My First Bar of Soap

I’m Jorg and together with my wife Jenny we run the Blue Lemon. It all started back in 2009. While surfing the web I came across a soap making forum and was fascinated.  I’ve always had sensitive skin and been prone to eczema and contact dermatitis so I decided to learn more and have a go.

Every type of oil has different properties when made into soap, olive oil for instance is very conditioning but doesn’t give much lather, whereas coconut oil is very cleansing and gives lots of lather, but on its own makes a very harsh, drying soap.  My first attempt was a total disaster. I chose the oils I wanted to try and mixed up my lye.  (Lye is Sodium Hydroxide, it turns the fatty acids in oils into soap molecules).  Following the instructions, I mixed them up together with a hand blender. The colour of the oil went lighter and lighter as I mixed, and the mixture became thicker and thicker. When I was sure the reaction was past the point of no return, called Trace, I poured it all into the mold I had made from wood and polystyrene. The instructions I had forbade me to peek at the soap while it was “cooking”.  So, of course, I peeked.  The soap, which was still quite caustic, got hotter and hotter as the reaction continued.  The polystyrene was intended to keep the heat in and cook the soap without having to add any energy.  At one stage I was amazed to see the soap had gone completely translucent!

After a couple of days I decided I could try my first ever soap. That’s when I found out the vital stage I had missed.  Line the mold, otherwise the soap sticks to the wood, fast. The mold was completely ruined. I managed to scrape some of the soap out with a spoon, but my vision of a gleaming pile of neatly cut soap bars was gone.  It wasn’t a total disaster though as I found when I used the soap it didn’t dry out my skin and had a lovely, silky texture that just wasn’t there with commercially produced bars.  I was hooked.



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