Making homemade soap with beef tallow for hardness
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Bessie’s Best Moisturizing Body Bar

I almost always make hot process soap these days mainly because I don’t know we need more until we’re almost out. My family knows that I need a few weeks to make soap but for some reason they just can’t be bothered to say anything when we start running low.

*Note to self: set a calendar reminder to make soap regularly.

When I do get around to making more, I typically make 2 batches and we end up with 16-20 3 oz. bars of soap. Using the hot process method, these bars are ready to use within a week or less (as opposed to a month or more using cold process).

This week I made a very simple moisturizing soap that I want to share with you. If you’re interested in soap making, this is a great recipe that is easy to pull together. It makes a hard (i.e. longer lasting) bar that’s loaded with oleic acid thanks to skin (& hair) loving EVOO & grapeseed oil.

This is NOT a vegan soap because I chose to use beef tallow to help with the hardness. If you want a vegan option, omit the beef tallow and either:

  1. Increase the remaining 3 oils. Coconut & olive oil will produce hard bars but take longer to cure to that hardness. OR
  2. Add another “hard” oil like palm oil or cocoa butter.
  3. Or you can just make this soap recipe instead.

*Note that IF you change up the oils in this recipe, make sure to run it through a soap calculator to make sure you have the correct water : lye ratio. I like to use this one at SoapCalc.

Let’s Make A Moisturizing Body Bar

Unscented with no additives or artificial ingredients. Perfect for all skin types.

Safety first!

  • SUIT UP! I have a chef’s coat & long rubber gloves that I wear for soaping. It’s the only thing I use them for & I keep them with my soaping supplies.
  • Use goggles so none of the lye mixture can splash into your eyes.
  • A mask can come in handy too. The fumes from mixing the lye water are a beast. If you don’t have a mask, just lean AWAY from the mixture.
  • Make sure there are no allergies to any of the ingredients in the individual oils. Ex: anyone with nut allergies shouldn’t use coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 5.6 oz Coconut Oil, 76°
  • 4 oz EVOO (Olive Oil)
  • 3.2 oz Grapeseed Oil
  • 3.2 oz Beef Tallow
  • 6.08 oz Distilled or Filtered Water
  • 2.32 oz Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)
Recipe % Common Name INCI Name Benefit
35 %Coconut Oil, 76 degCocos Nucifera (Coconut) OilAntioxidant, moisturizing. Creates a hard bar with good lather.
25 %Olive OilOlea Europaea (Olive) Fruit OilHigh in oleic acid, moisturizing.
20 %Grapeseed OilVitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed OilHigh in Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids, moisturizing, improve tone & texture, help fight acne.
20 %Tallow BeefSodium Tallowate  Adeps BovisCreates a hard bar that long lasting.

Tools:

  • Glass or heavy duty plastic jar, bowl or container
  • Containers for measuring out ingredients (cups, glass jars, whatever you have on hand)
  • Kitchen scale (all ingredients need to be measured by weight)
  • Crock pot
  • Immersion (stick) blender
  • Silicone spoon or spoonula
  • Soap mold
  • Knife or straight cutter

The Process:

  1. Pour the water into a glass or heavy duty plastic container with a wide mouth.
  2. Slowly add the lye stirring VERY gently as you pour.  Put the lye mixture aside while you prepare the oils.
  3. Measure out your oils & add them to the crock pot to melt & heat up.
  4. Once all the oils are completely melted, slowly stir in the lye mixture & continue stirring for about 3-5 minutes or so to get good contact between the oils & lye.
  5. Use the stick blender to bring the mixture to “trace” – that’s when you can trickle a little of the soap mixture across the top & it leaves a “trace” along the top.
  6. Walk away & let the soap cook until it starts to roll in on itself from the sides of the crock – it took about 30 minutes.
    • If it starts to look like it will overflow the crock, you can stir it down & continue to let it “cook”.
  7. The soap mixture will start to fold in on itself from the sides & it will look like the oils and water are starting to separate. They aren’t – this is just the separation phase! Stir it down if you need to & let it continue to “cook”.
  8. Eventually your soap will start to look like mashed potatoes that want to overflow the pot. When it does, just stir it down.
  9. When the soap starts to look more like lumpy vaseline, it’s probably ready. This the gel phase & it usually takes me 1-2 hours total. The best way to know is to do a pH test – it should be neutral to slightly alkaline (8-10 is recommended).
    • You can do a zap test or order a kit to test pH. I do a combination of both.
  10. Pour the soap into soap molds.  You don’t need anything fancy for this.  A few things I use are:
    • egg carton to make rounded soaps
    • ice cube trays
    • shoe box top
    • square or rectangular glass baking dish
    • small square storage containers
    • an actual soap mold 
  11. Cover the soap with parchment paper, a thin kitchen towel, or cloth napkin & let them sit for 24 hours to harden.
  12. Un-mold them, cut them if needed, & let them sit for another week or 2. The longer the better.
  13. Store it just like you would any other soap – in a cool dry place with some airflow.  We keep ours in a fabric covered shoe box in our linen closet.  Don’t use a plastic bin because it doesn’t allow air to circulate around the soap.
Handmade soap - Going green

Moisturizing Body Bar

Yield: 6 bars
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days 1 hour 5 minutes

An unscented moisture rich soap high in omega-6 & omega-9 with no additives or artificial ingredients. Perfect for all skin types.

Materials

  • 5.6 oz Coconut Oil, 76°
  • 4 oz EVOO
  • 3.2 oz Grapeseed Oil
  • 3.2 oz Beef Tallow
  • 6.08 oz distilled or filtered water
  • 2.32 oz Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH)

Tools

  • Glass or heavy duty plastic jar, bowl or container
  • Containers for measuring out ingredients
  • Scale
  • Silicone spoon or "spoonula"
  • Crock pot
  • Immersion (stick) blender
  • Soap mold
  • Knife or straight cutter

Instructions

  1. Pour the water into a glass or heavy duty plastic container with a wide mouth.
  2. Slowly add the lye stirring VERY gently as you pour. Put the lye mixture aside while you prepare the oils. (see notes below)
  3. Measure out your oils & add them to the crock pot to melt & heat up.
  4. Once all the oils are completely melted, slowly stir in the lye mixture & continue stirring for about 3-5 minutes or so to get good contact between the oils & lye.
  5. Use the stick blender to bring the mixture to “trace” – that's when you can trickle a little of the soap mixture across the top & it leaves a "trace" along the top.
  6. Walk away & let the soap cook until it starts to roll in on itself from the sides of the crock – it took about 30 minutes.
  7. If it starts to look like it will overflow the crock, you can stir it down & continue to let it "cook".
  8. The soap mixture will start to fold in on itself from the sides & it will look like the oils and water are starting to separate. They aren't - this is just the separation phase! Stir it down if you need to & let it continue to "cook".
  9. Eventually your soap will start to look like mashed potatoes that want to overflow the pot. When it does, just stir it down.
  10. When the soap starts to look more like lumpy vaseline, it's probably ready. The best way to know is to do a pH test - it should be neutral to slightly alkaline (8-10 is recommended). (see notes below)
  11. Pour the soap into soap molds. 
  12. Cover the soap with parchment paper, a thin kitchen towel, or cloth napkin & let them sit for 24 hours to harden.
  13. Un-mold them, cut them if needed, & let them sit for another week or 2. The longer the better.
  14. Store it just like you would any other soap – in a cool dry place with some airflow.  We keep ours in a fabric covered shoe box in our linen closet.  Don’t use a plastic bin because it doesn’t allow air to circulate around the soap.

Notes

  1. Mix your lye water in a well ventilated area or even outside. And make sure there are no distractions & that children or pets are not around.
  2. The test pH, you can do a zap test or order a kit to test. I do a combination of both - Zap test is just putting a tiny bit of soap to your tongue to make sure it doesn't give you a little static shock. If you do this... make sure to spit after & DO NOT swallow.
  3. You don’t need fancy soap molds.  A few things I use are:
  • egg carton to make rounded soaps
  • ice cube trays
  • shoe box top
  • square or rectangular glass baking dish
  • small square storage containers
  • an actual soap mold 

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