Making homemade soap not only provides us with natural soaps on the homestead, but it’s also a creative outlet. This year I am committed to trying new techniques, additives, and all-natural ingredients to make small batches of unique soaps. Soaps created with peppermint essential oil are my all-time favorite. I wanted to make a winter soap that not only featured my favorite minty scent but captured the essence of the season. Cocoa mint soap is reminiscent of a warm cup of hot chocolate, stirred with a peppermint stick on a cold winter morning.
Perfect Blend of Science
Making invigorating soap starts with great ingredients. It’s especially important to measure each one correctly, as slight variations can affect the outcome of the soap. This can be hard! Especially if you like to measure your oils into a single container. Once you have poured too much, there is no going back! The reason this is so important is that each oil or butter is assigned a saponification value also referred to as SAP value. This means each oil is assigned a value that determines the amount of sodium hydroxide required to transform the oil into soap.
To ensure that each soap bar is moisturizing, most soap recipes include a superfat. A superfat is simply excess oil in the soap recipe that will remain unsaponified, typically homemade soap has a 5% superfat. Each recipe should be formulated to provide the perfect amount of lye required to correctly saponify the oil. Additionally it should create a soap that is luxurious and nourishing to all skin types.
Using Trusted Recipes
If you have ever tried new recipes you found online, only to have them completely fail, you will certainly understand the importance of evaluating any new soap recipes to ensure that the recipe is a correct balance of lye mixture and oils. Soap calculators are the perfect way for new soap makers to easily evaluate a soap recipe’s SAP values to ensure that the soap you are making is well-balanced. Additionally SoapCalc evaluates the quality of the soap (in the red box below), whether it is conditioning, cleansing, or bubbly.
The best thing about making your own soap is you completely control the quality of the ingredients you use. Maybe using organic ingredients is important to you. Possibly, you prefer only vegan ingredients, using rich plant oils or seed butter. Possibly, you prefer naturally rendered oils that you can produce on the homestead. No matter your preference, you will be able to choose each ingredient to your exact specifications.
My basic goat milk soap recipe included the following oils:
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All Natural Colorants
One of my goals this year is to learn how to color my soaps using natural colorants. What could be better to color a chocolate mint soap than real cocoa powder? While I simply used the cocoa powder in my pantry, you could substitute it for organic cocoa powder or take it even further and use pure cacao powder instead. To create a swirled pattern in my soap, I colored only a portion of the soap batter. The pure cocoa powder can be sifted into the soap batter, however, I simply used my immersion blender to ensure that the cocoa powder was thoroughly mixed.
To swirl the soaps, I first poured in the base color. Then holding the secondary color high above the mold, I poured the second color. The distance, allows the second color to penetrate deeper into the mold, helping to mix the colors. Once both colors were added I lightly swirled. Be sure to pay attention to the edges and sides, but be careful not to overswirl causing the soap variations to simply blend, not swirl.
This cocoa mint soap has a fragrance like a rich peppermint patty! While I prefer to scent my soaps with pure essential oils, fragrance oils provide a lot of options for scenting soap. The addition of peppermint essential oil to natural soaps provides the added therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy. A hot shower to smooth sore muscles, with the therapeutic blends of peppermint helps reduce stress after a long day.
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Invigorating Scent Perfect All Year Long
While my cocoa mint soap was designed to remind me of a steaming cup of hot cocoa, it’s perfect all year long! Remember, even though it smells like mint chocolate ice cream, it’s still for external use only!
About the Author: Barbra-Sue Kowalski grew up on a small hobby farm. She was always drawn to farm life, however, she was stuck in an urban life far from her roots. Barbra-Sue was a single mom for 13 years, raising her 3 children on her own. She met Philip in 2018 and they married in 2021. Between the two of them, they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren. These empty nesters are following their dreams! As they both turn 50, they are building their off-grid homestead to live the life that they dream about. Learn more about Philip and Barbra-Sue here. Contact them here. To leave a comment on this post, please scroll down.