I discovered the benefits of good homemade soap several years ago; I love how it nourishes my aging skin. I usually make a cold pressed soap - for soap novices, that is soap made from scratch - but I discovered Greenfrog's recipe for easy peasy soap at ALS a while back, so I made a batch. It's not too bad. I still prefer my cold pressed soap, because I know what's in it, but this soap will be a good standby soap when I can't make the other.
4 cups Lux flakes
1 cup milk - goat or cow's
1/2 cup powdered milk
Fragrant oil and colouring are optionalAdd four cups of Lux flakes to a saucepan and mix in half the milk. You want the consistency of dryish mashed potatoes.
Begin stirring on a low heat, make sure you keep stirring as the milk will burn it you don't. Add more milk if it's too dry and keep stirring. It doesn't matter if it looks lumpy now. As you stir, you'll notice the mixture start to dissolve. At this point you can add the 1/2 cup of milk powder.
Keep stirring until the mix is smooth and has no lumps. You can now add your fragrant oil or colouring and mix it in.
Take it off the heat, give it a good stir and pour it into a greased mould. In my case, I used a plastic Ikea lunchbox that I'd sprayed with cooking oil.
Let it stand overnight. The next morning it will be solid but still softish. Carefully tip it out of the mould and slice it, with a sharp knife, into whatever shape you want . Allow the cakes to stand on a drying rack for about a week. When they're hard and dry you can start using them.
If you look at the thread at ALS here, you'll be able to see that Kirsty added herbs, oatmeal and colouring, as well as fragrance to her soap. It looks really good and shows you that you can modify this recipe to be what you want it to be. I'm a bit of a plain girl myself and rarely add colouring or fragrance to anything. But it can be done successfully and to your taste.
I also collect all my old bits of soap and when I have enough I rebatch it to make soap for the laundry and our outside sink. I remember my Aunty Joy collecting soap scraps when I was growing up and making new soap from them. I thought then that it was a miserly thing to do. Now I realise how smart she was to never waste anything and try follow her wise lead.
I wonder if there are any others here who make soap. My favourite soap is a mix of olive oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil. It is a very simple soap that has a good lather and one batch lasts us about six months. I'd be happy to do a tutorial here on cold pressed soap making if anyone wants to learn how to do it. It's quite easy.