Monday, May 6, 2013

Adventures in Glycerin: Making soap and hand lotion

I've been seeing a lot of recipes online recently about how to make your own soap, nail polish remover, and lotion and they all seem to have one ingredient in common: glycerin.

Glycerin (spelled with or without an e at the end) can also be called glycol, and it is a thick clear liquid. It's a great moisturizer and also can be used as a sweetener.
I tried tasting some while I was making stuff today and it was like a strong slightly bitter sweet taste. I don't think I would eat it by itself again, but it is nice to know that it isn't toxic.

Anyway, I went on Amazon and bought some glycerin, and since I thought it would be a good thing to have around in my cabinet for later, I got a GINORMOUS bottle.
I've since learned that this is not necessary and was probably a mistake.
Most recipes call for teaspoons of the stuff, and this is the bottle I got:

Product Details
$13.97 Quart of Kosher Vegetable Glycerin
That's a lot of liquid!

Here is what I should have probably gotten instead:

$7.19 NOW vegetable glycerine 16oz

Or maybe:
Product Details
$3.49 Dr. Adorable Glycerin 5oz

Anyway, I bought too much and now I will have glycerin forever and am doomed to making my own lotions and soaps.


The first project I tried was making a bar of soap into liquid soap.
I am not a bar soap person, but E's mom got me a nice lavender bar, so I thought it would be great if I could make it into bodywash or hand soap instead.
It worked ok but not great.
Grating the soap was really annoying.
Once it was mixed, I kept having to reheat the mixture and add more water to thin it out. It was REALLY thick. And now I have a million bottles of liquid soap, and now it is a little too thin. Anyone want any?

The recipe I used was this one, but I don't recommend it, as I said. The ratios weren't right and I got way too much.
While the foamy soap mixture was cooking it smelled pretty good, and the soap came out of the pot just fine with washing.
I might try this experiment again in 87 years when I finally run out of liquid soap.

Homemade Beeswax Lotion
I just made lotion as well and am really happy with the results.
I had a bunch of little mini hotel lotions under the sink, some marula and argan oil, and a bar of beeswax moisturizer that I never use since it is so thick and sticky. I thought that I could combine all of these and consolidate.
I used a combination of 2 recipes here, and also just my own mad science.
The recipe I used to make the base of the lotion and melt down my beeswax was this one.
It calls for coconut oil and olive oil too, both of which I had in the kitchen.
BTW this whole recipe is edible so that is nice.
I chose that recipe since it didn't have any water in it, which I hear keeps better.

The stuff I got from melting all those oils down and adding glycerin after is pretty viscous. It smells awesome from the beeswax and coconut!

In an old lotion container, I combined all the little bottles of lotion, and put some argan and marula and jojoba oil in. Then I put the cap back on and shook it up to combine. Next, I added a bunch of orange water (also from the kitchen) because I wanted to thin it out since the waxy stuff was so thick. I got that idea from this recipe. I shook that, then needed to add the waxy lotion.
Now, I had to pour the waxy stuff from the big wide mouth jar into the small opening of the lotion bottle. I didn't want to use a spouted measuring cup or other vessel because I didn't want to get things oily and have to clean them.
So I came up with what I think is a stroke of genius.
I got a clear plastic lid from takeout food out of the recycling and cut off the rim so I had a flat circle. Then I rolled that circle into a funnel shape and taped it all around with a long piece of masking tape to keep it together. That way I could focus on pouring and not holding the funnel together.

I poured the waxy mix while it was still warm, and left about 2 inches of air at the top of the lotion bottle. Then I shook shook shook with the cap on, to mix it all together.
It was still a little thicker than I wanted, and I was worried about the lotion being able to come out of the spout at the top, so I added more orange water and shook again.

One fun part of making lotion is that you invariably need to clean up the mouths of the jars and lids and stuff, and you can just wipe the extra on yourself.
I am the most moisturized person in the world right now.

Anyway, I ended up with a good large bottle of lotion and a quarter of a jar of the waxy mix which I will save for later. I could use the mix in the jar as lotion too, but I will probably thin it out because I like it better that way.

Yay projects!

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