Natural Vegan and palm-oil free simple cold process shea butter face soap recipe. The recipe includes a superfatting step for adding the shea butter after trace. Depending on the mold that you use, the recipe can make between four to eight bars. Technical information: 1lb / 454g batch -- 7% superfat -- 35.7% water discount
Prepare your workstation with your tools and equipment. Put on rubber gloves, eye protection, and an apron. Carefully pre-measure the ingredients. The solid oils into the pan, the liquid oils into a jug, the shea butter in a small saucepan or microwaveable dish, the water into a heat-proof jug, and the lye in another container.
Mix the Lye Solution
In an airy place, outdoors is best, pour the lye crystals into the distilled water and stir well. There will be a lot of heat and steam so be careful. Try not to breathe it in. Leave outside in a safe place, or in a shallow basin of water to cool.
Add the sodium lactate to the lye solution after it's cooled below 130°F / 54°C. You're aiming for the final temperature of the lye solution to be bout 95-100°F / 35-38°C.
Melt the Solid Oils
Melt the solid oils in a stainless steel pan on very low heat. When melted, remove from the heat and set on a potholder. Stir the liquid oils together in the jug and pour into the pan of melted oils. Castor oil is pretty sticky and it's easier to pour when mixed with a lighter oil.
Measure the temperatures of the lye-water and the oils. You should aim to cool them both to be about 95-100°F / 35-38°C.
While the oils and lye solution are cooling, you need to melt the shea butter to a fully liquid consistency. You can do this easily by microwaving for short bursts and stirring. My preferred method is to put it into a small saucepan, then float this saucepan in another pan of hot water. It's a gentler way to melt the shea butter.
Make sure the shea butter is fully melted before moving to the next step. The temperature of this melted oil is best kept as low as possible -- just above shea butter's melting point of about 104°F/40°C. It doesn't have to be bang on, it just needs to be fully melted and not sputtering hot.
Make the Face Soap
Now it's time to make the face soap. You begin by pouring the lye solution into the pan of oils. I recommend pouring the liquid through a sieve to catch any potential undissolved lye.
Dip your immersion blender into the pan and with it turned off, stir the mixture. Next, bring it to the center of the pan, and with both your hands, hold it on the bottom of the pan and blitz it for just a couple of seconds. Turn it off and stir the soap batter, using the blender as a spoon. Repeat until the mixture thickens up to 'Trace'. This is when the batter leaves a distinguishable trail on the surface. The consistency will be like thin custard.
Next, pour the melted shea butter and optional essential oil into the soap. Stir it quickly but gently.
Molding and Curing
Working quickly, pour the soap into the mold. Give it a jiggle to settle it in the cavities.
For a light-colored soap, cover the exposed soap in the mold with cling film and place the soap in the refrigerator overnight. You don't have to do this step though. You can leave the mold on a kitchen countertop to cool and harden, and depending on the room temperature, it may turn out a slightly creamier color.
The next day, take the soap out of the fridge and set someplace to rest for another day. Once 48 hours have passed, you can take the soap out of the molds.
Cure it for 28 days. Curing means leaving the bars spaced out on a protected surface out of direct sunlight and in an airy place. This allows the extra water content to fully evaporate out. Here are full instructions on how to cure soap.
Once made, your soap will have a shelf-life of the closest best-by date of the specific ingredients you used.
The video shows how to make my eco-friendly soap recipe. It's similar to this one, but without the extra superfatting step of adding melted shea butter.*Although listed as 'optional', sodium lactate is useful in hardening all soap recipes, especially softer soap like this recipe. It's available as a powder or in liquid form and if you're using the liquid form, you'll need one teaspoon of it. If you're using the powder form, use only half a teaspoon and dilute it in one Tablespoon of the water amount you've measured for the lye. Do this before you begin, and mix the powder and water into its own small dish.If you don't use sodium lactate, it may take a week or two for your soap to be hard enough to pop out of the silicone mold cavities.