Hand Crafted Milk and Honey Soap

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Hand crafted soaps and fragrances make great gifts, and can save you money, and they are also consistent with frugal green living. I made a batch of hand crafted soaps last week, and I’m going to give you a quick play by play. I also make perfumes and moisturizers, so there will be a few recipes at the end, as well as a few links to some other affordable cosmetics I like to purchase.

Making hand crafted soaps can involve so many different methods, and soaps can be as organic and scratch made as you wish. The method I use is called melt and pour, and I use a semi home made approach. I like the melt and pour method because we are sensitive to lye, and there are a lot of melt and pour recipes without that ingredient. I am not an expert by any means, and my soaps aren’t the most beautiful, but my family loves them, and the kids always have fun helping out. That’s one of the things I love about saving money in this way, it’s a great way to make memories too!

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Ingredients…

Some ingredients you will need to make my milk and honey soap are; milk soap base, honey, bees wax, and essential oils. I have my own honey and bees wax from back yard bees, and we purchase our essential oils at the local health food store. I like to buy my soap base from Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon. This 20 pound block of donkey milk soap was $12 with my coupon. Tools that are helpful are: a glass bowl that fits in the microwave, plastic spatulas, silicone molds, and a heavy duty slicing tool. While you can purchase fancier soap molds at a craft store, I have some silicone baking molds that a friend handed down to me that I use. They work great. I use a heavy duty veggie cutter for slicing. A potato peeler also comes in handy at times.

Steps…

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First, you are going to cut your milk soap base into cubes, and place them in the glass bowl. Then you add your bees wax. This is going to be about 3 parts soap base to 1 part wax. If you buy your bees wax at the hobby store, it will come in easy to use pellets. If you are a bee keeper, you might have it saved in blocks, so you will need to shred it. I happen to have my bees wax saved in thin sheets that I can just break up. I know a lot of bee keepers like to make candles so their bees wax is processed into smooth blocks. We like to use ours for cosmetics, so I don’t process it as much. You can see in the picture there are still chunks of junk in it…I like those pieces of pollen, and propolis. It’s all the good stuff, but if you don’t like it, that’s okay, just purchase the pellets or find a bee keeper that sells it in blocks.

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Now, your bowl is going in the microwave for about 30 second to 1 minute intervals. Heat and stir, rinse and repeat. This part takes a lot of patience, and you can’t walk away from it. Heat and stir, heat and stir, until it is melted and smooth. Now pour about half a cup of honey into it, and heat and stir one more time. Once it is totally melted, you will add your choice of essential oils, and stir a little more. We like peppermint and lavender. You can also use coffee and vanilla which you will see I did with one batch. After you have added your essential oils, you are done heating – pour into your molds, and let it sit and cool for 24 hours.

24 Hours Later…

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Once your soap has been in the mold for 24 hours, you can now pull the mold away, and cut your soaps. I like to use a veggie cutter, and you can use a potato peeler to soften up rough edges. Again, I use the molds I have, but if you want them to come out more formal, you can buy soap molds at Hobby Lobby. Now is the most difficult part, once the soap is cut, it has to cure for 4 to 6 weeks depending on how soft it is. My white soaps came out a little softer than the brown ones, so they will sit longer. I have made the mistake of using them too soon before…they will seem like they are ready – don’t fall for it! If you use your soaps before they cure, they will melt away very quickly. They might seem dry enough, but they will turn to mush, so just be patient and wait….

Have a cup of tea, start another project…

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More Recipes and Links

As promised, I have a few more money saving cosmetic products and recipes for you… I love to make my own moisturizer which is a very similar process to making the soap. I use about 1 tablespoon coconut oil with 1 teaspoon bees wax, melt and stir in 30 second intervals. Once the mixture is fully melted, add your choices of essential oils. I like frankincense, Ylang Ylang, lavender and tea tree. Next, I let it sit in the fridge and cool. If you have normal to oily skin, it is good to go. If your skin is on the dry side, you can add Shea butter when the oils cool.

When it comes to cosmetic brands, there are a few I like. If you have read some of my other posts, you know that I like to save money, and stay as green as possible without risking value. So, from my perspective, if I am making my skincare at home, that is super green right? I might spend a little more on mascara, or buy a product with a little extra packaging. Most of the time, I can recycle the packaging into a lip gloss container or something. Anyway, the brands I like to use for lipstick, foundation, mascara are….Burt’s Bees, Physician’s Formula, and Mary Kay. I love Mary Kay Mascara. It is a great value, and I don’t end up throwing away as many packages, because it lasts longer. I also love their lipsticks in the winter, because they are super moisture rich. Burt’s Bees has a great cream blush stick. It smells sooo good. Finally, for my nails, I prefer Color Street. There are no fumes, and they last a couple weeks. I am able to save money on manicures, and still get the professional look I want. If you are local to Cheyenne, I have included links to my local Mary Kay reps Facebook. Please patronize her if you do not already have a contact.