Skincare Part 4: How to Make Soap (Faster & Easier than You Can Imagine!)

Over the last month, we’ve been on quite the journey exploring the skincare industry, lack of regulation, and how many dangerous ingredients enter our bodies. At last, we’ve arrived at the finale: how to make your own soap at home! This process is faster and easier than you ever could have imagined. (And it’s because we’re cheating. But more on that below.)

Let’s recap parts 1-3 from the skincare series before we dive in to the new material. But if you’d rather skip the review, jump ahead to make your own soap.

In part 1, “Why is the U.S. Cosmetic Industry Not up to Snuff? (And why should you care?)“, you learned:

Europe has banned 1,328 ingredients from cosmetics, Canada 587, and the U.S. a mere 11. This means 99.2% of the banned ingredients in Europe are allowed in the United States.

What you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream in under 30 seconds.

“It’s more dangerous to put a product on your skin than to eat it.” –  Dr. Samuel Epstein

The average woman is exposed to 168 unique ingredients in cosmetics daily.

The average newborn has over 200 chemicals in his or her cord blood, many of which cause harm to the brain and nervous system, and are linked to cancer, birth defects, or abnormal development.

The last legislation regarding the regulation and safety of cosmetics was passed in 1938 – the industry is largely self-regulated.

In part 2, “How to Protect Yourself and Your Family (Without memorizing all 1,328 ingredients banned in Europe)” you discovered:

Replace the dirtiest products that you use daily first – these are the ones that accumulate in your body.

Think Dirty is a free, easy-to-use app that can screen your products in no time and rate the whole ingredient list for safety around carcinogenicity, developmental & reproductive toxicity, and allergies & immunitoxicities.

Be particularly aware of “fragrance” on any ingredient list – a term encompassing over 3,000 ingredients, some of which are carcinogenic chemicals, neurotixins, endocrine disrupters, respiratory irritants, narcotics, known allergens, and more. (Source)

In part 3, How to Find Awesome Alternatives (to the products tearing you apart from the inside out), you read:

You can use the Think Dirty app and the Evironmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database to find cleaner alternatives to dirty products.


Part 4: How to Make Soap (Faster & Easier than you ever could have imagined)

When it comes to making your own products at home (my promised topic for this part 4), I could literally write a book. I’ve spent hours and hours refining recipes, cajoling friends and acquaintances into testing them, and so on.

My absolute favorite product I’ve ever made is my body butter, a thick and deeply nourishing cream. I’m pretty certain it’s the best you could ever find. I put it on my legs after my morning shower, and it’s still there at bedtime. I can literally tell when I forgot to put it on that morning.

This is also a favorite product of customers who work in medical offices and are constantly washing their hands, as well as people who do a lot of hard work with their hands and find them dry and battered at the end of the day. It makes a world of difference.

But after months of recipe development, that’s now one of my own secret recipes. You can buy some here. (And I’d appreciate your support!)


Why Start with Soap?

As I said, I could write a book on making your own products. But rather than try to give you a book’s worth of information in one blog post, I wanted to start with something I knew (er, hoped, anyway) that you would use every day. In the shower, in the bathroom, washing dishes – did you know you could use variations of one simple easy recipe to meet all of your sudsy needs?

Let’s begin with why I recommend making your own soap. There’s a lot of soap on the shelves at the store. Unfortunately, most of it is dirty. Take, for example, my favorite soap growing up, Soft Soap. If you check out Think Dirty and scroll through the first 3 screens you see it’s…



…not at all promising. Solid dirty 10’s are as dirty as it gets. Time to run the other way.

Why is it all rated 10? Aside from fragrance (covered in part 2), rated a 9, Soft Soap contains a chemical called DMDM Hydantoin, rated 10. This is a preservative known to release formaldehyde, a carcinogen. Wash your hands, increase your chance of cancer? NO, THANKS!!

Instead of the dirty options on the shelf, you could pay 2-3 times as much and get the fancy expensive stuff that’s rated well on Think Dirty. But wouldn’t you like to make your own for the cost of pennies instead?

Yep, I thought you’d agree. 🙂


What do you need to make soap?

Allow me to introduce you to a product that will change your life: Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap. (Of course, Think Dirty gives it a big lovely 0 rating – the cleanest of the clean!)

You can buy it here, where I’ve put together a list of the best prices just for you.


This is a good, clean soap with recognizable ingredients and no additives, created by a family business that’s been making soap for the last 150 years. They’re committed to “making socially and environmentally responsible products of the highest quality, and… dedicating [the] profits to help make a better world.” (Source)

Dr. Bronner’s soap is so potent and concentrated that you need to use very little of it – in fact, you need to water it down.

And that lovely fact is why it’s so fast and easy for you to make your own soap at home. It’s because we’re cheating! But this is the good kind of cheating: everyone wins.

So that’s really all you need to make your own soap: Dr. Bronner’s soap, water, and your container of choice.


Let’s Make Soap!

Ready to make handsoap? Simply mix a ratio of 1 part Dr. Bronner’s soap to 8 parts water (for example, 1 oz soap with 8 oz, or 1 cup water) and store it in a foaming soap dispenser like this glass pump or this plastic option. Shake it well, set it by the sink, and you’re ready to go.

Time to wash your face? Use only 2-3 drops.

Washing dishes? Use the same sort of pump as above, dilute to a ratio of 1 to 10, shake well, and voila! Dish soap. (Or even easier, you could use the same mix as the hand soap above. The ratio is close enough.)

Dr. Bronner’s has many other uses, and the proper ratios, right here on their website.


What are you waiting for?

Get your soap, find the right foaming dispenser, and you can make your hand soap for roughly $0.50 per cup, under $0.09 per ounce. That’s many times cheaper than you’ll find it on the shelf. But not only that, your hands and health will be better for replacing the “dirty” products in your home.

Give it a try and comment below: How did it go? Do you have any questions?

Stay tuned for next week’s recipe: body scrub!

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