What is Vegan Soap?
Vegan soaps are made from all-natural, safe ingredients that enhance your well-being, avoiding chemicals like parabens, sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) and SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) that are found in regular soaps.
Like all things vegan, vegan soap is cruelty-free and is made using ingredients like fat and oils that come from vegetables and plants instead of those that come from animal derivatives. This seems to surprise many people, but it's true. Traditional soap is primarily made from animal fats. In order to understand why that is, it makes sense to get a brief history of traditional bar soap.
A Brief History of Bar Soap
It wasn't until the 18th century that soap became associated with hygiene and safety in the western world. Once manufacturers got involved, their goal was to mass-produce as much soap as possible to make more money. The best way to make something cheaply and quickly is to use the least expensive ingredients possible. In this case, this included soap made from cleansing agents and animal fat since they were cheap and easy to obtain.
Although there have been advances in soap manufacturing methods since that time, the source ingredients have generally remained the same. Vegan soap doesn't contain any of the above. Vegan soap makers go out of their way to make sure that their soaps work in harmony with the body. They prefer to use pure and natural plant-based ingredients that have beautifying and restorative properties.
How Is It Made?
At Nezza Naturals, our bar soap is made using organic coconut oil, hemp oil, castor oil, shea butter, and rice bran wax. We add in quality, 100% natural essential oils. Some bars have flower petals, oatmeal, or even walnut shell powder (for that extra scrubby feel). Only natural colourings are used, such as spirulina for green, annatto seed for orange, carob powder for that chocolatey look.
For the most part, vegan soap is made by mixing lye into a solution of different oils and distilled water. That solution is heated up until it's about 37 degrees Celsius. Once it reaches that temperature, essential oils are added for that wonderful fragrance.. After that, the soap is poured into moulds and left to dry. After about twenty-four hours, the soap is taken out of the mould and allowed to cure for about a month.
Anyone who is interested in making their own vegan soap should study the basics of soap making just so that they understand the process before beginning the process. It can help you avoid some serious hiccups.
Benefits of Using Vegan Soap
There are quite a few amazing benefits to using vegan soap. You're protecting your body from the harsh chemicals and toxins that can irritate your skin, making it feel dry, itchy and covered with rashes. When using products that are all natural, you can look for and use ingredients that are perfectly tailored to your skin. For instance, you can find vegan soaps made from plant-based ingredients and oils for dry skin like olive oil and shea butter. Also, you can use vegan soaps with natural herbs like calendula and hemp that help with certain skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis
DIY Soap Recipe to Try Making at Home
It's always fun to talk about vegan soaps, but it's so much more fun to make them. The following is an easy handmade vegan natural bar soap recipe that’s perfect for beginners and anyone else who wants to start living a healthier, natural lifestyle.
- 100g coconut oil
- 10g lavender essential oil
- 500g extra virgin olive oil
- 80g lye (sodium hydroxide)
- 195g distilled water
- Before you begin, make sure you have your safety equipment ready. Safety glasses and long gloves for protection! For more info on handling lye see the bottom of this article
- Get a glass bowl and add your water. Take your lye and mix it into the water. Keep your windows open so the smell doesn’t become overwhelming!
- Once you mix the water and lye together, the mixture will start to get warm. Set the bowl aside until it cools
- Next, mix the olive oil and coconut oils together in another large glass bowl. When the lye/water mixture is finally cool, pour it into your oil mix, stirring slowly
- Take a hand blender once the oils and the lye mixture have completely mixed, and blend everything further. The goal is to have the mixture thicken to the consistency of mayonnaise, a level that’s called the “trace” level
- Add your essential oils into the mix. Then pour the mixture into your soap moulds. Set the whole thing aside for about 24 hours.
- One pro tip is to cover the moulds with a towel. This is because the mixture will get warm over the 24 hours, and your goal is to keep the mixture warm.
- After 24 hours, see if you can remove the bars. If you can't, let them sit for a little bit more time, possibly a few more hours. You want it to harden but not get so hard that it becomes impossible to cut the bars
- Cut the bars into your desired shapes and let them sit for about four weeks. Flip them every other day so that the soap can fully harden and dry
- After the four weeks have passed, you should be ready to use your gorgeous, handmade, homemade soap!
Working With Lye (SODIUM HYDROXIDE AND POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE )
Safety Precautions for Lye (both Sodium Hydroxide, NaOH, and Potassium Hydroxide, KOH):
Lye is a very caustic chemical that will create burns on contact with skin. Always use extreme caution when working with it. Lye should not be used by minors without adult supervision. Although lye is dangerous, it can be worked with safely. By taking appropriate precautions, you can safely enjoy making “true soap” with lye.
- ALWAYS wear goggles, gloves, and protective clothing when handling lye.
- NO short sleeved shirts, shorts, or sandals.
- ALWAYS work with lye in a well ventilated area.
- Remove contaminated clothing immediately
- Clean up spills immediately
FIRST AID TREATMENT:
- EYE CONTACT – Flush with lukewarm, gently running water while holding the eyelid(s) open. Take the person to the hospital.
- SKIN CONTACT – Flush with lukewarm, gently running water and take the person to the hospital.
- INGESTION – Administer large quantities of water followed by milk and take the person to the hospital.
- INHALATION – Remove the person afflicted to fresh air and take the person to the hospital.
Please view the Material Safety Data Sheet for Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) for more safety precautions and product information.
Got Questions? Give Us a Shout!
Vegan soap is an excellent product for people who want to create a more natural and holistic lifestyle with cruelty-free products. Visit our website www.nezzanaturals.com. If you’d like to learn more, like us on Facebook and Instagram, or contact us with any comments or questions that you may have, we would be happy to help!
Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our site for more essential oil information and DIY recipes.