Lye has been used for generations as a basic ingredient in soaps. Lye is a chemical that is used as the agent when added to soap. It is used to hold all the ingredients together and to break down the fats and oils when the soap comes in contact with water, thereby melting the soap. It is a harsh chemical that can dissolve grease, dirt and oil. Some people are very sensitive to this ingredient and can cause them to develop skin allergies and lesions. But lye is not totally harmful. Lye comes in many grades and has many applications in the chemical, industrial, food and cosmetic industries. If you are one of those people who want to use chemical-free products and are inclined to make personal care products on their own using organic ingredients, below are some tips on how to make natural soaps without lye. Following is the melt and pour method that results in softer soaps, which you can mold in delicate designs.
- Buy a block of glycerin soap. There are marks on top of the block of glycerin soap where you can cut or chop it into smaller pieces. Three pieces cut on the mark will make one bar of glycerin soap.
- Place the pieces of glycerin soap into the top pot of a double boiler and heat the water in the bottom pot using medium high heat until it is simmering. Melt the glycerin soap until it turns to clear liquid.
- If you wish to add color to your soap add a few drops of food coloring into the melted glycerin. Stir until the color is has fully blended. Remember that the color will be darker while the soap is in liquid form and will lighten once the soap has dried. Use pastel shade to give your glycerin soap a dainty look.
- Add a few drops of fragrance oil in your favorite scent if your want your soaps to be delicately scented. Omit this step if you would rather have unscented soaps. Fragrance oils are better suited for use when making soap than essential oils that have stronger scents.
- Mix the solution thoroughly so that the fragrance will be evenly distributed. Pour the liquid soap into the molds that you have selected. You can add embellishments to your soap at this stage. You can pour a thin layer of soap mixture into the mold and add a layer of oatmeal before adding more soap mixture to fill the mold. You can also add flower petals, small flowers such as lavender into the mixture. Pour a layer of soap mixture into a mold. Get a small flower and place it face down on the soap mixture. Hold it for a few minutes until the soap begins to harden around the flower before filling the rest of the soap mold so that the flower will not float to the surface. Push small flowers into the mold in the same way. Shake the mold or bounce it a few times on a flat surface so that the soap will be evenly distributed in the mold and air bubbles will be removed. Leave the soaps to cool down and harden for about an hour before removing them from the molds. Allow to air dry further to make the soaps firmer.
Your lye-free soaps will be softer than regular bars of soap. Wrap the
soaps in wax paper or store in an airtight container as temperature
changes can affect the surface of the soaps. Do not wrap them in
cellophane if you are going to give them as a gift. The color of the
cellophane may transfer to the soaps and mar their appearance.