I decided to make cottonwood bud soap, due to the bud resins high antioxident properties, which makes it the perfect soap for aging skin! I am not sure how this happened, but it did and its beautiful. I put together a cottonwood soap recipe, for the first time, without really knowing how it was going to look. I just sort of winged it, and it looks amazing. There is some sort of reaction, maybe oxidization on the surface of the soap once it hits the air. If anyone knows why or how, please comment below!
I am going to walk my readers through a quick easy method for making hot processes soap. This recipe is basic, and can be altered, by using different infused oils, you can add in essential oils. Whatever your heart desires. I also wont be putting all of the details in how soap is made in general, as making soap is something everyone who does it, should do adequate research on before trying.
A quick lesson regarding soaps. My products are all natural, made with wildcrafted herbs and botanicals, always will be. But there's a slight thing about soap. in order to make soap you have to use LYE. The thing that many do not know about LYE i that it is used in soaps to create a chemical reaction that turns oils into ... soap! nd when done right, THERE IS NO LYE LEFT IN THE FINAL PRODUCT. There are several ways to test that, including a zap test of your soap. Making soap is simply not possible without the use of lye, unfortunately.
The olive oil in my recipe needed to be infused slowly over some time. I choose to infuse it on low in my crock pot, for almost two days! The results were just fantastic. I ended up with a very deeply colored fragrant cottonwood infused olive oil.
The infused olive oil after a few days of low heat! OMG it is so fragrant. After infusing, make sure to filter it with a cheese cloth first! One filtering is done, place the finished oils into a CLEAN crockpot, and add in your solid oils to melt together. In my case I used coconut oil, Bear tallow and castor oil.
While your oils are melting slowly, you can mix together your lye solution.
CAUTION ! Lye is corrosive and dangerous, keep it away from pets and children, wear protective gloves and eye were while mixing it. Make sure to have your windows and vents open for ventilation. Once your lye and water are measured out in separate containers, you can mix the water INTO the lye, by pouring the water down a spatula into the lye crystals. This prevents splashing. Mix well with a metal spoon and place someplace safe. The lye will give off temporary fumes and heat up. Dont forget ventilation!
Once the crock pot is at its perfect temperature, and all of teh oils have melted together, you can add in the lye solution. Again, pour it over top of the spatula to avoid splashback. Give it some good stiring and then use a stick blender a few times, making sure not to trap bubbles below the surface. You will start to see what is called trace. Once that happens, put the lid on and leave it to 'hot process" . It will be a fully formed gel stage, this indicates that your soap has reached the right temperature for it to be placed in the molds.
Here are my molds! For hot process you can leave them in the molds 24 to 48 hours, and then they can come out and will be ready to cut. Then they only need about a week in the air to full cure. Cold process takes much longer, which uses no heat, about 4 to 6 weeks. I aint got time for that ! Well I do but I really love this method, as I like to see my work done sooner rather then later.
Look at these beauties!!
The outside looks like a nice deep chocolate color, but wait until you see the surprise inside. Again, I have no idea how this happened, it just did.
These are so pretty! Deep chocolate color on the outside, but when you cut them, they are a yellowing color. And as they lay in the air, the yellow oxidizes to a deep red color. This may be from the deep red cottonwood sap resin!
Really pretty colors!
After 24 hours in the air, the look like little chocolates.
These are just my soap scraps. They look like little reese cups almost.
Now look at this final product. I am so amazed by how these turned out, I am going to try and make them long term.
And there you have it ! Cottonwood bud resin handmade soaps!
I want to add, The scent still made it past saponification! The scent is very light, but it is still there and when you lather the soap, the lather is a light pinkish color. Very neat. For your soap, you can infuse your olive oil with whatever plant you are working with , or steep it in the lye solution instead. soap making can be so versatile its amazing to work with. Here I will share a very basic recipe for soap, you will have to adjust it to fit your own needs, or just leave it as is to make a very plain yet simple soap.
BASIC SOAP RECIPE:
21.3 ounces olive oil ( infused if desired)
10 ounces of coconut oil
3 ounces tallow
1 ounce castor oil
12 ounces water
4.5 ounces lye
You will need a digital kitchen scale for the exact measurements, you can double or triple the recipe. swap oils for different ones, add in infused oils, ect.This recipe will make enough to fill one soap mold which yields about 10 4 oz bars!
If you like this short tutorial, and would like to see more about making soaps, please comment below!