The formula for a 2 lb batch:
250 grams Palm Oil
250 grams Coconut Oil
200 grams Apricot Kernel Oil
60 grams Shea Oil
110 grams Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
225 grams Water (Soft or Distilled)
15 ml Calendula Oil
1/8 teaspoon Annatto Powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup Calendula Petals
Prepare the work area:
- Before starting, set up your work area with all the equipment, ingredients, and molds you'll need. We used the 2 lb Wooden Soap Mold and it worked perfectly.
- Prepare your molds, if using a wooden soap mold it will need to be lined with parchment paper. Check out our section on Using Soap Molds for more detailed information.
Mixing the key soap ingredients:
- Measure out the oils that you will use and set them aside. Keep the Calendula Oil separate to add after the other oils.
- Put on glasses or goggles and rubber or latex gloves. Weigh the lye and set it aside.
- Place measuring cup on scale and weigh out the water.
- Slowly add the lye to the water while stirring with a small whisk or fork. The fumes may be quite strong after 10 seconds, so hold your breath. Leave the area for one or two minutes and then return and stir again to be sure the lye is fully dissolved. The lye solution will be heated to approx 180 degrees F, so set the cup aside to cool down to the soap making temperature.
- While your lye is cooling, prepare the oils. Heat in the microwave or on a double boiler until the oils have liquefied and are at, or slightly above, the soap making temperature.
Making your soap:
- When the lye solution and the oil mixture are both at the soap making temperature, you are ready to make soap. Wearing your gloves, slowly drizzle the lye water into the oils, stirring quickly and carefully by hand. Once the lye has been well mixed into the oils, you may use your stick blender, being sure to keep the blender submerged in the mixture to avoid any splashing, and run for only 15 seconds at a time.
- Alternate between hand whisking and stick blending for equal amounts of time to ensure your soap is getting thoroughly and evenly mixed. Do this for two alternating cycles, then add your Annatto powder to the 15ml of Calendula oil that was put aside, stirring well to avoid clumping. Drizzle this slowly into the soap mixture, and alternate again between using the stick blender and hand whisking.
- Stirring must be maintained until soap reaches the trace stage, or when you run your whisk through the mixture and you can see the lines left behind it.
- Add your essential oil blend at this time, mixing well. After the soap is fully mixed, you may add the Calendula Petals. Add them a small amount at a time, mixing well by hand in between. The mixture should be smooth, with no lumps or unmixed watery liquids. Pour the soap into the mold quickly, gently guiding it in with a spatula.
- Cover the filled mold or molds with a piece of cardboard or brown freezer paper, and then cover with a towel or blanket to retain the heat in the soap mixture. Leave undisturbed for 24 to 48 hours. During this period, saponification (the process of becoming soap), is completed. With a balanced formula such as this one, all of the soap oils and all of the lye have been fully converted into soap and glycerin at this stage.
- Remove soap from molds after the saponification period. If using a lined larger mold, turn out onto a piece of brown paper or cardboard. If using smaller plastic molds, it helps to place the molds in the freezer for 15-30 minutes, remove and then leave for 5 minutes before tapping the soap out of the mold. This prevents crumbling of edges, etc.
- If you used a loaf-style soap mold, you may cut the loaf into bars within 24 hours of un-molding.
- Place the soap bars back on storage shelf to continue curing (we like to cure our bars for 4 weeks) turning the soaps once a week to expose all sides to the air. After curing, your soap is ready to use.
A big thanks to our soap man, Jack, who was my model and demonstrator in the photos above. Chances are if you've bought bars of soap from us in the past little bit, they've been made by Jack! We hope you like this formula as much as we all do here at Voyageur!
Tawnee and the Voyageur Team