Soap is created through the saponification process. That process occurs when fats/butter/oils are combined with a strong base.

I use only vegetable oils, such as coconut oil, and I use lye (sodium hydroxide) as the base. Lye is water soluble and must be dissolved in a water based liquid, such as distilled water, milk or aloe vera juice.

There are several different methods for making soap. I usually make my soap using the 'cold process' method, described below:

Cold Process:
  1. Create a soap recipe. I strongly encourage the use of a lye calculator. I use this Calculator.
  2. Prepare the mold. If using a wooden mold, line with freezer paper. If using a silicone mold, place it on a baking sheet so you can move it later and cut a piece of freezer paper to place on top. Have two thick towels ready to cover the mold.
  3. Melt oils and butters in a pot over low heat.
  4. Pour the lye into the water slowly. The lye should always be added to the water, not the other way around. Lye is caustic and should be handled with care. This is an exothermic reaction so the mixture will need to cool a little before mixing with the oils.
  5. Pour the lye mixture into the melted oil and begin stirring with a whisk. You can continue using a whisk but it may take awhile. I use an immersion blender to speed up the process.
  6. At trace add any extra ingredients, such as colloidal oatmeal and essential oils. Trace is reached when a drop of soap leaves a slight impression on the surface before blending in.
  7. Pour the soap into the mold. Cover with the towels and let sit for 12-24 hours until firm enough to unmold and cut into bars.
  8. Let sit for 4-6 weeks to cure before using. This is to let the saponification process finish and most of the water to evaporate.