Making Homemade Soap in the Kitchen

soap traceI’ve been in love with bar soap ever since I purchased my first Clinique facial cleanser as a teenager. Nothing made me happier than lathering up the yellow bar in a pretty green container and washing my face with it. It was heavenly. I think that was also the beginning of my fascination (and borderline crazy obsession) with cosmetics and skincare products.

But after years of wasting money on mass produced skincare products, I got interested in making my own. I really liked the idea of having control over what ingredients go into it, and I loved that I get to do it all in my own kitchen. I’ve been making my own lip balms, body scrubs and facial toners for many months now and I thought now is the perfect time for me to venture into soap making, thanks to the inspiration by books by Kyoko Maeda, who is synonymous with cold process soap making in Japan. My goal is to master, or at least be decent at this, in time for the holidays . 🙂

soap moldMaking soap is very much like baking. You pick your ingredients (oils), mix them up, add extracts and other flavoring agents (essential oils), pour the mixture into a mold, bake (in this case, letting lye and oils get chummy in a bowl), let it rest, slice, and enjoy! Both require that you have the precise measurements, which can be tricky at times, but as long as you pay extra attention to that as well as when handling lye that can get as hot as a piping oven, the process can be pretty easy and enormously enjoyable! Even the oils-lye mixture looks like a luscious and decadent cake batter (but don’t let the pretty exterior deceive you — these mixtures are still very dangerous to handle and it is certainly not for consumption)!

soap marbleI’ve seen many ways home chemists make soap, such as cooking the soap batch in a crock pot (this is called hot process), but mine is the traditional cold process method, just like what you see here (Countryrose Soap Company) and here (Birch Bark Handmade Soap tutorial). Soaps made this way take a little longer to cure but they retain more of the lovely glycerin that is wonderful for skin.

What you see here (above and right) is a batch of Premium Bar I made over the weekend using olive, sweet almond, jojoba, palm, and coconut oils. I used cinnamon to make the delicious swirl and the room is now filled with the wonderfully warm aroma, reminding me that autumn is just around the corner. I took the block out of the mold and sliced it today.

In addition, I’ve made a batch of Olive Oil Soap and Signature Marseilles Soap that are almost ready to use.

Olive Oil Soap
Ingredients: Pure olive oil, lye, distilled water, essential oils

soap olive oil

Signature Marseilles Soap
Ingredients: Pure olive oil (not extra virgin), palm oil, coconut oil, lye, distilled water, essential oils

soap marsailles

The only downside to making handmade soap is that you have to let them sit for four to six weeks, which will certainly test your patience. I have one more week for the Marseilles Soap and two more for Olive Oil Soap until these two batches of soaps become ready to use and I can’t wait.


If you are interested in making your own soap, I recommend checking out Bramble Berry first!  Happy soaping! 🙂


15 thoughts on “Making Homemade Soap in the Kitchen

  1. It’s all worth it though, ain’t it? There’s nothing like a good bar of handmade soap. You can feel the difference after the first use and it just keeps getting better and better. After about a week, you will never go back to the chemical bars you purchase in stores. HANDMADE soap is simply the BEST!

  2. Hi Ken!

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I agree — there is nothing like handmade soaps. Using wonderful handmade soaps make me feel a little grossed out about using the chemical-laden bars that we are so used to buying at mega stores. I can never go back. And you’re so right — the wait is long but it’s so worth it. Every time I walk by the two batches of the soaps that are curing, I have to walk over and smell them because they are heavenly!

    Your etsy shop is amazing! I can’t wait to start shopping at your store!


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  6. I fell in love with homemade soaps myself. Not to long ago I was off from work due to injury. I decided to give it a whirl to pass the time. Every since then I have used nothing else for my whole body except the soaps that I have made myself. Homemade soap is so much better for your skin, body, and the environment. I can’t believe that I used store bought mainstream soap for so many years. It leaves me a feeling of accomplisment as well.
    It has led to a business of selling homemade soaps and bath products. I love it!!! Thanks for the article.

  7. Hi Thomas!

    Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story! I love handmade soaps too. I get really happy and excited every time I lather one of those wonderful soaps in shower. It’s so empowering to know that we have all the control over what we put in our soaps. I too started selling them on Etsy recently because I wanted to share the wonders of handmade soaps with everyone!

    Good luck on your soap business! I enjoyed browsing through your shop! I hope we can continue to exchange our soap stories!


  8. Hi Melissa!

    I was thinking the same thing the other day, how there are countless number of ways that people make soaps … and every single way is unique and wonderful! I enjoyed going to your site. It is so informative! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving me a comment. I am so glad you found me here!


  9. How about making an instructional DVD? I would be the first to buy it. If you ever do, please let me know. Thanks!

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  11. Normally I don’t learn article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great post.

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