mould.
A brightening soap is one of my personal favourites because I always get bumpy, patchy skin after I wax or shave. I also tan and get sunburnt very easily and this soap helps me keep the sunburn and tan away. Turmeric powder is a wonderful ingredient that you can use on the face and body. The same goes for orange peel powder. Both ingredients brighten the skin and help keep skin troubles like acne, dullness and tanning at bay. A pinch of turmeric is enough for each bar of soap.
Here’s what you need:
Once you have melted your soap base, add a pinch of turmeric or a ½ tsp of orange peel powder to your soap base. Mix it well and add some orange colouring. If you use turmeric, it has a strong scent so you might have to use a strong essential oil to mask the smell of turmeric. I like using musky and woodsy fragrances like sandalwood, patchouli and vetiver. Combine the ingredients and transfer the soap base to a mould and allow it to cool down before you use it.
This soap is perfect to be used once a week or once a fortnight to keep your skin squeaky clean. If you suffer from acne on your body, a soap with charcoal and tea tree oil is going to be your best friend. It might be too harsh to be used every day. You can add ingredients like charcoal powder and bentonite clay to help deep cleanse your skin from time to time. It will absorb excess oil from your pores and draw out dirt and impurities that are clogging your pores and calling acne. But don’t forget to moisturise after.
Here’s what you need:
Once you have melted your soap base, add a pinch of activated charcoal powder to it and mix it in well. It will give your soap a blackish colour so you can skip adding any additional colouring. Use a few drops of tea tree oil and peppermint oil to give it a minty fragrance. Transfer it to your soap base and that’s it!
Which one of these soaps are you going to make? We would love to know!
Featured Image: Writer's own
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