There are many recipes for making your own DIY olive oil soap at home. Here’s what you’ll need, courtesy local South African brand, African Gold. This recipe uses a little bit of palm oil to add hardness, and some coconut oil for lather.
To make about 2kg of soap, you would use:
580 ml African Gold Extra Virgin Olive Oil
164 ml coconut oil
190-220 ml cold water
92g lye /sodium hydroxide/ caustic soda
45 ml to 60 ml essential oil (can use any kind of pure oils – preference is yours)
Here are the tools you need:
A digital scale
2 thermometers that can measure up to 93° Celsius.
A stick blender
1 plastic jar able to withstand high temperatures (to mix the sodium hydroxide and water). You can alternatively use a plastic bucket
1 plastic bucket to mix the sodium hydroxide mix with the oil mix
1 glass bowl for mixing of lye
1 ceramic bowl for heating up the oil in the microwave
A long-handled plastic mixing spoon.
Soap moulds – alternative you can use a water bottle (1.5 litres) and cut it open when taking the soap out.
Take Caution: Whenever working with lye; use rubber gloves, protective glasses and long-sleeved pants to protect your skin from accidental splashes of the liquid.
Add lye to water in a high temperature plastic container somewhere with fresh air (preferably outside your house). Do not breathe fumes. Always add Lye to water (not reverse). Caution: Temperature of the mixture will rise to approximately 91°C. Stir mixture with plastic spoon.
Allow lye to cool down (you can place in a bowl of cold water to speed up cooling time).
Mix the oils and microwave to 43°C (that’s about 2 minutes in a microwave).
When both solutions are at 43°C, add in lye solution to the oil mixture. Blend with stick blender until the mixture reaches the point where you can see a film on top of the soap that traces the line of the stick blender. Ladle into moulds.
Leave it in the mould for the next two days. PH will be high and can burn the skin for the first 48 hrs. The PH will settle to neutral after this.
Place moulds in freezer for 1 hour to help separate the soap from the moulds.
Use plastic gloves when handling the soaps, for the first month.
If you use a plastic bottle to pour inside the liquid soap mix, cut up the bottle and take out the hardened soap mass and cut it into pieces.
Place the soaps on paper.
Allow 6-8 weeks to air dry before use.
While any olive oil will work in the recipe above, the best benefits come from extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). EVOO contains a high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants, which ensures you get the most benefits from your olive oil.