Vol.2, No.1

How to make homemade glycerine soap

A guide to making your own glycerine soap at home, as well as suggestions for how to "personalize" your soap.

Bars of homemade glycerin soap
Photo Credit: Rebecca Paul
Have you ever wondered exactly what all goes into the making of everyday items like soap? It's actually much simpler than you might think, and can be done in the comfort of your own home. All that you'll need are a few basic ingredients, some molds, and a little bit of time.

First of all, you're going to need to get your ingredients. Glycerin soap bases can be purchased at most hobby and craft stores, and can come in either transparent or opaque... you can also buy other ingredients for soap such as lye and go from there. The following recipe uses the soap base, preferably clear, since it's easier to use than lye and reduces the need for other chemicals.

Here's what you'll need:

glycerin soap base (The amount can vary depending upon whether you buy it by itself, or as part of a kit... you'll probably use 2-3 cups for this.)

1 oz. castor oil

1 oz. shea butter

2 oz. ground oatmeal

1 tsp. beeswax

7-10 drops of either sweet orange oil or lavender essential oil

1-2 drops food coloring, either orange or purple

In addition, you'll need a double boiler, molds, a mixing bowl, and a wooden spoon with which to mix the soap.

The first thing that you need to do is melt the glycerin soap base. It can be done in the microwave, though this can cause a mess if you're not careful... that's why it's recommended that you use the double boiler. The two compartments of the double boiler will help to insure even melting while reducing the risk of burning or fire; never try to melt the base with a single pot on the eye of a stove. It's also best to use as low of a heat as possible to melt the soap base; this extends the life of the soap.

Once you've got your soap base melted, pour it into your mixing bowl and start adding your other ingredients one by one. The castor oil will aid the soap in lathering, and the shea butter adds moisturizing qualities to the soap. Beeswax will make the soap a little hardier and help it to last longer, and the oatmeal not only nourishes the skin but can also serve as somewhat of an exfoliating agent. The scented oils and food coloring give a "flavor" to the soap... use the orange oil with the orange coloring to make orange soap, and the lavender with the purple coloring to make lavender soap. (Just make sure that you don't go overboard with the scent or the coloring... you don't want an overpowering scent, and you definitely don't want the soap to color your skin!)

After you've mixed the soap, pour it into molds and let it dry. Soap made in this manner will usually dry overnight, but in certain humidities it may take a bit longer. Once dry, remove your soap from the molds and use a knife to smooth any rough edges. To store the soap, it's recommended that you use plastic wrap or keep it in an airtight container, since it's possible that soap left out in the open air can pick up moisture from the air around it.

And there you have it! Quick and easy homemade glycerin soap that you can be proud of.