Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser

I’m switching gears for a minute and bringing you a recipe for cold process soap! I set this hobby aside while focusing more on food and writing (and chasing my kids around), but I’ve been wanting to get back into it. I’ve been using store-bought soap lately, and to be honest, it does not compare to the good, homemade stuff. I also feel like I’ve been in a creative rut with food and writing, and my temptation is often to forgo creating altogether. When I do that, though, I find I get “creatively stale.” I don’t know if that’s a real phrase, but I’m going to go with it.

To avoid getting stale, I have to switch to a different creative outlet—play music instead of write recipes, read fiction in between theology books, or in this case, make soap instead of food. It keeps me doing what I love—creating—but it gives my brain a break from the norm.

The beauty of soap-making is that you can make one batch, set your supplies in the closet for a few months, and return to it whenever you can. And most of the recipes I write yield 16 four-ounce bars, so you’re stocked for awhile (or you can use them for gifting!).

Soap-making is sort of like baking. There’s a chemistry to it, and you have to play by the rules in order for it to work. But within those rules, there’s so much creativity that can happen. I love experimenting with different base oils, using a variety of essential oils, or mixing in additives like vanilla. This recipe includes only the basic ingredients and not full instructions, so if you’re new to soap-making, be sure to read more about the full process here.

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser
Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap | Sarah J. Hauser

Orange, Tea Tree + Cocoa Butter Cold Process Soap
Makes about 16 (4-ounce) bars of soap

This recipe is bright and refreshing. I used a mix of orange essential oil and tea tree oil, and the base oils include cocoa butter, making the soap feel extra luxurious. If you are new to soap-making, visit this post for more info.

Base Oils
16 ounces olive oil
12 ounces coconut oil
6 ounces cocoa butter
6 ounces avocado oil
3 ounces jojoba oil

Lye Solution
12 ounces water
5.75 ounces lye

Additives
Add 1.25 ounces of tea tree oil and 2 ounces of orange essential oil before the mixture reaches trace.*

Remember to let your soaps cure for 4-6 weeks before using or gifting!

*The scent may seem strong at first, but it will mellow as it cures.


Grapefruit + Rosemary Salt Scrub

Grapefruit + Rosemary Salt Scrub | Sarah J. Hauser
Grapefruit + Rosemary Salt Scrub | Sarah J. Hauser

I’ve become much more aware of my body since becoming a mother, painfully aware at times. From carrying babies in my womb to c-sections to nursing to lifting toddlers to running up and down stairs for pacifiers, toys, and water bottles, motherhood has proven to be physical work. 

Ten years ago, I quickly bounced back after pummeling my body at soccer practice and ate whatever I wanted without immediate consequences. Now, my often worn out frame needs me to be calmer, gentler, kinder. I’m so often unkind to my body, both in words and in practice. But this body is a gift - and three tiny humans, my husband, and I all need it to function as best it can. 

Back in January, I set the goal to simply do something good for my body every day for a month. Some days, I exercised or drank more water. Other days I took a relaxing bath or went to bed early. It was a month when I needed to rest and recover, a month to practice simply listening to my body and treating it well.

Despite my complaining at the end of long days, I’m grateful for this scarred, saggy, softer than I’d prefer body that’s able to carry a baby on my hip while chasing my twins. I can get down on the floor to play and stand in the kitchen to cook. It’s a tired body, sure, but it’s been dependable thus far. I don’t take that for granted, and I'm learning all over again what it means to care for it. 

Grapefruit + Rosemary Salt Scrub | Sarah J. Hauser

Over the past few years, I’ve become much more conscious of not just the food I put in my body, but also the products I put on my body. I’ve found homemade scrubs, soaps, and other natural products to be a great way to treat my body well. 

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is a magnesium-based “salt” instead of a sodium-based salt, and you can use it for everything from bath soaks to gardening. (Check out this post from Wellness Mama for more about Epsom salt and its uses!) I mixed it with apricot oil, a light, moisturizing oil that won’t leave your skin feeling greasy like some heavier oils. You can find apricot oil at most health food stores and some grocery stores - or on Amazon, of course. I like this cold pressed, organic one from Better Shea Butter.


Grapefruit + Rosemary Salt Scrub
Yields about 9-10 ounces (by volume)

1 cup Epsom salt
½ cup apricot kernel oil
8-10 drops therapeutic-grade grapefruit essential oil*
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Transfer to an airtight jar for storing or gifting. When you’re ready to use, give everything a good stir since the oil and salt may separate. 

To use, gently massage a bit of the salt scrub onto wet skin using a circular motion. Rinse with warm water. 

*Citrus essential oils can cause possible skin sensitivity, especially to sunlight. Also, if you’re pregnant or taking prescription medications, please consult your physician before using essential oils.


DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

We've had a handful of painfully cold days around here lately. I don't mind winter entirely. I love having a white Christmas, running around in the snow with my kids, and generally avoiding the feeling of overheating. But sometimes, the cold and wind hit so hard it actually hurts. That, I mind. Not to mention the super dry air that can leave my knuckles cracked and skin itchy. Not fun. (I'm guessing you Florida and other warm-weather readers are thankful you don't live here right now!)

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]
DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

A couple years ago for my baby shower, my sister made small jars of whipped body butter for party favors, which considering it was the middle of January, was the perfect gift. Body butter goes on a thicker than many lotions, so you don't need to use very much at a time. Homemade versions also don't have harmful additives that many store bought ones have, assuming you're starting with quality ingredients. 

DIY Whipped Body Butter [with Apricot Oil + Mango Butter]

I have a small jar of whipped body butter that I currently keep in my car. It seems like when I put my hands on the steering wheel, I suddenly notice how dry and cracked my hands are, and I love having moisturizer easily accessible. I also use the recipe below as a belly balm during pregnancy (SURPRISE, I'm pregnant again!), and put it on my kids as needed. And I know there are only a few days until Christmas, but you can whip up a batch if you need a last minute gift or stocking stuffer! (Many Better Shea Butter products are Prime eligible on Amazon, so you can get them quickly!)

DIY Body Butter

This recipe uses organic mango butter and organic apricot oil from Better Shea Butter. Mango butter is nourishing and slightly lighter than shea butter. Apricot oil also feels light on your skin and gets quickly absorbed, so you don't have the greasy feeling some other oils have. Apricot oil is also safe for all skin types, including infants!

I adapted my recipe from Wellness Mama, so if you're looking to change up my version to use shea buttercocoa butter, or other oils you may have on hand, make sure to check out this link


DIY Whipped Body Butter
Yields enough to fill about a 16 ounce jar (once whipped)
Adapted from Wellness Mama

4 ounces (by weight) coconut oil
4 ounces (by weight) mango butter
2 ounces (by weight) apricot oil
20 drops therapeutic grade essential oil (I used Young Living's Gentle Baby blend)

Melt the coconut oil, mango butter, and apricot oil in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring constantly. When everything is melted and combined, remove from heat. Allow to cool for about 15-20 minutes, and then stir in the essential oil. 

Put the mixture in the refrigerator and cool to a soft stage, about 1 hour. Then, using a hand mixer, whip everything together until light and fluffy. It'll take about 8-10 minutes of whipping. 

Transfer the body butter to the containers of your choice. Return the body butter to the fridge to set completely, about another half hour. You can store the body butter at room temperature, if your house is cooler than 75 degrees. However, if your home is warmer than that, store in the refrigerator. 

Note: When using this body butter, a little goes a LONG way. Start by rubbing just a tiny amount into your skin, and add more if needed. 


Mango butter and apricot oil for this post were provided by Better Shea Butter. All opinions are 100% my own.


Lemon-Basil Shea Butter Soap

Lemon-Basil Shea Butter Soap

I'm taking a break from food recipes today to share my most recent batch of soap! Soap-making is one of those random hobbies I've actually kept up with. I have a tendency to start a hobby for a few months, buy all the gear and supplies needed, and then abandon it a few months later. Soap-making, though, has been one that's stuck.

Lemon-Basil Shea Butter Soap

Homemade cold-process soap is gentle on my skin and doesn't dry me out like many commercially made alternatives. And, if you decide to get into soap-making, you'll find you can make a batch for a fraction of the price of what's for sale at Whole Foods or other stores selling natural body products.

Lemon-Basil Shea Butter Soap
Lemon-Basil Shea Butter Soap

If you haven't ever made a batch of cold-process soap before, make sure to read this tutorial. You'll find everything you need to know, and it may even bring you back to your high school chemistry days (although if you were like me and wasn't a huge fan of chemistry class, don't let that scare you away!). Happy soap-making! 

Lemon-Basil Shea Butter Soap

Lemon-Basil Shea Butter Soap
Makes about 16 (4 ounce) bars of soap

*If you are new to soap making, visit this post from soapqueen.com for the full instructions. 

Base Oils
14 ounces Shea butter
13 ounces coconut oil
8 ounces olive oil
3 ounces jojoba oil
2.5 ounces avocado oil
1 ounce beeswax

Lye Solution
14 ounces water
5.5 ounces lye

Additives
Add 2 ounces lemon essential oil and 1 ounce basil essential oil right before the mixture reaches trace. (Note: With this recipe, the lemon-basil scent was very strong at first, but it mellowed out perfectly after a month of curing.)

Remember to let your soaps cure for 4-6 weeks before using or gifting