DIY (ish) Melt and Pour Soap with Ingredient Comparisons
I’ve often daydreamed about making cold process soap (seriously, I have, and I know this is not “normal”). However, the process of using lye and the whole chemical reaction and potential dangers have really spooked me away from attempting it. So, I have found the next best thing–melt and pour soaps–truly one of the easiest things I’ve ever “made”. If you can boil water, you can do this. If you can’t boil water, go ahead and look away now. LOL
I have learned that not all soap bases are equal. You can still find them with loads of synthetic ingredients which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of “making” your own soaps. I have found a lovely three butter soap that has a nice lather, holds scent well, doesn’t break the bank, and is 100% plant based. I can add whatever essential oils or fragrance I am in the mood for, and have even added crushed, dried flower petals (lavender and marigold).
This soap is sold in 2 lb trays ($0.88 per 4 ounce bar), all the way up to a 1728 lb (umm, yeah, that’s a lot of soap LOL). I have moved up to buying the 24 lb ($0.62 per 4 ounce bar). The essential oil you add will only cost a few pennies per bar, so it’s pretty minimal. For comparison, the Dove soap I have included in the ingredient list below costs at least $1.15 per 4 ounce bar (I picked it because it sounds warm and fuzzy, but it is half synthetic ingredients–doh!). The Kirk’s Natural (my favorite bar to purchase) is $1.19, which for an all natural/plant based bar, is a great price–you’ll only find it on the bottom row of the soap aisle–just hanging out, being awesome (find a retailer here). I did try a pack of “regular” soap again last year and could not wait for it to be gone. Not only did it leave my skin feeling weird, but it created a crazy amount of soap scum in the shower that I had not been used to seeing since using this three butter or castile soaps like Kirk’s and Dr. Bronner’s (thank goodness for Awesome Sauce). My conspiracy theory mind decided that since the soap manufacturers also sell cleaning supplies, that it was a self-fulfilling business model. Brilliant!!! :)
The fun part about melt and pour soaps is that you can use whatever molds you want. It can be as simple as a small bread loaf pan or actual soap molds (like these). I recently received these Lego silicone molds in exchange for a honest Amazon review (which is awesome) and they worked fabulously–I even made a “Han Lego” (for the Star Wars geeks out there). The silicone just lets the soap pop right out–the hard plastic molds I have take a little bit of coercion (but are still pretty easy).
Ingredient comparison: (animal products and synthetics in red)
THE RECIPE: Melt & Pour Soap
Makes 8, 4 ounce bars
2 lbs melt and pour soap base
1 tsp essential oils or fragrance oils of choice
1. Melt soap in double boiler or microwave oven. DO NOT let the soap boil. In microwave, heat 30 seconds at a time and stir in between until soap is completely melted.
2. Add your favorite scent–no more than 1 tablespoon of fragrance oil or 1 teaspoon of essential oil per pound of soap. This is also when you can add crushed flower petals or whatever you want to try when you get brave. :)
3. Pour into mold, spray top with rubbing alcohol (to pop any bubbles), and let rest until solid. Can be put in refrigerator for faster cooling.
4. Unmold and let cure, or wrap (check the manufacturer directions depending on the soap you use.
The Three Butter soap acts more like cold process soap, so you don’t have to wrap it. If you use another base, it may recommend wrapping each bar due to “sweating”.