The only downside of making soap at home, is that sometimes there’s just too many new (and expensive) things I want to try out – which is actually why I developed the trick I’m about to explain. In this post I will explain how you can make two or more types of soap in one go, in a way that’s simple enough for anyone with basic soap making skills to do so. If you want to see it live, you can check out my last post: Video tutorial: cold process soap making, where I make two types of soaps in one go. I will use the same soap as an example in this post.
Creating your base recipe – but mixing up the rest
I’m sure a lot of soapers can relate to having a ‘go to’ soap recipe, when it comes to the base oils (carrier oils). There might be smaller variations, but all of us have our favorites. I think this is for good reason, because when something works – why change it? But we still need the excitement of changing it up whenever we make soap, which is where the esthetic and experience of the soap comes into the picture – the shape, smell, look and feel can make two soaps seems completely different even if the base is the same. So to make two types of soap, you simply create a base recipe – but plan out different scents, additives and shapes for the two (or more soaps) you want to make. Here is an example of a two soaps in one:
Base recipe – 1000 grams:
- 250 grams coconut oil
- 200 grams olive oil
- 150 grams mango butter
- 200 grams canola oil
- 100 grams castor oil
- 100 grams sesame oil
- Lye – 141.77 grams
- Coconut milk – 425.30 grams
The two batches (separated after trace):
Batch 1 – around 800 grams:
This batch will be poured in a loaf mold in a simple swirl with the following ingredients:
- 50 ml cedar wood oil
- 25 ml lemon grass oil
- Aronia berry powder
Batch 2 – around 200 grams:
This batch will be poured in small muffin molds, unscented with the following one ingredient for color:
- Paprika powder
How to go about it
I’ve divided this part in three steps: Planning, Preparation & Timing. Here we go.
Once you’ve chosen your base recipe, plan out how the two soaps will be different, in a way you are sure you’ll be able to manage. For example if it’s the first time you try this out, start by only changing one element – such as shape or scent. If you’re more experienced you can plan out changing more elements, and even plan to make two different swirls in your two batches. Though whatever you plan, it’s important that it is completely clear before you make your soap. I usually spend some time visualizing my soap, and then write it down on a piece of paper with all the different components and details of each of the batches.
Since you will be working with more components than normal, it’s important to prepare as much as you can before you start. Examples of ways to prepare are:
- Set out as many bowls as you will be dividing the batter into (for two simple batches, prepare two bowls, for two batches with swirls prepare four bowls etc.)
- Add the additives in the bowls at the preparation stage. If it’s powders, you can mix a little oil in it to make sure they don’t clump when the batter is added. You can either add the essential oil directly in the bowl at preparation, or put it next to to the bowl in a smaller container, so its ready to be added.
- If you want to pour the soup in different molds, place them so you’ve got plenty of space to work. The batter might be hardening fast, and you wont have time to move things around when you are in the middle of the process.
Anyone that has made soap before, knows it’s all about timing, and even more so when you are trying to make two different soaps in one go. The only thing I really do, is to separate the soap batter into the different bowls, a little before it really thickens (trace) and then use a hand whisk for the last thickening. In this way you gain some time to mix in the different additives before they become too thick. A useful pointer is the following: if one mold is a cavity mold, pour that one first. It’s really hard to scoop into a cavity mold (without spending too much time smoothing it out). On the other hand, if you plan a swirl in one of the soaps, pour that first – once it’s too solid, you wont be able to make certain swirls.
Now, that was all for now. Remember, practice makes perfect. I’ve only done this a few times, but I get better every time. And it really keep things interesting when you got the regular process down.