A homemade soap recipe that’s perfect for winter
Despite the cold, winter is a beautiful and poetic time of year. Before you raise your eyebrows or exclaim in protest, think of those exquisite crystalline flakes falling delicately from the sky, still-green fir trees wrapped in snow, and landscapes muffled under a coat of sparkling white. We have endeavoured to transpose these beauties into our Dreamy Winter, a cold process soap recipe for the season of snow.
Formulated with ingredients selected for their wonderful properties, this soap is gentle on skin and will leave it silky and soft. It’s an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin, and it can also be used to wash your face! If we could be so bold, we would even say it’s as gentle as a dream and perfect for facing the coldest temperatures of the year!
With its pleasant scent reminiscent of a snow-topped forest and its captivating pattern, this decorative handmade soap makes washing up all the more pleasant. Now you can turn your shower time into a Dreamy Winter reverie!
How to make cold process soap
Sodium hydroxide solution
Oil and butter mixture
- 350 g (30.25%) olive oil
- 220 g (19.01%) coconut oil
- 130 g (11.23%) sunflower seed oil
- 30 g (2.59%) castor oil
- 30 g (2.59%) kokum butter
- 1 g (0.09%) aloe vera powder 100 x
- 40 g (3.46%) grapeseed oil
Essential oil mixture
- 5 g (0.43%) cypress essential oil
- 5 g (0.43%) Scotch pine essential oil
- 5 g (0.43%) white pine essential oil
- 10 g (0.86%) bergamot essential oil
- 1 g (0.08%) green oxide
- 1 g (0.08%) titanium dioxide
- Scales, accurate to 1 g and 0.01 g
- 1 large Pyrex measuring cup or HDPE pot (with a minimum capacity of 500 ml) for the sodium hydroxide solution
- 1 pot for weighing the sodium hydroxide
- A few pipettes for the essential oils
- Components to make a double boiler
- 1 small stainless steel bowl
- 1 large stainless steel bowl
- 1 thermometer
- 3 measuring funnel pitchers (900 ml)
- 1 silicone loaf mold
- 5 ramekins (1 for the essential oils, 3 for the colourants, 1 for the aloe vera powder)
- 1 immersion blender
- Several spoons
- 1 silicone spatula
- 3 mini silicone spatulas
- 1 mini-mixer
- Protective soapmaking gear
- 1 metal wire hanger, to create the swirl design
- 1 pair of pliers, to cut and bend the hanger
- 2 separators, made of thick cardboard or corrugated plastic
Good to know!
Aloe vera powder is used in this homemade soap recipe for its hydrating, soothing, and revitalizing properties. It also makes the soap gentler on skin.
In this recipe, we’re working with temperatures of 29–30°C. This will give you more time to pour the soap. Indeed, when the time is right for pouring, the soap will still be liquid and there won’t be any need to tap the mold on the table to help the soap settle to the bottom. In fact, you should avoid tapping the mold altogether, as this will mix the colours and disrupt the pattern.
Preparing the hanger and the separators
- Take a metal wire hanger and cut off the top hook. Unbend the first arm to form a right angle.
- Measure the length of your soap mold (the length of our silicone loaf mold is approximately 20 cm or 8 inches).
- Measure out this distance from the first arm/bend and create a second 90° angle at this point.
- The goal is to create a U-shaped tool, with two right angles, that can fit lengthwise inside the mold.
- Cut the excess off of the longer end of the hanger tool.
- For the separators, cut the cardboard or corrugated plastic according to the length and height of the mold such that they can be placed in the mold and remain stable. The height of the separators should be about 2 cm greater than the height of the mold. For our mold, this gives two separators of approximately 20 cm by 8.5 cm.
Steps to follow
- Prepare and disinfect your equipment and workspace.
- Take the necessary precautions for handling sodium hydroxide safely.
- Prepare the sodium hydroxide solution: measure the water and sodium hydroxide separately; pour the sodium hydroxide into the water, contained in a Pyrex measuring cup or HDPE pot; mix together and leave to cool.
- In the first ramekin, weigh the essential oils using the pipettes. Mix together.
- In the second ramekin, weigh the aloe vera powder.
- In the small bowl, weigh the grapeseed oil (for superfatting).
- In three other ramekins, weigh the colourants: in the first ramekin, weigh the ultramarine blue and titanium dioxide (colour #1); in the second, the green oxide (colour #2); and in the third, the titanium dioxide (colour #3).
- Add 2–3 spoonfuls of superfatting oil to each ramekin containing colourant. Mix well using the mini-mixer. Be sure to clean the mini-mixer between each colourant so as not to combine the colours.
- Weigh the coconut oil and the kokum butter in the large stainless steel bowl. Melt on the double boiler. Once melted, remove from heat and add the olive, castor, and sunflower seed oils. Mix together.
- Add the aloe vera powder to the oils and disperse well with the immersion blender. Set aside to cool.
- When the oil mixture and the sodium hydroxide solution have both cooled to a temperature of 29–30°C, pour the sodium hydroxide solution into the oil mixture and combine with the spatula. Stir with the spatula until you have reached a homogeneous mixture.
- Mix with the immersion blender on the machine’s lowest setting.
- At very light trace, add the essential oil mixture and the remainder of the grapeseed oil. First mix well with the spatula, then mix with the immersion blender (still on the lowest setting).
- Pour 640 g of the sodium hydroxide/oil mixture into one of the measuring funnel pitchers and add the contents of the ramekin containing colour #1. In the second measuring funnel pitcher, pour 300 g of the sodium hydroxide/oil mixture and add the contents of the ramekin containing colour #2. In the third pitcher, pour the remainder of the sodium hydroxide/oil mixture and add the contents of the ramekin containing colour #3.
- Mix the contents of each pitcher with a (clean) mini silicone spatula. Once the mixtures are homogeneous, mix each with the immersion blender on the lowest setting, until you reach medium trace. Be sure to clean the blender between each colour so as not to combine them.
- Place the hanger lengthwise into the middle of the mold.
- Place the two separators into the mold so that they form a V (extending from the bottom of the mold out and upwards to the two sides).
- Pour the blue soap batter into the two sides of the mold. To do so, leave a small space between the wall of the mold and the separators so that you can pour the blue soap. Once poured, replace the separators (their tops should be touching the edge of the mold).
- Pour a thin layer of white soap between the two separators, in the middle of the V, lengthwise along the mold. Then pour a thin layer of green soap. Continue to pour in that order until you have only a bit of white soap and a bit of green soap left over to create a marble pattern on the top of the soap.
- Gently remove the separators, sliding them along the edge of the mold.
- Move the hanger tool by gradually lifting it towards the surface of the soap, making horizontal figure-eight shapes as you go. The movement should extend increasingly outwards in order to create the cone-shaped effect that gives this soap its fir-tree pattern. With our mold, this takes about five figure-eight shapes. Be sure to centre your figure eights at the middle of the mold and never let the hanger touch the walls of the mold.
- Gently remove the hanger from the soap and pour the remainders of the white soap and the green soap in two lines along the surface of the soap.
- To decorate the surface of the soap, create zigzags with the tip of the thermometer.
- Cover the soap for 24–48 hours.
- Wearing gloves, unmold the soap. Cut soap and leave in a cool, dry place for 4–6 weeks.
Use and conservation
This homemade soap is formulated for body or face use. It is suitable for all skin types.
Store your DIY soap bars in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place. Made in optimal sanitary conditions, they will keep for at least 12 months.