One of the great benefits to having dairy goats on My Lil Farm is making my own goat milk soap. I often see these bars of soap sold at vendor events, boutique shops and spas at a premium. The benefits of using goat milk on the skin has gone back for centuries. It’s even said that the milk baths that Cleopatra took were goat milk baths. Some of the benefits from using unpasteurized goat milk on the skin are listed below.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as lactic acid help to remove dead skin cells from the surface which leave your skin smoother and younger feeling. Most soaps sold commercially are water based and contain many harsh chemicals.
- Cream and fat are essential to a high-quality soap. Many people believe soaps high in oils and fat will leave their skin oily feeling, however it’s the fats that act as a surfactant to remove dirt and the excess oils from the skin, and this occurs without drying out the skin.
- Vitamin A is particularly high in goat milk. Vitamin A is used in many antiaging creams which is necessary to repair damaged skin and maintain healthy skin. This is great also for people suffering from acne or psoriasis.
- Minerals such as selenium can also be found in goat milk. There are studies that show that selenium has an important role in preventing skin cancer. Many areas of the country have soil that is not rich in selenium, but if your goats have this supplement added to their diets, this can also be a great benefit of goat milk soap.
Personally, for me, in addition to all the benefits listed above, I just really like making my own soap. I can make the fragrances I want and I know exactly what is in the soap. I feel clean and my skin feels amazing after using it. I can generally make a batch of 9 bars and it will last me several months. I have found some great sources online to buy my fragrances, colors and some of my supplies. I have also made some great bars of soap that my husband and son love to use with knockoff men’s cologne scents. Really, the reason I started making soap was because my goats were producing so much milk that I had to find something, anything, to do with it because it was just painful to pour all that milk down the drain. Since goat milk soap requires frozen unpasteurized goat milk, I can freeze the milk in ice cube trays and then store it in a gallon freezer bag in my deep freeze until I am ready to use it.
I will never forget the first time I made soap. You would have thought I was preparing for a very dangerous science experiment. My son could sense it too, he was watching from the living room and told me he’d man the vinegar and call 911 if I needed him to. I do have a tendency to be over cautious, but I didn’t know what I was getting into at the time, and after all, lye can cause a significant chemical burn to the skin (ever see Fight Club?). With that being said, I am still very cautious. The bowels and spoons I use, I don’t use for anything else other than soap making. I will clean my counters and kitchen sink before I start and do my lye mixing down in the sink, just in case it spills. I always make sure I have a gallon of vinegar open next to the sink in case I get lye on the skin and need to pour it over that area to neutralize the lye. I also make sure EVERYONE knows that I am making soap and they cannot come into the kitchen until I am done and everything is cleaned up. The lye mixture looks a bit like white frosting and I have heard stories where unsuspecting family members have happened upon the mixture mid process and licked the spoon, only to acquire a chemical burn to the esophagus. Likewise, when the mixture is curing in the refrigerator, it can look and smell like a dessert. I use a spare refrigerator and label the soap clearly.
With all that being said, soap making really is easy. From start to clean-up it generally takes me 35-45 minutes. It’s like making a cake, but there’s no cooking and you wear personal protective equipment. If you don’t have access to goat milk, you can substitute with whole milk from the store. Of course it won’t have all the benefits, but it still makes a nice soap.
Here is my recipe that makes approximately 9 bars of soap. I use a scale and weigh in grams to keep my proportions precise.
- 247 grams of Olive Oil
- 165 grams Palm Oil
- 48 grams Coconut Oil
- 42 grams Castor Oil
- 124 grams Shea Butter
- 42 grams Fragrance Oil
- 250 grams Frozen Goat Milk
- 117 grams Lye
- Glass or stainless-steel bowels
- Stainless-steel spoon
- Hand held blender
- Soap Molds or Freezer Paper and a Disposable Aluminum Pan
- Rubber Gloves
- Goggles-vented (the kind you used in school for science experiments)
- Vinegar (on standby to neutralize the lye if you get it on your skin)
- Long Sleeved Shirt
Measure and mix all the oils (except the fragrance oil). The palm and coconut oils will have to be microwaved to bring into the fluid form.
Heat the oil mixture to 127 degrees F.
Mix the shea butter into the heated oils and let melt in.
Put the frozen goat milk in a separate tempered glass dish and set that dish in ice water bath in the sink. The lye creates an exothermic reaction and will cause the milk to get really hot which will discolor it to a less attractive brown. Slowly add the lye about ¼ teaspoon at a time and stir continuously until it is dissolved. The cubes will melt as the chemical reaction occurs. Use the thermometer to keep the temp below 80 degrees F. If it starts to rise too quickly, just continue to stir the frozen cubes without adding more lye until the temp comes down. Then resume adding small amounts of lye. This part of the process is what takes the longest.
About the time this lye mixing process is done, the oils should have cooled to about 80-90 degrees F. You don’t want more than a 10 degree difference between the lye mixture and the oils when they come together. Now add in the fragrance into the other oils and stir. If you add the fragrance when the oils are too hot, the heat can affect the fragrance.
Bring the lye milk mixture over to the oils and quickly pour into the oils.
Use a hand mixer and pulse to stimulate the sapinofication process (another chemical reaction). This is when you will be glad you are wearing your goggles, gloves and long-sleeved shirt. If you don’t pulse long enough, the mixture will be very fluid, if too long, it is very very thick. You want it about the thickness of frosting right after it is made. If you wish to add coloring it is during the pulsing process that you would want to add that. You could also pour off half if you want to get creative for a two-toned soap bar.
Pour your mixture into molds or the disposable aluminum pan lined with freezer paper (shiny side up). Try to make sure you get all the air bubbles out and smooth the surface. It won’t really settle after this, so the shape you have is what it will be. While pouring the mixture into the molds, sometimes I will add coffee beans, oatmeal or the large grained sea salt to act as an exfoliant. These usually compliment whatever fragrances I have chosen. If you are going for the two-toned look, pour in the first color, then slowly top with the second color. You can use a wooden skewer to trace through and make swirls.
Place the molds in the refrigerator for 24 hours. You can then remove them from the molds and place on a wire rack to continue the curing process. Wear gloves when removing. If you placed your mixture in a pan, it’s at this point you can cut them into bars. The soap is still soft enough that if pieces break off you can replace it and smooth it out with your hands, a little like soft clay.
Set your bars aside for a minimum of 9 weeks. The chemical process is still happening and the lye can burn if you use the soap too soon. I like to wait at least 3 months before I use mine. If the soaps are still soft, they will melt really fast in the shower and they get used up more quickly.
That is it. You can wrap up your bars or tie bows around them and sell them if you choose, or you can keep them all to yourself. I will warn you, once people find out that you are making goat milk soap, they will be asking you for bars to buy all the time.