6 Weeks of Homemade Holidays Series - Week 1: Homemade Bath & Body Products

Going natural, when it comes to bath and body products, can many times mean spending a lot of money.  For those of you who would prefer to make your own, I'm sharing a few basic all-natural recipes based on some of the items we sell in our store.

I am so passionate about switching from commercial bath & body products to a higher quality natural product that whether you buy them from me, someone else, or make them yourself, I just hope you switch.

That being said, there are ingredients that you may not find in your hometown stores.  In those cases I've given you a few links to sources I've purchased from in the past.  You can also search the product name on the web and find additional sources to purchase them from.

Containers are the next thing that's hard to buy in small quantity.  The scrubs are easily stored and gifted in cute canning jars.  The lotion bars require a mold, and although most local craft stores carry them, I think they look great poured into a cupcake pan.  And the lip balm requires either tins, tubs or tubes.

I'm not using a preservative in the recipes because you have to buy quite a bit at one time.  If you're just making these for gifts, you would probably not even come close to using it up.  Because preservatives are not used, some of these products have an expiration date of  2-3 months {see each recipe for use by dates}.

The scents I'm using for the recipes are essential oils.  Essential oils are fairly easy to find in your local stores, usually at health food stores, in small quantities.  If you can't find them locally, shop online sources such as here and here.  You can absolutely switch them out with skin-safe fragrance oils if you'd prefer.

Sweet Orange Lip Balm
This recipe is based on the Chocolate-Covered Orange Lip Balm recipe I shared earlier in the year.  In this recipe we make a sweet orange flavor.  Bright, sweet and refreshing.

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Shea Butter
6-7 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil
2 drops Vitamin E oil {optional - can use capsules, just break one open}
6-8 lip balm tubes or tubs
*If you want a sweet lip balm, you can add a drop of honey with the essential oil*

In a microwave-safe pourable measuring cup or bowl, melt the beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter together at 30 second intervals, stirring at the end of each, until fully melted.  Stir in the essential oil and Vitamin E, if using.  If this makes it harden again, microwave it for 5-10 seconds.

Carefully pour into tubes or tubs and let sit until firm, about 2 hours.

**If mixture hardens to bowl before all is poured, microwave for a few seconds to remove**
**This can also be made in a double boiler-follow the same instructions for the order of adding ingredients.**

Use within 2-4 months.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub
Sugar scrubs are a great exfoliant leaving your skin feeling smooth and soft.  You use a sugar scrub in the shower after cleaning, rub gently all over your skin, rinse, towel dry.  This smells good enough to eat!  Again, you can make this any scent you'd prefer, just switch out the peppermint with an essential or skin-safe fragrance oil of your choice. 

When you label this, you may want to add a caution letting the recipient know the shower floor may become slippery when using.

2 - 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons Oil {Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, or a combination of the 3}
5-10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil {if using a different scent you may need up to double this, the peppermint is one of the stronger smelling oils}

In a bowl, stir all ingredients together.  Scoop into clean jars.

Makes 3 cups.
Use within 3 months.

Lavender-Orange Lotion Bar
Makes 4 lotion bars {if using cupcake pan}

What is a lotion bar?  A lotion bar is a concentrated lotion, hardened into a bar by beeswax, that offers extreme moisturizing abilities.  These are great to use on any skin, but particularly useful on dried areas such as feet, elbows and hands.  This recipe does include Shea Butter which you can find here or here.  It also requires a mold, which you can purchase a soap mold, or just use your cupcake pan {shown below}.

To use:  Rub the lotion bar onto the skin in need of moisturizing.  Although the bar is hard, it will gently begin to melt from the heat of your skin.  Rub the lotion that's now on your skin in.  Stop rubbing and allow it to gently soak into your skin.

1/2 cup beeswax {pellets or grated}
1/2 cup Shea Butter
1/2 cup Grapeseed Oil, Olive Oil or coconut oil
7 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil
3-4 drops Lavender Essential Oil

In the top of a double boiler, melt the beeswax over low heat.  Add the shea butter and grapeseed or olive oil and allow to fully melt.  Remove from heat and add essential oils.  Stir.  Carefully pour into a cupcake pan.  After about 2 hours the lotion bars should pop out of the molds and be ready to use. 

Store in a tin, jar, or glassine envelope.  Use within 2-3 months.
*I used a mini cookie cutter to lightly cut a design into the dried bar.*

Cold Process Rosemary-Peppermint Olive Oil Soap
makes 9 bars
Olive oil makes a solid, moisturizing bar of soap.  Although it is not a heavy lathering soap, it makes up for it in it's gentle, skin-softening qualities.  The blend of rosemary and peppermint is uplifting and refreshing.  If you aren't a fan of rosemary, eucalyptus blends nicely with peppermint as well.

You should be able to find all ingredients to make this soap locally.  I've had the best luck finding a pure lye at an ACE Hardware store over the big-box stores.  Make sure you're purchasing sodium hydroxide and that it has no filler.

The hardest part of making this soap is working with the lye.  It's really not that difficult though.  As long as you take the extra precautions, as noted in the directions, it should all come together in a total of about 1/2 hour, start to finish.  I mix my lye and water outside, so it can off-gas out of the house, then bring it in the house to blend with the oil.  It doesn't have much smell, but I take the extra precaution.

If you've never made cold-process soap before, this is a great starter recipe since it requires minimal ingredients.  If you're having a child or children help you with this, please be extremely careful as the lye gets very very hot and can burn skin quite easily.

All equipment that comes into contact with the lye should never be used for food.  All items should be tolerant of high-heat and if you're using anything metal, make sure it's stainless steel.  This is when thrift stores may come in handy, particularly if you don't plan on making soap regularly.  Try to find an inexpensive immersion blender, bowls and utensils that can be dedicated to soap making only.

Use a lesser-quality olive oil for soapmaking.  The main reason is if you use extra-virgin you will get a lot of the greenish-tint to the off-white soap but also, there's no reason spending the extra money on a high-quality oil since it will be cooked by the lye mixture.

This soap will dry to an off-white coloring.  If you would like to add a natural green coloring to this soap, stir in 1-2 Tablespoons Spirulina or Green Clay {skin-safe} when you stir in the essential oils.  I've found both of these products at our local health food store, although I've also linked them to online sources.

If you alter this recipe in any way, please run it back through a lye calculator to ensure you are using the correct amount of lye and water.  If you would like to read more about how to make cold process soap, this is a good basic article that breaks down many parts of soapmaking.

Equipment Needed:
  • a carton/mold {an empty 1/2 gallon milk carton would work perfect}
  • heat resistant {and stainless steel if it's metal} bowls/pitchers for measuring and mixing lye and water
  • heat resistant rubber spatula
  • measuring cups/spoons
  • rubber gloves {the mixture is hot - so in the event you get any splashed on you, this will help protect you}
  • safety goggles {protection from splashing}
  • dust mask, optional {the lye is very fine so when pouring it for measuring, I wear a dust mask}
  • scale
  • freezer paper {to line the mold}
  • stick/immersion blender
  • thermometer
  • sharp knife
  • towel {to wrap the mold in}

 3.4 ounces sodium hydroxide {lye}
9.0 ounces distilled water, at room temp

27.0 ounces Olive Oil

.50 ounces Peppermint Essential Oil
.40 ounces Rosemary Essential Oil

Prepare the mold:
If using a milk carton, cut one long side of the carton off to create a mold, open at the top.  Save the cut piece to use as a lid.  Wash and dry the carton thoroughly and line with a piece of freezer paper.

Put on the gloves, safety glasses and dust mask, if using.

Make the lye mixture:
Measure the lye and water in separate bowls/pitchers.  If you are concerned about the smell, do the next step outside.  Carefully and slowly, stirring constantly, add the lye to the water {never the other way around}.  Stir gently until the lye is completely dissolved.  Let sit until mixture lowers to below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat the oil:
When the lye mixture is just about to temp, heat the olive oil, in a heat-resistant bowl, to 100 degrees Fahrenheit {100-120 is a safe range}.

Mix the soap:
When both the oil and lye mixture are at temp, add the lye mixture, gently, to the olive oil.  I pour it down the shaft of the immersion blender to reduce air bubbles.  With the immersion blender fully immersed, turn it on and blend to a light trace.  The trace is the consistency of the soap mixture and a light trace means the mixture will look like the consistency of a milkshake.

Add the color and/or fragrance:
Pour the fragrance and/or color into the soap mixture.  Using the immersion blender, but not turning it on, stir the mixture to begin to incorporate both, for about 1 minute.  Making sure the blender is fully immersed into the mixture, turn it on and continue incorporating until you've achieved a medium trace.  Medium looks similar to cake batter.  If you turn off the blender, remove it from the mixture, and drizzle the oil mixture from the blender onto the top of the mixture, the drizzle should set on top of the mixture.

Pour the soap:
Pour the soap into the mold.  Using a spatula, get all the mixture out of the bowl and into the mold.  Tamp the mold firmly on the work surface once or twice to remove any air bubbles.  You can use a spatula to smooth the surface or drag it through the mixture to make a frosting-like consistency. 

Lay the piece of carton you cut off over the opening of the carton to act as a lid.  Very carefully wrap in a towel to insulate it, and set it aside for 16-18 hours.  100% olive oil soap hardens quicker than soap made with other oils, so check it after 16 hours.  If it seems firm, cut into bars.  If when you're cutting, the soap is sticking to the knife and won't cut, wrap it back up and allow to set a couple more hours before trying again.

Let the cut soap cure in a well-ventilated area for 3-6 weeks, turning bars every few days to allow them to cure evenly.

If stored out of direct sunlight, and kept dry, will keep indefinitely.

Happy Crafting!!
this post contains affiliate links


Leslie said...

It's so generous of you to share your awesome recipes and techniques here. Your blog is always so helpful and packed with information. I just wanted you to know that it is really appreciated!

luckybunny said...

Thank you so much for all these great recipes!! I cannot wait to try each of them. A lot of this stuff has been on my "to do" list. Hopefully when I get better I can try some of these recipes. You made such awesome stuff!

daisy g said...

Your products look amazing!!! I can't wait to order some for the holidays. You make me want to try my hand at making some of them too, but I have to admit, the soap is a bit intimidating. Maybe I'll just leave that to you experts... ;0D

born ambitious. born imaginative. said...

You are encouraging me!

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Homemade is always best!!! I've always wanted to learn to make soap and love your packaging!!!

Mary Woollard said...

Thank you for sharing the recipes! I would love to try some out. :) I've made a brown sugar scrub before, but I like the peppermint!It would be refreshing!!

The Little Acre that Could said...

That was very nice of you to share your recipes! Packaging is beautiful, yet again.

Our Neck of the Woods said...

It's so awesome of you to share your tips and tricks! The peppermint sugar scrub and lotion bar are calling my name! I've never used a lotion bar but I love the idea of it and would like to make my own. It's so neat that you made the bars in a cupcake tin and used a cookie cutter for a cute design on top! I'm hoping when we get more beekeeping experience under our belts we'll have some of our own beeswax to use in crafts :)

Sharon said...

Thank you so much for these beautiful recipes , just in time to make some christmas gifts x

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

You are all very kind. I hope some of you give them a try!! :)

Ruta Bute said...

Hi guys, I would like some advise please!! :D I made hard pressed soap in the past using carton shape for moulding and then cutting it. Today, however, I just poured it to the metal muffin mould and now sitting and thinking 'goodness me, how on earth I will take it out???'. Any experience with such mess anybody? I did not prep the mould, just washed it clean and poured prepped mixture in, silly me.. Thanks in advance for any tips xxx

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Ruta Bute - the soap should lift out of the molds. You may need to use a butter knife to release it, but it should be ok.