Thursday, 14 November 2013

Melt and Pour Soap: Lavender Soap

I love making my own soap, but as I haven't had a space of my own with my own, very private kitchen for my own messes and weird potions, I haven't been able to make it the real real from scratch way.

So I've been using melt and pour sets to make my own soaps. It really couldn't be simpler. Leo's apartment kitchen has NO supplies whatsoever (I don't know how people cope) so I just did this in the microwave.

1. Find a container you will pour your soap into. I used an IKEA lunch box, the ones everyone in the world owns, intending to then cut the soap into small pieces.

2. Cut your melt and pour mix into manageable cubed pieces. Make approximately enough so that it will fit into the container when melted.

3. Get essential oils, colours, anything you wish to add to the soap, and leave them ready.

4. It is great to have a spray bottle containing alcohol at hand. I used an old hair conditioner bottle with rubbing alcohol. This can be sprayed into the container before pouring the mixture in so it pops out easier, and sprayed on the mixture as it settles to remove air bubbles that look ugly.

5. Put the soap block into a glass or some kind of sturdy bowl and put in the microwave to melt. Keep a strict watch over it and take out as soon as it is 99% melted. I then stirred vigorously so the remainder would melt.

6. Add a few drops of essential oils. I'm not going to be too specific because everyone has different skin, different preferences and different tastes. I added about 4 drops of tea tree oil and 6 drops of lavender. I was also lucky enough to find a market stall selling a bag of lavender, so I chopped the lavender up into tiny pieces and poured about half a tbsp in to the mix, stirring well.

7. I poured the mixture into the lunch box, sprayed away any air bubbles, and left it to set. When there was a gel-like layer formed on the top I sprinkled a little bit of lavender on that and patted it down gently so it stuck.

8. Once it was semi-solid I put it in the fridge. A few hours later I took it up, pushed it out of the container, sliced it into smaller pieces, and put it into grease proof paper so it wouldn't sweat.

And there you have it. A simple, cheap recipe to make something great that can be used on your face, hands, in the shower, and even as shampoo if you don't have a lot of hair (I, sadly, have an awful lot of hair, so it's not really lathery enough). For what amounts to a few cents a piece, you can have bars of soap to give as presents or for your own use. It's so much fun to experiment with different scents and colours, last year we discovered turmeric makes an excellent dye for an orange scented soap, and it lasts really well. Have fun!

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