Quest for the perfect soap
Originally posted October 4, 2018
The perfect homemade soap… does not exist, technically. Well technically, it’s a personal preference really.
I’m on a never-ending quest for the perfect goat milk soap recipe. With commercial soap, you can get something with a ton of lather, feels super soft, seems moisturizing, cleansing, and long lasting. However, these can also come with a lot of chemicals and detergents that can build up in your pours, damage your skin, and in many cases are fragranced heavily to cover the scent created from all those chemicals.
For those reasons specifically, I chose to stick to the natural oils used to create homemade soaps. Now, some people might question the ingredients in some homemade soaps because a few words in the ingredients sound ‘chemical’ but are actually natural. Words like ‘sodium hydroxide’ scare those that don’t know. So, first a bit of education:
Sodium Hydroxide – commonly known as Lye. Though commercially manufactured today, in the past it was created by leaching ashes of hardwood trees. If anyone tells you they make a “lye-free” soap, they are not making soap. You can make homemade soap using commercially produced soap bases, such as ‘melt-and-pour’. This is for people that don’t want to be involved in working with lye, but the truth is, the base was made with lye and then cured and packaged for the consumer. Perfectly okay, I just choose to make my soaps fresh from my goats – so, I do produce our soaps using a cold process method that requires the use of lye.
Titanium Dioxide – used as a whitening pigment, this is a natural ingredient that is exactly how it sounds. It is the oxide of titanium and sourced from a variety of minerals.
Mica – used as a pigment/colorant, this is a natural occurring silicate mineral found in granite and other rocks.
Other than that, the ingredients used are natural oils (essential oils, olive oil, Shea butter, etc.)
Now, where were we… Oh yes, the perfect soap. Creating the perfect recipe to behave like a commercially produced soap has proven to be (to me) impossible. I know that it is because of the chemicals in commercial soaps that make them behave the way they do, and we have become accustomed to this idea of how a soap should act and feel. I know I won’t replicate this perfectly, and even though I have tweaked my recipe several times, I’m not 100% happy. If I want my soap to be hard and long lasting, I lose some of the creaminess or conditioning factors. So, if I change the recipe to be more conditioning, I lose lather or cleansing power. Up the agents that produce a better lather and are more cleansing, then I run the risk that the soap is too drying on the skin. It is a science, and only trial and error will get me there. Making soap isn’t hard, but it does take time, patience, practice, and A LOT of oils. If you have a soap recipe that you would like to share or need ideas for your own soaps, feel free to comment below. Together, we might just figure out the ultimate soap recipe