Ahhh soaps… I’ve been wanting to go for years without ever daring for fear of caustic soda.
After looking for information everywhere, I (finally) took the plunge and I offer you a small overview of books and sites that have taught me a lot!
But as soon as you dare to take the plunge, you won’t regret it! Once you’ve started, you just want to learn more and make new soaps at the slightest opportunity 🙂
To discover saponification, I started by spending hours on the Internet to document myself (me being a perfectionist? nooooooooooooo….), thanks to dozens of super interesting blogs.
And there’s Youtube…
If you feel like getting into marbling to have nice colored soaps, there is Youtube of course to visualize the technique.
It’s the same thing, there are hundreds of super interesting videos, type “soap” or “soap” and you’ll see lots of videos displayed!
If I had to name only one channel to learn how to make nice marbles, it would be “soap queen”.
But then, there are so many videos that this is just one example among many others!
Once you know the name of the marbling you want to try (feather marbling, line marbling, inclusion, etc.) type the name in the search bar and bam, you won’t know where to start 🙂
I also borrowed several books from the library to better understand the saponification process.
Well constructed, clear recipes that you want to do, practical information, it’s almost perfect.
Because the recipes are all elaborated with pearl/straw caustic soda that you have to dilute yourself in water.
And it doesn’t suit me too much… Indeed, when you make even your own soda lye (dilution of pearl soda in water), it gives off corrosive fumes. It is thus necessary to do it in a well ventilated place, without any draught to avoid that the soda beads get lost in the air, or use a cartridge mask…
Anyway, I don’t feel comfortable enough with that yet…
So I buy my soda laundry ready-made at the supermarket. It’s a stress and a step down. We’ll see about diluting it ourselves when I feel like using something other than water to dilute my soda (some use hydrolats or fruit juices for example). But for the moment the ready-made soda lye is better for me, the soda lye I buy is a 30.5% dilution of soda.
The soda lye that I buy is a 30.5% dilution of soda, but in the recipes in the book, it is not necessarily the dilution used…
In the recipes I tested, the dilution was lower and in this case, a small mathematical calculation must be made to determine the weight of water to be added.
But for fear of making a mistake, I prefer to use the soap calculators that have proven themselves and will tell me how much soda to use.
Apart from this soda lye story that I don’t feel like doing myself yet, this book is really great to start with.
Once you get started and want to make your own recipes, the saponification calculators will quickly become indispensable. These mini softwares will allow you to determine the quantity of soda needed according to the chosen oils and some of them will even give you the future qualities/defects of your soap!
Indeed, all the properties/composition of hundreds of oils have been entered and the machine calculates by itself the quantity of lye or soda + water necessary to have a soap that is not caustic.
I use soapcalc and I compare the result with another one like the one of aroma zone or the Sage for example (just to check that I didn’t make a mistake I always prefer to use 2 calculators).
I enter the oils in the recipe, I specify that I use a 30.5% soda lye and hop! The calculator tells me the weight of soda lye I should use!
For example, I made the “Sunbathing” recipe from the book “mes savons au naturel” above:
It says you have to:
250 grams of coconut oil
150g palm oil
150g of shea butter
450 of olive oil
136 g of caustic soda (therefore in pearl form)
350g of water to dilute it
+ synergy of essential oils to perfume.
As I use a ready-made soda lye, I can’t make the recipe directly, I have to go through a calculator that will tell me how much soda lye to use.
I enter on soapcalc the quantities of oils, I specify the dilution of my soda lye and the percentage of surgras desired (the recipe indicates that the soap must be 8% surgras).