Making Herbal Soap

There’s something magical and fulfilling about making herbal soap for your family out of your own kitchen. Not just soap, but soap that is free of all the toxins that are pumped into commercially made soaps…which aren’t even soap, technically, they’re detergents.

I started hand making our family’s soap in 2011 when one of our kids were having severe, cracking, bleeding and swelling bouts of eczema. I didn’t want to slather that much of his body in steroid cream, so we went chemical free and natural in a hurry. It started off with melt and pour, a pre-made base that I doctored up with some extra ingredients, then eventually worked up the courage to work with lye…and I never looked back.

About Soap

Let’s clear something up first. If it doesn’t use lye (sodium hydroxide), it’s not soap. It’s detergent. There’s no way around it. That being said, don’t be scared of it. As long as you take a few precautious and respect what you’re working with, you’ll be just fine.

For those visual learners that prefer to watch and listen, you can find the video below that has all the steps used to make soap. For all the details on why we took it a step further and started make herbal soap, keep reading.

We’ve established homemade soap is amazing. But, in the process of becoming an herbalist, I learned so much about infusing herbs into oils and creating hydrosols and essential oils, that I thought I just had to try some new soaping techniques. So here’s what we landed on…

Infusing Oils

Infusing herbs is super easy, but can be a little tricky too. Some herbs hold more moisture and should be dried before infusing, so they don’t make the oil go rancid. Others should be used fresh in order to best pull all the medicinal goodness into the oil. This is where knowing your herbs comes in really handy. Once you’ve decided on your herbs, infuse them into your oil of choice (I almost always use olive oil) and let it sit for 3-4 weeks, shaking it every day or 2. When you’re ready to use it, strain it and use this oil in your soap recipe of choice.

Perhaps the biggest change I made when I switched to making soap with herbs, is the temperature I soap with. Medicinal herbs don’t like being actively boiled. There are exceptions to that rule, but for some, you can destroy the medicinal properties in them. So it stands to reason, that dumping 130° lye water into a bunch of medicinally charged oils, is counterproductive. Now I soap at room temperature, which does take quite a bit longer, but it gives me a much nicer product in the end.

How To Make Your Soap

Herb infused olive oil can be used in any recipe to enhance the benefits of the soap, especially if you use a complimenting essential oil blend. If you’re new to soap making with herbs, here’s a basic recipe to get you started. Happy soaping!

Distilled Water- 4.68 ounces

Lye- 2.31 ounces

Beeswax- 1 ounce

Shea Butter- 1 ounce

Coconut Oil- 7 ounces

Herbal Infused Olive Oil- 7 ounces

Essential Oil- 1 ounce

Herbal Soap stacked on a table

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