Our Guide to Making Hemp Soap at Home!
Looking for something new to do when you’re stuck at home? Have you already tried making sourdough? Have you completed every puzzle in the house? Making your own homemade soap is a fun and easy activity. But, most importantly, you get to make your soap exactly as you like. You can control everything that is going in your soap from oils to fragrance and colour.
The end product will be better than anything you buy in a store.
Read on to discover how to make incredible hemp soap for every body in your household.
3 Ways to Make Soap at Home
There are 3 main ways to make soap at home:
1. Melt and Pour Soap
This method uses a “Melt & Pour Base”. There are so many different bases to choose from. This is a great activity to do with small children. Melted soap is simpler than hot or cold process, and the end result is great!
2. Hot Process Soap
Hot Process Soap combines lye and oils together at high temperatures. This speeds up the process. Hot process ups the chemical reaction game and requires experience and specialized equipment.
3. Cold Process Soap
Cold process soap combines lye and oils together at low temperatures. It requires a long curing time but the final result is worth the wait! That's why the rest of this tutorial is devoted to cold processed soap. Read on to learn how to DIY at home.
Your Ingredients, Your Way!
The main ingredients for cold processed soap are:
- essential oils
- additives like dried herbs.
Here is the low-down.
Oils and Butters
Oils and butters are the main base of soap making. Some oils are better at creating a lather, and some are better at creating a hard and long-lasting bar of soap.
My top picks for the oil phase are:
- Olive oil - easy to find and moisturizing for the skin. It makes a creamy soap.
- Coconut oil - excellent in cold pressed soap and found in lots of different recipes. It makes a soap that cleans well and helps to improves the hardness of soap.
- Hemp seed oil - contains high levels of unsaturated fats which makes a moisturizing bar of soap. It is great for sensitive skin. One of the benefits of hemp seed oil is deep moisture (check out more on this here). The essential fatty acids in hemp oil are super nourishing for skin when mixed into a soap bar.
- Cocoa butter - adds firmness and moisture to soap.
- Shea butter - creates a firm and long lasting bar of soap with a rich and hydrating lather.
Lye is the chemical that turns oil into soap through a process called saponification. Lye can be found in liquid or powder form and is commonly called Sodium Hydroxide or Caustic Soda. Lye is extremely caustic, think drain cleaner, and will damage skin.
Saponification Process: When you combine oil and lye, the mixture will warm up and the chemical reaction is called saponification. The triglycerieds in the fat are reacting with the sodium hydroxide in the lye to form the soap (fatty acid metal salts) and the byproduct (glycerol). When you make your soap at home, you keep all of the moisturizing glycerol in the soap. This makes a better bar of soap. Most commercial soap manufacturers remove the glycerol and sell it at a profit. The downside of this is that the soap is drying and not very good for your skin.
Natural essential oils give a pleasant scent to soaps and have therapeutic properties.
Some of my favorite essential oils are:
- Lavender oil has a soothing and relaxing aroma. Lavender is also anti-fungal and anti inflammatory and it’s safe for sensitive and eczema prone skin.
- Tea tree oil has anti-microbial and antiseptic properties. Tea tree oil has a strong scent, so use this oil sparingly.
- Neroli oil is made from the blossom of sweet oranges. It has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation and is good for scars. Neroli blends very well with lavender and this scent combination is the basis for one of empyri’s hemp soaps.
- Cedarwood and Patchouli oil are great for warm and earthy blends. These two essential oils are wonderful in a shaving soap bar.
Dried herbs are a lovely addition to a homemade soap bar. You can try lavender flowers, calendula flower petals, bentonite clay or finely ground oatmeal.
If you want to colour your soap bar without chemicals, you can choose naturally colored oils. For example, you can use hemp seed oil for a green hue or seabuckthorne seed oil for an orange hue.
The Soap-Making Gear You'll Need
To make cold processed soap at home, you will need a few pieces of equipment. You probably already have most of it in your kitchen.
- Protective gear (safety goggles, gloves and a good apron). Safety first!
- Immersion blender
- Sharp knife, large mixing spoon, spatula
- Soap mold - these come in pretty silicone singles with patterns, or you can use a regular loaf pan
Directions: Ready, Set, Make Hemp Soap!
OK, now that you’ve got your ingredients and equipment ready, it’s time to make your soap.
Here is one of my favorite recipes for Hemp Oil Soap.
Hemp Oil Soap: Hemp + Cocoa Butter Soap Recipe
150g Olive Oil
125g Coconut Oil
100g Hemp Seed Oil
75g Cocoa Butter
50g Avocado Oil
¼ cup finely ground oats (colloidal oatmeal)
190g filtered water
70g lye (NaOH) (this is a 5% superfat)
12g lavender essential oil
5g neroli essential oil
3g patchouli essential oil
Step 1: Mix Water and Lye. Measure out your room temperature filtered water and lye into two separate containers. Always work in a well ventilated area. Slowly pour the lye into the water. The mixture will warm up and steam. Allow it to cool.
Use caution! NEVER pour water into lye this is dangerous and will cause the lye to volcano up out of the container.
Step 2: Combine oils and butters in a double boiler and gently heat until everything melts. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Step 3: Add lye mixture to oil mixture and blend with an immersion blender until they reach the tracing point. Trace is the point when the mixture has emulsified and becomes cloudy and milky and is the consistency of pudding.
Step 4: Add oatmeal and mix well.
Step 5: Pour into a mold and wrap to insulate for the next day or two.
Step 6: Pop soap out of mold and cut if necessary.
Step 7: Cure bars in a dark and cool room for 4-6 weeks, turning occasionally.
When you are finished making your soap, wear gloves to clean your work surface and tools. Make sure to remove any remaining lye. When in doubt, white vinegar will neutralize lye and make it safe to use again.
Congratulations, You've Done It!
It's currently -20 degrees Celsius here in South Western Ontario, so we're always looking for new indoor activities to try. Making cold processed hemp soap at home is fun, easy and super rewarding. Try it by yourself or invite the whole family to join!
Start practicing your homemade hemp soap-making skills now and you'll be a master by the time it's time for stocking stuffers again.
Enjoy the (cold) process of trying something new, because
You Are Loved.
Want to read more, check out our blog on allergies to knowing about hemp allergies here
Author Bio: Jennifer is the president and founder of empyri. Jennifer’s passion for formulation and product development was set ablaze in 2019, when she incorporated the healing power of cannabis roots into her long-standing three-step skin care system. Armed with scientific evidence on the actives in cannabis roots and seeds, a clean and conscious brand was born. Using her masters degree in bio-chemical engineering, Jennifer is forging a path to ...READ FULL BIO