Make Your Own Homemade Soaps

Learn how to make homemade soaps from herbs and flowers, including a recipe for rosemary lavender soap.


| June/July 1998


Sandy Maine made her first bar of soap in her kitchen. She loved making soap so much, she eventually went on to found a small business, SunFeather Soaps, which occupies three buildings and employs 15 people. When MOTHER’s intern, Jennifer Barros, saw a copy of Maine’s recent book, Soothing Soaps for Healthy Skin (Interweave Press, 1997), she was inspired to fill some muffin tins with homemade herbal soap. 

The recipe I chose for my homemade soap was lavender and rosemary soap, which is found under a section called “Soaps for Blemished Skin.” Maine gives a brief description of each soap and explains that both lavender and rosemary are “antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and beneficial for treating wounds, blemishes, boils, dermatitis, herpes, fever blisters, and more!”

The first step, and probably the most difficult part, was finding the ingredients. I needed lavender flowers, rosemary leaves, lavender oil and rosemary oil. For those who can get their hands on fresh herbs, Maine explains how to dry them yourself and also how to extract the oils. It was February, so I was forced to opt for dried herbs rather than fresh ones. Unfortunately, dried herbs and oils are not exactly sold at every corner store, but at least you can obtain herbs, oils and glycerin by mail order. After I arrived home, glad to have completed my shopping mission, I began the actual process of making a healing soap.

I made an infusion with the dried lavender flowers and rosemary leaves. This only took about 10 minutes, and gave me a sneak peak at what my kitchen would smell like all day. Then, I used a double boiler to melt the soap base into liquid form. After this was done, I added the infusion, the oils and some pulverized rosemary leaves. I stirred a little to ensure even distribution, and then immediately poured the liquid into molds. Altogether, this took about 30 minutes.

Because I couldn’t wait to send away for a good glycerin soap base, I used what I found at a local pharmacy. I don’t know whether it was the quality of the soap or the molds I used, but the one problem I came across was removing the soaps from their molds after they had hardened. The soap is supposed to harden after one hour, but I left mine overnight to ensure that prying them out of the molds would not harm their shape.

For molds, I used small ridged muffin tins. When the soaps hardened, it was very difficult to maneuver them out. The longer I let them sit, the easier it was to get the soap out. Lining the molds with plastic wrap or using a plastic soap-mold might facilitate this procedure.

spanish
11/30/2016 2:16:25 AM

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Annewow
3/28/2016 11:26:07 AM

I had to make this a few times because i think i over cooked it or something. but finally i got it right, and i got some super cute molds from bulkapothecary.com/categories/soap-making-supplies.html and they look and smell wonderful! thanks for the fun recipe. i am excited to give them out at a baby shower i am throwing!


AndreaNeil244
3/15/2016 5:10:49 AM

I am having a ball making my own soap and other spa products using www.MakeYourSpa.info - I'm making all sorts of things for friends! It's great for learning how to make luxurious spa products (especially soaps) at home immediately and it's easy :) I save a lot of money not going to the spa and the products are exactly the same, if not better. I have used my friends and family to try out the products I've made and they have been absolutely delighted! I'm thoroughly enjoying working my way through the recipes and then adjusting them to my own design. I really wish I had started this years ago.






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