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Video:How to Create Personalized Soap Recipes

with David Fisher

It's easy to create personalized soap recipes by choosing exactly what oils go into them. See these instructions for how to create personalized soap recipes and make it your own custom creation.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Create Personalized Soap Recipes

Hi I'm David Fisher from About.com

Soap making is a wonderful combination of science and art and craftmaking and cooking. You combine all of these ingredients together and come out with a wonderful sensual bar of soap.

Creating a Personalized Soap Recipe

One of the first things soap makers do once they've mastered the basics of making soap is begin to create their own recipes. Now a lot of people start with a published recipe like the ones in books, or on this site, and that is perfectly fine. But most soap makers some time or another feel the urge to make it their own...and the key to making the soap recipe your own is to create your own recipe. And other than changing the fragrance or the color...the key to creating your own recipe is choosing the oils that go into your soap. You can change the percentages of certain oils...or try new oils or new combinations of oils. The oils are the building blocks for your soap - what oils you choose...in what percentages...determine the qualities of your soaps.

Qualities of Soap

And by qualities...I'm talking about 4 major things…

The hardness...how hard, stable, long lasting the bar of soap is going to be

The lather...how much lather the soap is going to make...and what kind of lather it's going to make…

The conditioning...how good it's going to be for your skin...how healing or how moisturizing…

And the fourth category kind of encompasses all of the other three - and that's the luxury oils - those are the expensive, but wonderful oils...luxury oils can contribute hardness, lather and conditioning.

All of the oils we generally use as soap makers pretty much fall into one of these categories. And like I said, it's the combination of oils that gives your soap its unique qualities.

Blocks of Soap

So...since we're talking about building blocks, we're going to use...blocks.

So...for the "hard" oils...we're going to use these green blocks. Hard oils would be oils like palm, beef tallow, lard. They're the backbone of our soap recipes - giving us stable, long lasting, hard bars of soap.

But for soap at least, stable and long lasting is not very exciting, we want some bubbles in there - some lather. So for the "lathering" oils, we're going to use these bright red blocks. These oils would be primarily coconut, but also palm kernel and castor oil. These oils will give you the rich bubbly lather that makes your soap exciting. But too much excitement can be draining...or rather drying to your skin. Coconut and palm kernel oils are such good cleansers that they clean all of the natural oils right off of your skin and can leave it dry.

Conditioning Oils for Personalized Soap

So to balance out our oils, we have the conditioning oils - which we'll use these blue blocks for. These oils would be olive, sunflower, soybean, almond, canola and other liquid oils. For the most part, they don't last as long, don't make as hard a bar of soap, don't lather as well, but they're really gentle and moisturizing to your skin.

So...could you make a bar of soap with just one of these oils...you bet. A castile or 100% olive oil soap would be just blue blocks. Just two...sure. You've heard of palmolive...palm - olive...that would be half blue and half green.

Recipe for Personalized Soap

But the best soaps are going to be a balance of all three types of oils. A little bit hard, a little bit lathering and a little bit conditioning. The basic soap recipes I have here on the site are about 1/3 hard oils, 1/3 lathering oils and 1/3 conditioning oils. And it's a really good place to start with your own recipes. And even if you start there, you can still tailor your recipe - these are really broad categories - each of the oils in each of the categories has its own particular fatty acid makeup - and will be slightly different than the other.

So for this 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 recipe, you could have for your hard oils, 2 parts beef tallow and one part lard...or 3 parts palm oil. For your lathering oils, you could have 3 parts coconut, or add in a half a part castor oil. For your conditioning oils, you could have 1 part olive, one part almond and one part soybean.

And we haven't even talked about the luxury oils - but for the most part, the luxury oils fall into one or two of the three basic categories. Shea butter and cocoa butter fall into hard category...but also the conditioning. Avocado or grapeseed or macadamia nut oil would fall into just the conditioning oils category.

So to create your own recipe, you just experiment with the balance of these oil categories in your soap. Want a harder, more lathering soap - let's say for a kitchen hand soap - take out some of the conditioning oils, and add in some hard oils and lathering oils. Want just the opposite? A gentle, moisturizing, mild soap...lose some of the lathering and hard oils, and use a higher percentage of the conditioning oils.

And like I said, even within those categories, the individual oils will all make a little bit different soap. The key is to find just the right combination and balance of oils for a soap that you love...that's uniquely yours.

Thanks for watching...for more recipes and soap making information, visit us at About.com
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