Soapmaking involves combining vegetable or animal fats
with a strong alkaline, typically lye. Process, called
saponification, is the chemical reaction between these
The “melt and pour” process is the easiest to begin.
Using a premade soap base, melt it down on the stove
or in the microwave, then stir in fragrances, color,
minerals, herbs, and whatever other ingredients. Pour
it into molds and let it cool for a few hours. Once it
has hardened fully, it’s ready to be used.
Advanced soap making involves the traditional “cold process”.
It requires the mixing of oils with a base solution, such as
lye. Since lye is caustic and will burn your skin on contact,
it’s important to follow these safety procedures before you
begin. The upside of cold processed soap is you have more
control over the ingredients, you use and the soap will last
much longer than melt and pour soaps. For the firmest bars,
you’ll need to wait 4 to 6 weeks to allow soap to fully cure.
Soap making process: you should have these basic
ingredients and tools on hand:
• Kitchen scale for accurate measurements.
• Stainless steel mixing bowls, dedicated for soapmaking.
• Stainless steel measuring spoons, Silicone molds.
• Additives like essential oils, dried herbs, vegetable
oils, and natural colorants.
• Soap base for the “melt and pour” method – goat’s milk,
shea butter, or glycerin.
• Alkaline for “cold process” – lye or wood ash.
• Quick read thermometer.