Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Beer Soap Making Tutorial

I am often asked how hard it is to make cold process soap and I always say, if you can make cup cakes you can make cold process soap!

The making of the soap is not particularly difficult, though because you use caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) you DO have to be careful and adhere to all the safety guidelines that go hand in hand with using a dangerous/caustic substance, like wearing safety goggles and a ventilation mask, enclosed shoes and protective clothing.

The more difficult part of soap making is formulating a balanced soap and producing that soap consistantly, batch after batch.

Every oil has its own properties and characteristics and therefore every oil also has its own SAP value, that is the amount of caustic soda needed to change it into soap. Picking a blend of oils with the characteristics you are after in the right amounts to make a balanced soap is a bit trickier.

You can get away with using other soap formula's that you find online but its always wise to run those through a soap calculator to make sure there were not any typo's in the formula's. A very easy to use soap calculator can be found here at Magestic Mountain Sage's website: I suggest you enter a few of the recipes they have on their site into their calculator to both check the recipe is correct and also there is a handy resizing button on their calculator so you can make each formula into the size you need it without having to work it all out yourself.

The liquids used to make this beer soap
Ok today I am going to walk you through the process I use to make cold process Beer Soap. Because I am using an alcohol to make my soap with, and alcohol can volcano out of the bowl once you add your caustic soda to it, I always freeze it.

Pre weighed and frozen beer/ginger beer mixture
So my first step in making my beer soap is to look in my cupboard and see what edible oils I have in there that I can use. I then work out a formula on my notepad and run it through my soap calculator to check on how much liquid I need for my formula and how much caustic soda I need to use.

weigh out the soft oils
I then take my liquid out and prepare it by weighing it into a container to the amount needed for my batch of soap and then popping it into the freezer for the next day.

weigh out the hard oils, these need to be gently melted before you make soap

I also like to prepare my oils phase earlier and I do this by again weighing all oils I will be using into my big saucepan or bucket and if needed melting them (palm oil is solid in winter and if you are going to use cocoa butter or shea butter that will need melting as well) and putting them aside till they are needed.

I do my soap this way because I then dont have to worry about the oils being too hot and having to cool them down before making soap.

Make sure you have everything ready to make soap before you start as once you start making soap you cant stop along the way!

When I am ready to make my soap make sure I have everything I need to make the whole batch of soap out on the bench, like my moulds, my colourants, my scents and any utensils and things I will need to complete my soap.

weighing out my frozen beer to check the amount

I then take my frozen beer/ginger beer mixture out of the freezer and I pop it into a stainless steel bowl. I then weigh out the amount of caustic soda I need to make my soap and immediately add it to the bowl on top of the frozen beer/ginger beer ice block and start stirring it around with my plastic spoon.
weigh out the caustic soda/sodium hydroxide/lye, being careful not to breathe any in
This starts the heat reaction happening faster and so as the ice block melts with that reaction, more caustic can dissolve and so on until its all melted and dissolved and ready to make soap with.

ALWAYS add the caustic to the liquid
DID YOU KNOW - Its SUPER IMPORTANT to remember to NEVER add the liquid you are using to the caustic!! ALWAYS add the caustic to the liquid, this is VERY important as if you mix it up you can have a very dangerous explosion of caustic liquid on your hands!

Once the caustic is added, stir to start the heating up process
Once your liquid phase is completely dissolved of all caustic (this is also important as if its not all completely dissolved you will end up with pockets of caustic in your soap and it would then be un-useable), you are ready to mix the oil phase and the liquid/lye phase together to make your soap.

melting frozen beer/lye slushy mixture, keep stirring
I slowly add in my liquid/lye mixture into my oils pot, while stirring with a slotted spoon.

Here you can easily see the immediate reaction of the lye mixture being added to the oils mixture
I like to use a slotted plastic spoon because after all these years I still love to see the immediate change in the soappot once I add my two phases together!

Keep stirring while adding your lye mixture

Then I imerse my stickblender into my oils/lye mixture and I stickblend my soap for only a few seconds, then I turn it off and stir the pot by hand using the stick blender as my 'spoon'.

Immerse the stickblender and tip to get any bubbles that might be trapped in it out before you start

I do this for a few reasons, one is to help get rid of any bubbles

Then start mixing for only a few seconds at a time
 and the other is to check for trace or false trace.

Stir regularly with the stick blender turned off to get rid of any bubbles in the mixture and also to check for trace happening

I repeat this process until I reach the level of trace I am after, and for my beer soap, because I am not adding any additional scent or colour to it, I let it go onto a thicker trace than I usually would if I was adding those extra things.
soap is a quite a thickish 'trace' now
Then I take the pot to my waiting moulds and pour it in.

Pour soap mix into your prepared moulds

If I want flat topped soaps I will just leave the soap as it is in the mould.

for a flat topped soap simply leave at this stage till the next day

If I want a more decorative soap top, I will wait for a while and then using a fork, spoon or other utensil of choice and I will texturise the top of the soap.

all poured into the moulds and ready to be put on the shelf until the next day when I will unmould the soap and slice it into bars for the next phase which is letting it cure for the next 4-6 weeks before it is ready to use

 Knowing the right time to do this is just practise. If its not thickened enough it will simply collapse back into itself and if you leave it set up too long it will be too hard for you to do as well and will just make a big mess!

Thank you for joining me on my journey to make my dads Christmas gift of Beer Soap I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did making it!

A little update: The soap is all cut into bars and has dried for a week now. It still smells STONGLY of beer and I am really hoping this fades off to the usual gentle ale scent I am used to with my beer soaps. The lather is wonderful with this soap as well due to the sugars in the drinks.

I have also shrink wrapped the bars to keep them dust free and keep the scent in the soap, it also helps to protect the soap for shipping. We will draw a winner of a few bars of this soap on my facebook page next week when we vote on the best name!

If anyone would like the formula for this beer soap to have a go at making it themselves, just leave a comment here on my blog and I will send it to them.

I will do another post on shrink wrapping and cutting soaps in a few weeks.

Take care and stay safe..

Amanda xox

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Amazing Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil
I was asked to do an article on coconut oil the other week on my facebook page. I have not really used this oil before, except in making my products, so I was really happy to discover another healthy oil that I can incorporate into my families diet.
There is a LOT of information on the benefits of coconut oil available on the internet and I have chosen the following to share with you on things about it that interested ME about this oil. Please note before we begin that if you are allergic to coconut, then it’s also likely that you will not have a good experience using coconut oil, so please consult your doctor before using it on your skin or in your food.
Coconut Oil is full of Vitamin E and fatty acids (Lauric, Myristic, Capric and more). These are anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidising and these properties are what makes is so good for us to use in a wide variety of applications. These properties boost our immune system and helps us to heal viruses like herpes, influenza and candida.
Coconut oil can be easily found in most local shops, health food stores or pharmacies, but if you can’t find any near you, it is also available for purchase online. When you are buying coconut oil you want to make sure you are getting a good quality one, so look for a pure virgin or extra-virgin, non-hydrogenated oil that has been cold pressed and if possible an organic brand.
DID YOU KNOW: If your coconut oil hardens, simply pop the bottle into a warm water bath to melt it for use, or if you have a jar of it, simply remove a bit by spoon and it will quickly melt in your hands with the warmth of your skin, similar to  shea butter. You also only need to use a very small amount as a little goes a long way!
You don’t need any special storage instructions for coconut oil, it has an approximate 2 year shelf life so just keep it in its original container in a cool, dark place like your pantry.
Coconut oil is also a great oil to use in your diet for so many reasons – SOME of which are the following:
Coconut oil contains medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFA) and this basically means that it is a healthy saturated fat compared to the ‘trans’ fat and that when we eat these healthy fats, our livers metabolise them and immediately converts them into energy, not fat.
Coconut oil is easy to digest and protects the body from insulin resistance as well, which makes it useful to help control your weight and keep you healthy.
Coconut oil is also beneficial to you if you have any digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome. This is because the fatty acids in the coconut oil contain anti microbial properties.
Recent research (a study by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research) has also found that coconut oil can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by protecting us against insulin resistance.
DID YOU KNOW: that coconut oil is hydrating for your skin? By applying virgin coconut oil daily directly to your skin you help it to keep your skins connective tissues strong and this in turn helps to prevent wrinkles and sagging skin.
Coconut oil is wonderful for our hair as well - If your hair is dry or damaged just massage some coconut oil into the damaged ends of your hair 30 minutes before showering.
If you want glossy hair or want to stop your hair being frizzy just put a few drops of coconut oil into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together and then lightly wipe them over your hair. Do this after you have washed and dried your hair how you like it.
You can rub coconut oil into areas affected by eczema, psoriasis, extreme dryness or rashes daily to help soothe and heal.
You can apply coconut oil twice a day to help heal and soothe athletes foot and nail fungus. Simply make sure the area is covered well with coconut oil.
Here is a list of things we found online at under the heading Coconut In Modern Medicine. I thought it best to put the link here with the blog so people could go and read even more in depth into what coconut oil is good for.

·    Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
·    Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
·    Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
·    Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
·    Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
·    Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
·    Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
·    Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
·    Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
·    Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
·    Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
·    Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
·    Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
·    Helps protect against osteoporosis.
·    Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
·    Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
·    Improves digestion and bowel function.
·    Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
·    Reduces inflammation.
·    Supports tissue healing and repair.
·    Supports and aids immune system function.
·    Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
·    Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
·    Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
·    Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
·    Functions as a protective antioxidant.
·    Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
·    Does not deplete the body's antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
·    Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
·    Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
·    Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
·    Reduces epileptic seizures.
·    Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
·    Dissolves kidney stones.
·    Helps prevent liver disease.
·    Is lower in calories than all other fats.
·    Supports thyroid function.
·    Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
·    Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
·    Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
·    Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
·    Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
·    Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
·    Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
·    Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
·    Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
·    Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
·    Helps control dandruff.
·    Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
·    Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
·    Is completely non-toxic to humans.
This is a really comprehensive list of things that coconut oil can help us with in our lives if we wanted to use it. I am in awe of this humble oil. Before today I really had NO idea of the benefits of coconut oil besides being a fantastic oil for soapmaking!
Just before we go here is our last little bit of information on coconut oil. If you are not used to having coconut oil in your diet and would like to start using it and reaping the rewards, its best to start with a small amount and work your way up to avoid unwanted effects, like diarrhea. A common amount of coconut oil suggested for an adult is around 3 ½ tablespoons a day, but remember when you are starting out with it, it’s best to start slowly a little bit at a time and spread that amount out during the course of the whole day, not take it in one hit.

I have also had permission from the lovely Jessica at to post her wonderful and visual charts for coconut use. I have printed these out and put them on my fridge now to help me learn to incorporate coconut oil into my own families diet. Thank you Jessica and I would like to also send you a bar of luscious handmade soap (made with coconut oil of course!) to enjoy as a thank you for sharing your wonderful charts with us here at Bodelicious Ramblings. Here are the charts for you to print out or save. Included in these charts are the benefits for those with animals!




If you are having trouble reading these charts you can download them here:

I hope you have enjoyed our little delve into coconut oil and I thank Terri-Anne for asking me to do a post on it. Terri-Anne, to say thank you for asking me to do this blog post I would like to send you out a bar of soap that has coconut oil in it! Let me know your address so I can pop that in the mail for you! Here is one way that Terri-Anne likes to use her coconut oil..she says..."...I use it for lots of stuff!
It is great for oil pulling. (
I also use it as a moisturiser, and melt a couple of tablespoons down to use as a conditioner in my hair.
I also make a beeswax & calendula salve with a few tablespoons of coconut oil. That's great for nappy rash.
We also use it on burns and stings. Just a little dab of it directly on the wound.

I've also heard it's great for ear infections, but I haven't tried that out. Worth looking in to though.

Oh and rubbed directly on to a teething baby's gums.

I would be very interested if anyone else out there is using coconut oil and in what applications..if you would like to share, we would love to hear from you!
Take care and stay safe –
Amanda xox

Bodelicious Ramblings. Design by Exotic Mommie. Illustraion By DaPino