Monday, January 18, 2016

Milk and Honey Soap

Homemade Milk and Honey Soap
At my last job before maternity leave (10yrs ago) they sold local homemade soaps which we also used in the restrooms as samples for customers.  I loved washing my hands at work, my skin was always so soft and clean, not to mention the "LYE" would clean and shine my rings like they were brand new.  A lot has changed since then and I am trying to do the best possible for my kids and family so I am always looking for the better, healthier alternative to modern day products.  I will admit I love the smell pretty products from Bath and Body Works I know they are pretty much just a big chemical bath so to speak and it is time to move on for us.

For a healthier us I knew this is one area where I was really going to have to push myself to find a better solution.  Not just to get away from all the "chemicals" but it was going to take some pushing to get past the "pretty" smells and colors of it too.  After much self convincing I decided that I'm a crafty girl so making soap couldn't be too hard and it was time to give it a try.But....yes the dreaded "But" the first though I think of when making soaps is LYE!!!! EEK!!! and so for that reason I kept putting it off.  You know reasons like: the kids are too little to have lye around, lye is dangerous, it could burn me, it gets too hot.....bla, bla, bla.  Well this year I was determined to do it and after talking to a local who makes soap her first suggestion to me was try it with a soap base and see if it something I wanted to or like to do and guess what the "LYE" in the soap base is not the "OMG going to destroy my face lye" but rather lye that has been already worked and makes for easy, peasy soap making lye instead.  So apparently I hadn't done as much research as I thought or I would have known this already but now I know and soap making I went.
The first step in making soap was to get a recipe that I could do easily and a simple 2 ingredient soap is pretty easy as far as I'm concerned.  I used a recipe from but there are many recipes for Milk and Honey soap on the internet to choose from.  If you are looking for a simple 2 ingredient recipe you should know that most recipes call for adding oats to the Milk and Honey soaps so having rolled oats on hand may be a plus in soap making, I was actually out of them or this blog may have had a different recipe.

If you think you might be interested in giving it a try here are my step by step instructions.

1.  Determine your preference in soap base, I chose an all natural Goats Milk base from Amazon but there are different type of soap base one could choose.  It came in a 2lb. brick but I chose to use only 1/2 of the base for my first attempt.

2.  I cut the soap base into smaller cubes for ease in melting and melted it in 30 second intervals in the microwave, stirring between each interval.  All together maybe 5 minutes of cooking was required.

3.  While the soap base was melting I got my honey out and measured it to 1/4 of a cup so I could add it when ready.  My honey is kept in the fridge so it is quite hard so I gave it a few seconds in the microwave to soften it up to make for easy mixing.

4.  When the soap base has fully melted to a creamy/milky substance I added my organic honey and mixed it in.   

5.  You will notice lots of bubbles in mine, I would recommend slowly mixing to create less bubbles if you are going for "looks" in your soap as they stay in the mold and can affect the appearance of the finished soap.  Luckily for me this soap is just personal use so it didn't matter that I messed it up a bit.

6.  To give the soap a honey comb look I lined the bottom of the mold with regular bubble wrap (bubbles up).  I did this step while the soap base was cooking in the microwave also that way it would be all set to go when the mixture was ready. This step is not necessary but I like the finished look when it was done so if you are going with a "honey" soap it adds to the appearance of it.  There is no real how to to this I simple cut the bubble wrap to the size of the mold and placed it in.

7.  When the soap base and honey were evenly mixed I poured the mixture into the mold and wait for it to harden and cool.
I am not sure why, perhaps I needed to add more to each mold but they seemed full to me,  who knows?  The recipe I used said I would get only 4 bars of soap but I ended up with 6 and a little extra (that I molded with a separate dish) so be prepared to have more then expected if you are only using a 6 bar mold.

8.  After a few hours and I made sure the molds were fully cooled 
(I waited 3 hours) I removed the soap bars from the mold and peeled the bubble wrap off the tops of the bars.  Removing the bubble wrap was very easy and definitely gave the soap a honey comb effect so I will definitely use this technique again.

9.  Now we wait for the soap to fully cure (dry out and harden).  Many soap base recipes make it seem as though the soap is fully ready to use but to me it seemed rather soft and I will be curing mine for a few weeks before I use it.  As for curing time, I have read many different lengths of time for curing soaps and since this is my first try I'm really not sure what time to fully recommend but the research I did (online) showed that 4 weeks is the preferred length of time with turning daily the first few weeks.  If you have a method you recommend let me know and I'll be sure to pass it along to others.

*Note: if you are looking at my pictures and seeing a metal baking sheet  please know that was just for photo purposes to allow the soap to stand out and soap should NOT be cured on a metal or sealed wooden surface as it does not dry fully though.

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