Shea Butter is a great choice when it comes to soap making oils. Not only does it perform beautifully in the soap making process, it also has some fantastic natural skin loving benefits. Rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, this oil forms a breathable barrier on your skin. It helps to protect the skin from harsh elements like the sun and wind. It is often used in products for soothing skin irritations, sun protection, healing minor cuts and burns and of course skin moisturizing.
Using Shea Butter in Soap Making Recipes
Shea butter is Abundantly available in Ghana. Shea butter can be added from-scratch to any soap recipe, though adjustments need to be made based on the other ingredients. Goat milk soap recipes need little shea butter if at all. The goat milk already makes the recipe creamy and rich. Makers of goat milk soap may add shea simply for the aesthetic value. Castile soap, made mostly with olive oil, is also softening and may not need shea butter. But a harder bar, such as one which relies heavily on palm and coconut oils, can use a little help. Oils which make soap harder can be the same oils which increase the “cleanliness” value, meaning it strips away dirt and your body’s own natural oils. This can leave skin dry.
Because shea butter doesn’t contribute very much to lather or hardness, it should be used at 15% or less. Coconut oil soap recipe is very hard and lathers extremely well. It could use the addition of shea butter to counteract a bar that is so cleansing, it’s often harsh on the skin. It’s okay to experiment and make your own soap recipes, if you enter all the values into a lye calculator.
This priceless tool calculates all the saponification values for you: the amount of lye needed to turn one gram of fat into soap. And every oil has a different SAP. Adjusting the oil contents in any recipe, even by a tablespoon, means you need to recheck the values in a calculator. And if you copied the recipe, even if it’s tried-and-true, always run it through a lye calculator before trying it. The original crafter could be trustworthy, but typos happen.
Making The Soap.
Can you add shea butter to easy soap recipes? That depends on the recipe. Melt and pour soap, the pre-made base that your children can liquefy and pour into molds, is already complete. All you add is color, fragrance, and other aesthetic ingredients such as glitter or oatmeal. Adding extra oils to melt and pour soap will make the finished product soft and greasy, often with pockets of solidified oil. It’s not dangerous but it makes a horrible product. If you want an easy soap project containing shea butter, purchase a “shea butter melt and pour soap base” from a soap making supply company. It already has the fat within the original recipe and the step involving lye has been done for you. Shea butter can be added to prebatched soap. This technique involves grating down a pre-made bar, adding liquid to melt, and pressing the sticky product into molds.
Prebatching is often done as a “fix” for ugly from-scratch soap. Also crafters can add their own fragrances and colors to a truly natural bar without handling lye. First, obtain a bar of premade soap. Be sure it’s “cold process,” “hot process,” or says, “rematch base”. Avoid any melt and pour bases, which will list unnatural petroleum products within its ingredients list. Grate it down into a slow cooker and add liquid such as coconut or goat milk, water, or tea. Turn the slow cooker onto low and stir frequently as the soap melts. It will never become completely smooth, but it will turn a consistency which you can handle.
At this point, you can add shea butter, melting it into the mixture. But remember that, because saponification has already occurred, none of this shea butter will turn to actual soap. It will all be added fat, and too much will make a greasy product. Add desired colors and fragrances then press the hot mixture into molds.
Using Both Techniques When Making Shea Butter Soap.
Both hot and cold process soaps involve melting down oils, adding a mixture of water and lye, then agitating the soap by hand or with a stick blender until it reaches “trace.” Both techniques require adding shea butter with the initial fats and melting them down before adding lye. Experiment with adding shea butter to soap recipes or obtain input from expert crafters if you don’t want to expend ingredients on trial and error.
I recommend you try both techniques when learning how to make shea butter soap. Though one is not necessarily safer than the other, hot process produces a bar which can be used that day, though it doesn’t allow the beautiful techniques which are attainable with cold process soap. The preferred method of professional soap making, cold process lets you layer or swirl different colors into a smooth and often flawless bar. The soap wont’t usable for at least a week or longer if you want a mild, long-lasting bar.
Whether you learn how to make shea butter soap using rematch, hot or cold process, it’s a fun and satisfying way to create a bar with huge benefits for your skin.