Saturday, October 15, 2016
I usually like to make soap that is packed with essential oils. They're fun to experiment with, have medicinal and therapeutic qualities, and just add to the pleasant experience of using handmade soap. But for a change of pace, I wanted to make a batch of soap that didn't rely on the presence of essential oils (which can be expensive) but still had a nice, subtle scent. These humble bars are a classic combination of skin soothing oatmeal, lightly exfoliating and warming cinnamon, and moisturizing honey- all things you can pick up at the grocery store without breaking the bank.
If you're new to making cold process soap, you can read about it in my basic how to post here. The base recipe in that tutorial post calls for vegetable shortening, which doesn't make the highest quality bars (they can be a little slimy) but does make the soap go to trace quicker and more obviously than other vegetable based fats. If you are just trying out soap making for the first time, I'd recommend going with the vegetable shortening version to get the hang of it first. If you've done this before, use the recipe below, as the lather is much nicer and the bars are harder.
Plain and Simple Cinnamon Oatmeal Honey Soap
200 grams sodium hydroxide (lye)
19 ounces distilled water
21 ounces olive oil
16 ounces coconut oil
14 ounces palm oil
1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Prepare your work area and weigh out all ingredients. Grind oatmeal to desired texture in a clean coffee grinder. Combine lye and water, and slowly melt the oils over low heat. Once the lye solution and the oil solution have cooled to 100 degrees (or as low as 90 degrees, as long as both are the same temperature), combine and stir until trace. At trace, add the oatmeal, cinnamon, and honey. Stir to combine and pour into mold. Follow remaining basic soapmaking steps, bars are ready to use after a month of curing and will continue to harden the longer you let them cure (a harder bar is a longer lasting bar!).
I've been using this soap for about a week now, and I love how it turned out! It has a very creamy lather and is very gentle on the skin. The scent is light, and smells like a warm pastry fresh from the oven. The oatmeal and cinnamon lend the bars a gentle exfoliating property and a rich golden color. Honey contains vitamins C, D, and E as well as a number of B vitamins and helps hydrate the skin without being greasy. Bear in mind that temperatures above 100 degrees will destroy many of the active ingredients in honey, so be sure to add it at trace when the soap has cooled down considerably.