Justin Perr runs Preserv Skincare, a skin care blog. When Justin and I first met, he was busy making homemade soaps and salves. I got the chance to catch up with Justin while he was in Los Angeles on winter break. We made cold processed soap in the garden.
In this post, I interview Justin, list the materials and ingredients you need to make soap, define some of the terms involved with cold processed soap making, and give you the recipe we used to make cold processed soap. To watch the full video of how Justin and I made cold processed soap, click here and be sure to subscribe.
Interview with Justin
Carmen: Tell me a little bit about Preserv Skincare. What inspired you to start Preserv Skincare?
Justin: I’ve always loved making things, whether it be cooking, gardening, or in this case making soap. The fun part about making things is that you get to see all the ingredients that go into the final product, and if you are really into it, you will learn what each of the ingredients does to impact the end result. When I started researching skincare ingredients, I found that there was a lot of confusion and disagreements about what certain ingredients do, and what should and should not be in skincare. I started Preserv Skincare to offer a scientific and largely unbiased resource for learning about skincare ingredients and formulation.
C: What is soap? What is cold processed soap?
J: Soap is a combination of water loving and oil loving molecules. When you rub it onto you skin, the oil loving parts grab onto the grime on you skin, and the water loving parts pull everything off your skin and down the drain. Cold process soap is a method of making soap where you combine oils and lye water at low temperatures to create soap.
C: In your own opinion, what are some of the benefits of making your own soap?
J: As with all things, I find that making something with your hands offers you a new perspective on a product that you may have never taken the time to appreciate. Quite literally, soap saves countless lives around the world everyday. But beyond that, soap makes an excellent gift and can become a fun hobby.
C: When did you start making soap? How did you learn?
I started making soap when I was 16 years old. I learned by watching Soap Queen TV on YouTube. I also bought some soap making books.
C: What ingredients are in the cold processed soap we made? What are the benefits of those ingredients?
- Coconut Oil: Moisturizing and helps the bar harden
- Palm Oil: Makes a thick lather with coconut oil to clean the skin
- Olive Oil: Soothing and anti-inflammatory
- Essential Oils: Fragrance and unique physical and aroma-therapeutic properties
C: Do you have any advice for the aspiring soap maker?
J: Don’t be afraid of making soap. I was really nervous about making soap because of the lye-water and the stick blender. But once you get a few soaps under your belt, it becomes a fun and rewarding process. Just get out there and do it.
C: What do you recommend I make next?
J: I think you should make your own paper and add ingredients from the garden. I would be interested to see what you put on or did with the paper!
Materials and Ingredients You Need to Make Soap
- Silicone Mold with Wood Box – https://amzn.to/37cVmFF
- Used for molding soap
- Immersion Blender – https://amzn.to/2Sr0ErC
- Used to mix oils and lye
- Pyrex measuring cup – https://amzn.to/37fDKJ0
- Used to reheat oils and mix oil and lye in
- Food scale – https://amzn.to/2OGYBi6
- It is very important to weigh all ingredients
- Protective eyewear – https://amzn.to/2OGDJHJ
- Lye can be very dangerous, it is best to wear eyewear
- Protective gloves – https://amzn.to/2UJEGmB
- Wear long sleeves, closed toe shoes, and protective gloves
- Essential oils of your choice(we used lavender, eucalyptus and rosemary)
- Bramble Berry Palm Oil – https://www.brambleberry.com/shop-by-product/ingredients/oils/palm-oil/V000541.html
- Bramble Berry Olive Oil – https://www.brambleberry.com/shop-by-product/ingredients/oils/olive-oil—pure/V000563.html
- Bramble Berry Coconut Oil – https://www.brambleberry.com/shop-by-product/ingredients/oils/coconut-oil/V000522.html
- Sodium Hydroxide Lye – https://www.brambleberry.com/shop-by-product/ingredients/additives-and-lye/sodium-hydroxide-lye/V000459.html?cgid=3-add_ing_pro#start=1
Terms You Need to Know When Making Soap
Soda Ash: when lye reacts with carbon dioxide in the air and creates an ashy surface on your soap.
Saponification: a process by which oils are reacted with lye to produce glycerol and a fatty acid salt called “soap.”
Exothermic reaction: when a chemical reaction releases heat.
Trace: occurs when lye and oils have emulsified and the mixture begins to thicken.
Essential oil: extracted from plants through distillation.
How to Make SoapPrint
- 4.8 ounces lye (******** ONLY USE LYE IF YOU KNOW HOW TO USE IT********) – DANGEROUS
- 11.2 ounces distilled water
- 8 ounces coconut oil, melted
- 15 ounces olive oil
- 11 ounces palm oil, melted and thoroughly mixed
- Natural powdered dye, such as spirulina powder
- Essential oils, such as rosemary, lavender, and eucalyptus
- Spray bottle with isopropyl rubbing alcohol
- Immersion blender
- Large Pyrex measuring cup
- Extra plastic containers
- Protective gloves
- Protective eye wear
- Silicone and wood mold
- Mix lye slowly, DO NOT INHALE, a little bit at a time into the water. Stirring constantly with spatula. It will turn cloudy and warm. Set aside to cool to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine coconut, palm and olive oil in Pyrex.
- Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1 heaping teaspoon natural powdered dye.
- Insert immersion blender in to the Pyrex with oil at an angle. Try to prevent air bubbles from getting in oil. Pour the lye – water mixture down the shaft of the immersion blender to prevent air bubbles.
- In short bursts, turn on immersion blender and stir with immersion blender until it comes to trace and thickens.
- Add in coloring and 5 to 10 drops of each essential oil. Stir with immersion blender and turning on in short burst until the color is fully combined.
- Working quickly, pour in to mold and smooth with spatula. You can make a scalloped pattern with the spatula. Spray with isopropyl rubbing alcohol to prevent soda ash from forming.
- Let harden completely for about 24 hours. Take out of mold and cut into slices about finger width.
- Set out slices individually in ventilated area for 30 days.
- Use & enjoy!
Be very careful and learn thoroughly about lye before using it.
Soap makes a great gift, use recycled paper and twine to wrap it up for an eco friendly gift.
Be careful to sue citrus oils in soap – they can exacerbate sunburns when used.