Last year I posted my friend Mimi’s hand milled soap recipe, you can read it here. This soap is so easy to make, and really lovely to use, and I have made it a number of times. But I wanted to try out some new variations. I went with aloe vera, and oatmeal.
I found some instructions on how to harvest aloe vera gel from a plant, and since I have one I wanted to give it a go. If you don’t have an aloe vera plant, I suggest you get yourself one. Rubbing the gel on sunburn, itches or other ouches really helps! They are easy to grow and don’t require much maintenance. If you know someone who has one ask them for a ‘pup’ – the little plants that sprout up beside the main plant. I will have to repot mine soon, as it is so big! (Hint for anyone who knows me who would like some)
One thing I learnt was that the green juice is bitter and can irritate, so wash it off. It is found just under the skin. Some sites say to cut the leaf then let the juice drip out, before washing it. Others say cut out the gel, then give that a good rinse. I went with the second option. You can see a quick diagram on this pin but it no longer links to the instructions I used, and I couldn’t find them when searching 😦 There are some more directions here
But it’s very easy:
Cut a big juicy outer leaf
Cut off the side bits where the spines are.
Keeping your knife parallel to your chopping board, slide it under the skin on the flat side of the leaf. It’s like filleting a fish so they say.
I then scooped the flesh out, and rinsed it well.
It is sticky. And gluggy. Your hands will get covered in stickiness. Your knife and chopping board will get covered in stickiness. You may like to wear gloves. Just saying 😉
I then popped it in my mini blender with a little water and whizzed it up.
Next up was some oatmeal soap. This was my favourite kind of soap as a child. I love how it ‘scratches’.
I took 1/4 cup of rolled oats, and whizzed them up in the same mini blender (after cleaning and drying it, of course!) until they were a bit finer. Don’t overdo it, you don’t want oatmeal powder! And I forgot to take a photo of that stage, sorry.
I made a full batch of Mimi’s soap, then divided it in half. One half had the oats stirred through, the other had the aloe gel. I used roughly 1/4 cup of gel (same as the oats), and that seemed to be a good amount. I didn’t add any fragrant oil.
Here’s the recipe again:
750gms Lux flakes or equivalent grated soap
3 cups of water
4 tablespoons of Milk Powder
1/2 cup Macadamia Oil
Few drops of scented or essential oil (Jasmine fragrance oil for oil burners is our favourite)
Bring a large pot of water to a simmer, and sit a large mixing bowl over it.
To the mixing bowl, add the soap flakes, milk powder and water, and stir until it becomes a thick slush.
Add the Macadamia Oil and fragrance oil and stir until combined.
Spoon into your mould/s.
Let them set overnight, then unmould onto racks to air and harden. I’ve found that leaving them for about three weeks gives them more longevity upon use.
I used 2 litre plastic containers as my moulds, lined with plastic wrap
The next day I turned them out of the moulds and cut into 12 cakes each. They are now drying, and I am looking forward to testing them in a couple of weeks!
A 700g box of Lux Flakes costs me around $7.50 from Woolworths, so for under $10 I have 24 lovely handmade soaps.
Go on, have a go! What variations will you try?
* You can find all my beauty posts here