Have you ever wondered how to make a bar of soap or perfume at home? It’s easier than you think – and using natural ingredients to make these fragrant toiletries yourself can be kinder to both, your skin and the environment! There are various recipes that you can try, but here is a basic method, ingredients, and equipment that you'll need to get started.
How to make Soap at home
- A microwave jug or bowl.
- A weighing scale.
- Spoons and rubber spatulas.
- Small bowls or beakers for measuring fragrances and dyes.
- Soap moulds.
- Waxed paper.
- You can buy silicon moulds which are easy to peel off the finished soap, or you can use common kitchen equipment like a baking tin. (Be sure to keep your tools and equipment for soap-making separate from your cooking equipment.)
- Basic fragrance-free soap bars.
- Essential oils- Patchouli, lavender, and orange blossom all work well.
- Soap-safe dye-You can buy specialist soap dyes and pigments, or you could use natural dyes such as turmeric, cinnamon or henna. These are all natural colorants with their own distinct fragrances – kind to skin and the environment, and much easier to come by than specialist products!
- Additional ingredients, such as dried herbs and flower petals. You could also add exfoliating materials such as oatmeal to create your own body scrubbing bar.
Cut the soap into chunks and place into your microwaveable bowl. Microwave the soap chunks for a minute until melted, or place your bowl over a pan of boiling water to melt on the stove. Do not touch the hot soap with your hands.
Stir in your essential oils and/or dyes. Start by adding small quantities, drop by drop, making a note of the quantities of each ingredient you are adding. Stir carefully to avoid bubbles in the mixture.
Add any of the other ingredients you’re using.
Pour the soap into your moulds, cover with a plastic wrap and leave the soap for several hours to cool. You can place the soap in the refrigerator to speed up the ‘saponification’ process.
Once the soap is firm, slice the soap with a sharp knife and peel off the moulds. Wrap the pieces individually in the waxed paper and store them for four weeks to ‘cure’.
Tip: If you find the procedure too long for ordinary household supplies, save your homemade soaps for gifts and stock up on good quality soap bars that use gentle ingredients – we particularly like Dove Beauty Bar.
How to make perfume at home
We’ve outlined an easy recipe for a solid perfume below. It produces a long-lasting scent that you can store in a small container, making it a good space-saving option for travelling or popping in your handbag. You could also try other techniques, such as making an oil-based perfume in a bottle.
- Almond oil, or another ‘base’ or ‘carrier’ such as macadamia. If you’re allergic to nuts, you could try using flaxseed or coconut oil as your base.
- Essential oils, Sandalwood, rose, and vanilla oils are popular perfume ingredients.
- Small container for the finished perfume, such as a jewellery box or even inside of a locket.
Mix 2 teaspoons of base oil with essential oil(s). Add just a little at a time, until you find a good balance of the scents. (Remember to note down the quantity of each oil you use)
Melt a small bar of beeswax in a glass container, either in the microwave or over a bowl of boiling water. Chop or grate the beeswax first to help it melt more quickly.
Stir the wax with your scented mixture. Don’t worry if the mixture seems to separate – this is caused by the difference in the temperatures between ingredients. They’ll blend together as you stir.
Pour into the container while still hot and leave to harden.