If you know anything about me at all you will know that one of my favourite phrases is 'Soap Making Made Easy'
I like to take the doubt, confusion and difficulties out of the process and break it down in to simple steps that you can follow as you go along.
So if I were to choose a simple soap recipe that you can make at home it would absolutely without a doubt be 100% coconut oil soap. I love this stuff, not least because you can make it from just 3 ingredients, one of those being water. If I am honest if I had my way I would teach just coconut oil soap making on my courses but I feel my students gain a better understanding of the process when we use a variety of ingredients.
Coconut Oil is readily available from the shops, you can use water out of the tap and the only other thing you really need is sodium hydroxide aka lye which you can find in hardware and diy store (just make sure it is 100% sodium hydroxide) alternatively you can order it online.
Coconut Oil soap is to me, incredibly versatile. It is one of the few oils you can use on it's own to make soap (the other is olive oil).
You can vary the recipe to make dish soap (use a 0% superfat), make a luxury bar with a 20 -25% superfat or use something in between to make my award winning dog soap. It also makes THE most fantastic salt soap as seen in both images below.
My award winning dog soaps over at The Dog and I are created from 100% coconut oil and the feedback I receive is incredible.
Coconut oil gives a very hard, long lasting, bubbly, deep cleaning bar of soap which is why it lends itself well to bathing dogs. It can be a little harsh on the skin as it is so deep cleaning but this is counteracted by upping the superfat considerably and it is probably the only soap I would even consider using this level of superfat for. If superfatting is a new term for you it refers to the amount of free floating oils and butters left in your soap when the process is complete. You can find out more on the subject in thisblog.
If you are ready to try making your own 100% coconut oil soap then try this recipe.
500g coconut oil, I use refined coconut oil from a wholesaler but any coconut oil that you can buy in a supermarket or wholefood store is perfect.
165g water (in the UK tap water is perfectly good)
73g of sodium hydroxide aka caustic soda or lye, just make sure it is 100%
Follow your usual method of soap making, hot or cold process work equally well.
This recipe is superfatted to 20% and will make a really lovely bar.
For an extra creamy lather try adding in a tablespoon or so of porridge oats.
If you like your soap to be scented you can add up to 3% of the weight of your oils in essential oils. So in this case 3% of 500g is 15g. You do however need to be careful as not all essential oils can be used at this level. A safe bet would be 7g peppermint and 8g of lavender. Or try 10g of rosemary and 5g of patchouli, Both of these are unisex and work well in cold process soap making.
As coconut oil makes a very hard bar of soap be sure to cut your loaf within 24 hours or within 3 or 4 hours if you are using the hot process method.
If you have not made soap before I can help you there too, Whilst the process is straightforward once you get the hang of it, it can seem a little overwhelming to begin with. I offer hands on workshops, an online video course and a Soap Making Made Easy eBook, more details available here
Good luck and do let me know how you get on.