It is very easy to do your own homemade lye soap. You do not really need special ingredients because everything that you need can be found at your nearest grocery store.
For your basic homemade lye soap, all you need is a combination of fat and lye with water for the catalyst. For a more luxurious soap, you can add aromatherapy or scented oils and dyes for cool colors. Some people use tap water while some use distilled or rainwater.
Lye (sodium hydroxide) is a chemical used in soaps that can cause skin burns so it is very important to be careful when using it. Before using it, be sure to read the instructions and then follow them carefully.
When making homemade lye soap, you may want to use a lye calculator to be sure that you are using the right amount of lye on your soap. The amount of lye that you will use depends on the type of fat or oil that you are going to use.
To begin with your homemade lye soap put the lye in a bowl of water. Take note: pour the water first and then lye and not vice versa. It is better if your water has ice in it. Continuously stir the soap mix and be aware of the reaction that will occur. Lye causes the water to boil. Stop stirring and wait for the simmering to stop. After the bubbling stops, let the soap base mix cool down under room temperature.
You can use whatever type of oil that can be used for making soap. Oils can come from plants, vegetables or from hydrogenated oils to animal fats. If you are going to use animal fat, just make sure that it is clean, fresh, contains no salt and has no solid and rough particles. The advantage of using animal fats (lard or tallow) is that is makes soap denser compared to plant oils. What is good about using plant oils from coconuts is that the soap will produce creamy lather while olive oil gives out silky, fine bubbles that are gentle to the skin.
The reaction between the animal fat and lye is called “saponification”. It may take more time to reach trace (the joining of lye and oils). Once it reaches trace you can now add both coloring and scented oils. Afterwards, pour the soap base mix in the mold and let it cool down until it solidifies. Let your homemade lye soap cure for two to three days and let it completely dry for best results.