There is something so magical about making cold-process soap: the chemistry of it, the "danger" of it, the creativity of it, and the mystery of it. I've tried the "melt and pour" method (premade soap bricks that you melt, add scent to and then pour into molds) and I've tried the hot-processed method (quicker saponification in the crock-pot for those who like instant gratification), and while those are perfectly acceptable methods, cold-process is the one for me. It's like a little bit of Christmas every time I get to unwrap the soap I made the previous day to see what I've created. So I thought I'd spread the magic and share my lavender oatmeal recipe for anyone who would like to give it a try.
I've also added a few links to products that I use and have worked well for me. There are also some great websites for ingredients, products, and instruction. I especially like Brambleberry not only for products but for the instruction.
(Of course if you'd rather just buy some soap, I can help you with that as well!)
Cold Process Lavender Oatmeal Soap w Coconut Oil
Equipment needed (please note material composition of equipment as lye reacts violently to some materials)
1. Prepare the lye mixture (wear safety gear here -- goggles, long sleeved shirt, mask)
Note about lye and vinegar: Although some recommend rinsing lye spills with vinegar, this source convincingly explains why vinegar makes the situation worse. Plain water works better. You can use vinegar for the final clean up, but not initially.
2. While waiting for lye to get to the right temp, grind lavender buds and oatmeal in clean coffee grinder -- approx 2 TB needed of each. Measure out essential oils (about 2 TB)
3. When lye gets down to about 140 degrees, start preparing the coconut oil
4. Put on safety gear -- goggles, long sleeved shirt, mask (this is especially important at this stage, since mixing can cause a little splashing)
Once lye and oil are the same temp, slowly pour the lye mixture into the oil while stirring with stick blender on low power. Continue blending until mixture traces (leaves a trail when drizzled across the surface). This takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
5. Add lavender, oatmeal and essential oils and blend.
6. Pour mixture into wood mold (keeping safety gear on). Tamp down to eliminate any air pockets. Add toppings of lavender buds and oatmeal for decoration; cover with plastic wrap and gently press down. Remove plastic wrap and cover with wood cover and then wrap with a towel. NOTE: At this point the mixture has not completely saponified so you still need to avoid contact.
7. Leave for 24-48 hours (no peeking) -- soap needs to slowly cool down and completely saponify. After 24-48 hours, cut soap and let cure on a rack (a baking rack works well) for 3 weeks so that soap can harden. Makes 16 4-4.25 oz bars
Note on cleaning -- I usually just put everything into the big pot and let them sit for a few days. The mixture in the pot and on the spoons turns into soap so then I can just add water and clean everything out then.
Hello! My name is Pam Reynolds Baker and I am a mom/wife, English teacher, writer, and lavender farmer who lives in Dundee Oregon .