You will find different recipes and many of these are available online. The best ones use nothing more than fresh or powdered goats milk, some oils and lye. For the oils, choose some that will nourish and moisturize your skin. These include olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, castor oil, rice bran oil and cocoa or shea butter. If you want to make a scented soap, you can also add a blend of essential oils, such as tea tree, lavender, ylang ylang, rose or orange. Most essential oils also have properties that are therapeutic.
The first step is to mix the lye with the milk to start a process called saponification. This is the chemical reaction between an alkali and fats. Sprinkle the lye bit by bit over the milk and mix it. You’ll need to wear rubber gloves and take care though because lye can burn your skin. It’s a good idea to keep the mixture in an ice bath to keep it cool.
When your lye mixture is ready, it’s time to blend the oils. Some oils, such as coconut oil, and butters are solid at room temperature so you will need to melt them first. You can do this by placing them in the sun for a while or by gently heating them on the stove. Then add the liquid oils.
The next step is to blend the oils with the mixture of lye. Use a whisk or a spoon to stir everything together and get rid of lumps. At some point, which in soap-making circles is called trace, the mixture will emulsify. This means that it has reached the point where it won’t separate.
You shape your soap by pouring it into molds. Craft stores usually have a good selection of molds available. However, bear in mind that you need to keep the mixture cool, so smaller molds are more suitable. If you prefer, you can place the molds in the freezer beforehand.
Your mixture needs to stay in the molds for 24 hours to set. Then you can remove the solid bars and, if necessary, cut them into slices or smaller bars. Let the bars cure for a month or so and then package them the way you want. For example, you can wrap them in brightly colored paper or simply tie a pretty ribbon around them.
Homemade goats milk soap has several benefits. Because it doesn’t have any harmful chemicals in it, it will be gentle and moisturizing rather than drying. In fact, it’s great for treating redness, itchiness, eczema and acne. Because it lathers into a creamy foam, it makes a great shaving soap too. Best of all is that it makes unique, special gifts.
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