My DIY diversions continue. The latest at-home project? Soap-making! Here's how I did it:
37 oz. olive oil (use the cheap stuff)
2 oz. cocoa butter
24 oz. coconut oil
18 oz. palm oil
28 oz. cold water
12 oz. lye crystals (also known as sodium hydroxide)
I ordered all of this from Texas Natural Supply, and I used a kitchen scale to weigh it.
Start by mixing the lye crystals with the water in a Pyrex measuring cup, but remember, sodium hydroxide (lye) is caustic, so wear a dust mask (I'm not exactly sure if that even protects your lungs from the fumes) and ventilate your kitchen. I donned a bandana and blew a fan in my direction and survived. Don't let it get on your skin (OUCH!), and don't be alarmed when the mixture heats up and starts steaming. Let it cool to 110 degrees; meanwhile, warm the coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, and cocoa butter to 110 degrees in a big ole' pot. When both the lye mixture and the oils are at the same temperature, pour the lye into oil pot. Stir with a wooden spoon until you see the trace (this takes A WHILE, and by A WHILE I mean, 45 minutes, so get comfortable or pour yourself a glass of wine). This video helped me figure out how to recognize the trace, which is basically when you lift some of the mixture out of the pot on your spoon and dribble it back into the pot, it makes a very thin residue on top. Apparently, you can buy a stick blender to make this process happen a lot faster, but I haven't done that yet.When you see the trace, add 10 ml of peppermint essential oil (or whatever essential oil you want). Then, pour into the mold. I used a 13" x 9" clear glass baking pan lined with wax paper. Cover with tin foil and let it set overnight. Afterward, cut into bars and individually wrap each one (I used wax paper and printed out homemade labels). Scrub a dub dub.