How to Make Vegan Soap – It’s Easier Than You Think
Whether you’re a vegan or not, you might want to make your own soap that is free from animal products. With the increasing use of pesticides, unnecessary chemicals and toxins in soaps, it also makes a lot of sense to make them by yourself. Besides all of the health benefits, it’s also cheaper this way.
The basics of any type of soap making are the same. When you’re making vegan soap, you replace tallow, an animal product, with vegetable shortening, and you add cocoa butter. When shopping for the ingredients, make sure they are all marked organic, otherwise they might in fact contain animal products.
Soap is made by mixing fats and oils, in our case vegetable fats and oils, together with lye, which go through a chemical reaction called saponification. Before you begin, you have to make a lye water solution. Be extremely careful as lye can burn your skin. Wear eye goggles and elbow-length rubber gloves. When you do spill some on your skin, wash it off with lots of vinegar.
Once you’ve got the lye solution ready and it has cooled, you melt the fats and oils in a pot to a specified temperature. Then you add the lye and you stir it with a stick blender. Once the mixture reaches “trace”, meaning all the components have irreversibly mixed, you add in any additional ingredients, such as dried herbs, essential oils, or coloring.
Next, you pour the soap into a mold and let it set for 24 hours. After that, you cut it into blocks and set on a rack to cure for four weeks. Then you’re done and can enjoy using your vegan soaps!
Here’s a vegan recipe you can use:
Lye solution: 12 oz of distilled water, 4 oz of lye
Oils: 1 oz (or 3%) of pure cocoa butter, 7 oz (23%) of pure olive oil, 7 oz (23%) of pure white coconut oil, and 16 oz (51%) of pure vegetable shortening. Note: the percentages are used when you want to make a different amount of soap than the recipe prescribes. You can use a soap calculator to adjust the amounts accordingly.
Add in 2 tablespoons of dried herbs according to your own preference – basil or mint are great.