March 20 = the first day of spring and my 27th birthday!
To celebrate, my sister treated me to a soap-making workshop. Would you consider that a hint that I stink? If so, I’ll overlook that scary thought since my sister, mom and I absolutely had a blast at the event.
So, how did we do it?
The state park-sponsored class had it’s 10 participants divided into pairs of two to make five different types of soap. My sister and I got to make charcoal soap (which is good for your skin and clearing up acne). The class also made clove and oatmeal, Base 1, Base 2, and spearmint soaps (which mom made with her partner).
We used the cold-process method, which essentially means it’s easy to make but has a longer waiting period before the soap can be used. Anyways, our recipe called for us to:
1. First, prepare the mold. We took wax paper and covered the insides of our wooden mold box so we would be able to get the soap out after it harden.
2. Add 10.7 ounces of lye to 30.4 ounces of water and stir until dissolved. Set aside to cool to 120 F.
3. Melt 12 ounces of coconut oil and 32 ounces of lard, then add to 32 ounces of olive oil and 4 ounces of castor oil. Heat or cool as needed to reach 120 F. This section took forever and we blew the kitchen’s breaker in the process. We also cooled our lye solution as we waited for everything to melt.
4. Once temperatures match, blend the lye solution into the oils.
5. Stir the mixture until the soap traces. The teacher told us to alternate between a blender and hand stirring until trace, which is basically when the mixture is like pancake batter (light trace) and gravy/pudding (heavy trace).
6. At trace, add 5 tablespoons charcoal (or more as needed).
7. When blended, pour soap in the prepared mold.
And voilà! We now have 5 pounds of charcoal soap that will be ready in four weeks. Our instructor said the wait period allows the soaps ingredients to settle in so they don’t irritate your skin.
The soap-making task was easier to do and I could probably do it again by myself. Will I? Probably not — I don’t like working with lye.
Still, it was a great birthday present — THANK YOU LIBBY!!