We all like a feel good lather in the shower with a bar of soap that doesn’t dry out the skin, that is full of vitamins and minerals that are good for us, and helps us wake up and take on the day feeling confident, clean and fresh. One of the best ways to get this great feeling of cleanliness and luxurious lather is by using goat milk soap.
A simple goat milk soap recipe can be made at home with easily found ingredients and tailored to your preferences. Milky soaps have a few additional challenges to non-milk soaps, but nothing you cannot overcome with a little information and insight. Soapmaking doesn’t have to be hard or confusing, you can easily learn to make soap with any kind of milk and have much success in home soap-making endeavors.
The History of Soap
History shows us that combining the right ingredients means making the most effective soap. Thanks to the advancement of chemistry we can now make soap that is effective and extremely fun! Soap-making has been around for thousands of years with the first masters of the soap-making craft the Babylonians in 2800 B.C. They made soap from fats boiled with ashes and that mixture was used to clean wool, cotton and other textiles as well as being recommended medicinally to help clear up skin diseases. In Egypt, animal and vegetable oils were mixed with alkaline salts to create a cleaning agent much like soap. Throughout the ages, different mixtures of animal and vegetable oils and ashes were used to make a helpful cleaner for clothes, homes and bodies. Goat milk soap recipes and other at-home soap recipes still use some of the basics of soap-making mixtures and ratios that were discovered long ago.
Our word for soap is derived from the Celts who made soap from animal fat and plant ashes. The result was called saipo and is the word that was eventually used to create the English word soap. Today we use a variety of ingredients and techniques to make soap and can make things like goat milk soap in the comfort of our own homes, but when the craft first came on the scene soap making was a lot different. Historically, soap making was reserved for small groups of trained individuals and was an important skill that was passed down and learned generation after generation. Because these groups of soap-makers were so small, they often controlled the entire soap market in areas and created monopolies. This, combined with an increasing desire for soap from the people, made the product extremely expensive. For a long while, only the wealthy were able to have access to soap in their homes. It wasn’t until 1791 that a man by the name of LeBlanc in France discovered that a chemical process for making soap was possible. That discovery allowed soap prices to fall and the product to gain traction in the market with all socioeconomic levels. Luckily, today you can make a goat milk soap right in your kitchen with just a little bit of time and very little expense.
As history continued, the processes of soap making evolved and the price steadily declined. The discovery and further understanding of the chemical relationship between glycerin, fats and acid were the catalysts to modern soap techniques. It has been nearly 200 years since those techniques hit the mainstream and we still employ some of the same foundational methods and understanding of chemical reactions in large and small scale soap-making, though there are more options now for customization and the access to materials is easier for the home soap-maker.
In the 1970’s the soap making industry began to segment with the introduction of hand soap to the laundry and bath soaps people were using. With additional information from scientific research and chemistry soap began to get more and more customized to the type of cleaning that it needed to do. Today, we can see that these customizations continued as we look at any store shelf and find a huge variety of types, scents, purposes and preferences available to use. We can purchase soap in different scents for our bodies, different styles of soaps are available for our pets, there are some soaps that are specialized for our cars, and soap is available that is tailored specifically for babies. While the soap industry has really taken off with all of these customizations, making soap at home has returned in popularity and become a popular craft for many.
Make Your Own Goat Milk Soap
For home soap-making there are several different techniques that produce the wonderful results of homemade soap. The process can be fun, creative and used to make soap that you can use in your home, that becomes a thoughtful gift, or even that uses tailored ingredients that help individualized skin needs. Those with sensitive skin may find the perfect soap by trying in home soap-making! One of the great things about home soap-making is that it can be as simple as a few ingredients or as complex of a recipe as you feel like making to suit your purposes.
Learn the Basics
One of the first steps in learning soap-making is to start with the basics. You can learn the cold-process for beginner soap making and have the techniques and knowledge you need to start creating your own, custom recipes in just a weekend. Cold process soaps have a short preparation time – meaning you are in and out of the creation process fairly quickly and the simplest of cold process recipes include just a few easy to find ingredients. Cold process soaps have a long cure time – the time it takes to make the soap ready for use after you do your part. Cold process soaps take, on average, one to two hours to create in your kitchen and then a few weeks before they are ready to go out the door as gifts or be prepared to store in the home for future use. The longer the soap cures, the harder it becomes and the longer it will be useful to you as a bar. So, plan on letting your creation sit for awhile to age because the slow aging process is the best way to get high-quality, cold process soap. Most home soap makers recommend planning a cure time of four to six weeks when using the cold process soap making technique.
After getting a handle on the basics of cold process soap-making you can move into intermediate soap-making to discover how to add layers, designs, exfoliants, and other customizations in your cold process. These tips and tricks will help you add creativity to your creations and keep the process fun as well as increase your options for gifting and increase your overall enjoyment of your homemade soap! The more skilled you are at these processes, the more success you will have as you move into more advanced soap-making and creations that have more complex designs by increasing your knowledge of swirling and coloring techniques and additions that make your bars special.
A huge appeal of at-home soap making is the knowledge that you are aware of exactly what is going into your soap. There are plenty of horror stories and informational websites out there that will tell you that the cosmetics industry has been using some pretty rough stuff in the products we enjoy the most. When you move to making some of these products from scratch you become more aware of what is actually needed, useful, and what methods you are supporting for producing your skincare. Soap-making is a great, easy way to get started having more control over what you are using on your skin and what you are supporting in the industry, plus the changes and customizations you can make to your soap recipe are inspiring!
From Goat Milk to Coffee Ground Scrubs
From the basics of your goat milk soap recipe you can make almond milk soap with a coffee ground exfoliant, or a creamy rice milk soap! The fun is limitless as you learn to use liquids like coffee, tea, beer, wine and juices to create amazing soaps that are fun to use and fun to gift.
As you get started with your soap-making process you may find that you really enjoy it, are good at it, and want to share it with more and more people. Homemade soaps are popular gifting items and are commonly made available at local boutiques. It is simple to begin to sell your product if you have the right labels and know what is required for sales in any store. You can learn the ins and outs of labeling your soap and other custom cosmetics so you can sell your product.
Whether for use in your own home because you simply want to know what you are using on your skin, to a great, personalized gift giving idea and chance at owning your own small business, soap-making is a fun craft and great way to spend a quick afternoon. Enjoy your soap-making experience!