Homemade Hemp Castile Soap

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All my soaps in the store are castile soaps. Castile soap is a very hard, very gentle, and moisturizing soap that can easily be made at home using hot or cold process techniques. Made with 80% vegetable oils or more (purists use only olive oil or olive pomace) these soaps often need either a long cure time (upwards of a year) or hardening techniques but they are completely worth the time and effort!

The recipes I use in the store are all 95% olive or sunflower seed oil and 5% of a specialty oil. The recipe I’m sharing today is my favorite and uses hemp seed oil for its skin-loving and healing properties. I added salt to help it harden faster, and this recipe uses a 5% superfat to moisturize and improve the lather. All weight measurements are in metric, but you can convert it to US/imperial measurements and run it through a soap calculator. DO NOT MEASURE IN CUPS/FLUID OUNCES. ALWAYS MEASURE BY WEIGHT.

When making hot or cold process soap, it’s important to take safety precautions as you’re working with caustic lye. Wear goggles that enclose the eye area totally, invest in a mask, and wear long sleeves and rubber gloves. Closed-toe shoes and pants are also a must, as is tying back long hair. Neglecting these precautions makes you responsible for any chemical burns you get.

This recipe can be cold or hot process. If you skip using the salt, hot process is essential to create a bar that can be unmolded and sliced faster. It can also be used quicker than a cold process bar if you (like me) get impatient! PLEASE: watch this series by Brambleberry creator Anne-Marie on the basics of soap making before attempting this! It helps immensely to know what you’re doing, and my instructions may confuse someone who is unfamiliar with the process.

You need:

  • a stick blender
  • a steel or glass 3 liter container (DON’T use plastic for Hot Process Method)
  • small glass measuring cup
  • small glass cup
  • a digital kitchen scale
  • wood or plastic stirring tools
  • 1 kg (2.25 lb) loaf mold (I made my own)
  • 127g sodium hydroxide lye
  • 330g distilled water
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • 50g hempseed oil
  • 950g olive oil

Cold Process Directions: Calibrate your digital kitchen scale. In your measuring cup, measure out your water using the kitchen scale. In the glass cup, measure out your lye with the scale. Using your wood or plastic stirring tool, dissolve the teaspoon of salt in the water fully, then slowly add the lye INTO the water, dissolving fully until all the lye is in the water. Allow this to cool to room temperature.

In your 3 liter container, measure out your olive oil using the kitchen scale. Tare out the scale and measure out the hempseed oil. Put the stick blender into the oils, and tap it against the bottom of the container to remove air bubbles. On low, blend the lye water into the oils, then bring the speed up to medium-high. Stir frequently until you reach a pudding consistency and the stick blender leaves lines of soap on the surface of the soap batter (called medium trace).

Pour the soap batter into the mold, and tap the mold on the counter lightly to remove air bubbles. If using a wood mold, make sure you’ve lined the mold with parchment paper before pouring. If desired, use your stirring tool to make a nice design on the top. Let sit for 24-72 hours until firm, then unmold and slice. Let cure for 3-4 weeks or ideally 1 year.

Hot Process Directions: follow the CP directions up until trace. From there, put your steel or glass container onto your stovetop and heat on low, checking every 15 minutes. First, it will have little bubbles forming on the sides. Stir and leave for 15 minutes. Next it will be bubbly but still opaque. Stir and leave for 15 minutes. Then it will start to look like tapioca pudding.Stir and leave for 15 minutes. Then it will begin to have a vaseline consistency and translucence. This is what you’re looking for; remove from heat and plop into the mold. Tap the mold on the counter lightly to remove air bubbles. If using a wood mold, make sure you’ve lined the mold with parchment paper before pouring. Let sit for 24-48 hours until firm, then unmold and slice. Let cure for 3-4 weeks at most, as this method is ready to use much quicker.

It’s really simple once you get used to it. And it creates a whole new layer of self-sufficiency to your life, cutting out lots of harmful compounds from your routine in one go! If you like cold process but hate the wait, this recipe can be put in a dehydrator and it cures up faster!



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