Liquid Bastille Soap Experiment
We had been asked many times if we were going to create a face wash and body wash and after a lot of research, experimenting & pondering whilst having a shower (not together!! ) we decided to have a go at making our own bastille liquid soap to use as a base for our new products. You can purchase bases from suppliers for both liquid and hard soaps which many crafters use as they are easy and convenient to work with. As all that we have seen still have preservatives and additives in them we decided to go the hard yards so we could comfortably claim that they are pure.
We came up with a blend of olive, sunflower and coconut oil to make our liquid soap. Other cold pressed oils were added to our face and body washes to make products that are gentle,cleansing and moisturising. The soap blend only gently lathers, so we recommend using a body pouff with the body wash.
The process of making liquid soap is quite long and drawn out and can take up to 12 hours depending on which oils you use, and thats just to make the soap paste! it is a rewarding experience though and saves lots of $ as you can use it for many things. (think Dr Bronner’s which is $25 a litre)
There are several stages. First you need to work out what oils you want to use and the amount of water and lye needed. We use the Bramble Berry lye calculator. The next stage is melting your oils in a slow cooker (our preferred method) and slowly adding in your lye mixed into water solution (never the other way around!!) as you mix with a stick blender. Be sure to wear protective gear as the lye solution will burn if it comes into contact with your skin. The temperatures for the oils and the water mix need to be the same. 160 degrees f.
Keep mixing the soap paste on and off until it reaches a firm trace. You will no longer be able to use the stick blender, time to use a wooden or plastic spoon.
Push it down with your spoon and put the lid on (I keep my slow cooker on high) Keep your eye on it, every 20-30 mins give it a good stir. The whole process from adding the water/lye to the oils will take several hours. Our last batch took nearly 5. It depends on the oils used & the heat of your slow cooker. The lye cooks out of the soap during this process. The soap paste will start to turn translucent, when the whole batch looks like a honey/vaseline type of thing, you could be done. You can check by dropping a heaped tsp of your soap paste into a cup of boiling water. if the water is milky, keep cooking. If it is clear, your are finished 🙂
When it is done cooking, you can plop the whole lot into a stainless steel pot and add distilled water (Our soap paste required 1 part soap paste to 1.5 parts water).
If you want to only use part of your paste, store the rest in snap lock bags in the fridge.
Bring to the boil (never let it continue boiling) and then turn off and let sit so it dissolves. You can use a potato masher or fork to break it up into smaller chuncks, but it does take time to completely dissolve (can take over a day). You can use it right away, but all soaps get better with age. Store in glass jars.
Just FYI, here’s a bit of interesting information we found and thought we would pass on, about the difference between castile and bastille soap.
Whats the difference between Castile and Bastille soap other than the spelling?
The difference is the oil and fat components in the recipes. Soap is made of fats/oils/butters, water and lye. (The lye is Potassium Hydroxide for liquid soap and sodium hydroxide for hard soap)
Castile soap is made of only one type of oil, 100% olive oil. It is named after the region in spain, Castile where it originated.
Pure olive oil causes the soap not to lather in the same way as soaps made from several different oils. Some people like this, some not. As it doesn’t lather overly much, it is a very moisturising type of soap. It is very good for dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It also makes a very good gentle soap for babies.
Bastille soap however, is made from no less than 70% olive oil and a combination of other oils. As a result of the other oils (some more so than others, eg coconut oil and palm oil create more lather than sunflower or avocado oil) bastille is slightly more sudsy than castile.
If you are looking for a good project that will keep on giving for a while to come, you should think about making your own liquid soap. Its a good way to ditch the chemicals and is better for your family and the environment.
Laura & Sarah 😉