On making lard soap

Tank Green/ February 21, 2024/ Reviews

Photo of two pieces of soap, one beige and one orange.

Photo of two pieces of soap, one beige and one orange.

I’m still on my lard kick because I’m still on my pork crackling kick, and I need ways to use up the excess rendered lard. I have now made lard lotion twice as well as two batches of cold pressed lard soap.

I am very pleased with how these two batches have turned out, given that this is the first time I have attempted to make soap. I mixed the lard with different fats, liquids, and scents each time to see the different effects.

The orange one is my first attempt and it’s orange because I used palm oil alongside the lard, as I had some leftover from my yam pottage phase. I also used olive oil, rose water, and rose geranium essential oils. The scent is lovely and has really lasted, so I will be rose geraniuming again one day. I made the batch in November and it was cured by late December. The smell is still strong and the remainder of the batch perfumes my bedroom. The soap itself is quite hard, and lathers well enough, but not as well as it could do, so I knew the fats element of the recipe needs tweaking.

Photo of two pieces of soap, one beige and one orange. View point is from the top.

Photo of two pieces of soap, one beige and one orange. View point is from the top.

The beige one is an attempt to make sage soap, in this one I used the following fats: lard, coconut oil, olive oil, and shea butter. I made sage water by steeping fresh sage in boiling water, and used a jasmine perfume oil plus white sage, lemongrass, and geranium essential oil for smells. I used jasmine perfume oil because the essential oil is so expensive, but the smell evaporated within days, so I won’t use that again. This soap has the lather I am looking for, but despite the shea butter, is a tiny tiny bit drying. This article says that coconut oil can be drying, so next time I will reduce the coconut oil from 20% to 15% of the total fat content. After that, I reckon this will be a lovely base formula to add different smells to.

I’m not going to share the recipe for either soap batch as they aren’t perfect, and there are lots of experienced people on the interwebs sharing their soap recipes. In particular, I like looking at Lovely Greens recipes and tutorials for inspiration and guidance.

If, like me, you want to make your own soap mixes, then you can also use this lye calculator and play around with things yourself. Basically, you put in the amounts of each fat you intend to use, and it calculates how much liquid and lye you need. Very helpful! That website also has a fragrance calculator, which I wish I’d noticed before now! I have also been using this article to understand the different properties of fats to inform and guide my experiments.

Anyway, lard! Is there no end to your utility? Tasty and nourishing, inside and out! The second batch of lard lotion I made is so, so lovely. I can’t see myself ever going back to shop bought lotions and face creams. My only dilemma is what to do with all this soap. There’s only so much washing one woman can do.

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