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Soap with Natural Exfoliation
One of the best things you can do for your skin (other than to use a quality soap) is to exfoliate. It helps rid your skin of dead cells and promote the growth of new ones. Many of you have tried using Natural Exfoliants in your soap already. One of the most popular (and easy) exfoliants to use in your soap is loofah. (It's also often spelled luffa or loofa...but it's all the same plant.)
Loofahs can be used in either cold process or melt and pour soap. You can use it in slices, ground up, or... whole. This project uses melt and pour soap base and a 12" piece of loofah in a 3" pvc pipe mold.
Let's get started!Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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What You'll Need
For this project, you'll need:
Continue to 3 of 10 below.
- About 4 lbs of clear melt and pour soap base
- A 12" pvc pipe mold with end cap
- A quality 12" piece of clean, dry loofah
- Fragrance and/or color as desired
- Basic soap making equipment - pyrex pitcher, whisk, scale, knife, cups for fragrance oil, towels, microwave
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Prepare the Mold
Take your mold and make sure that it is free from any dust or dirt on the inside. Put the end cap on firmly.
If you don't have an end cap, you can use several layers of plastic wrap and some tight rubber bands to seal the end.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Insert the LoofahPut the loofah down into the mold.
If it's longer than the mold, just cut the end off. If it's shorter, just add another piece to fill the mold.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Cut, Weigh and Melt the Soap
Cut, weigh and melt your soap base.
This 12" pipe mold held about 40 oz. of soap base. Because you don't know exactly how much space the loofah is going to take up, I usually melt a little more than I have to - just to be safe.
Put the soap base in the microwave and melt it at 1-2 minute intervals. Heat it, stir. Heat it, stir, until it is hot (about 180 degrees) and completely melted.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Pour Soap into Pipe Mold - Melt and Pour Soap Making Recipe
Slowly pour the melted soap into the top of the pvc pipe mold. Don't fill the mold all the way - leave about an inch or two from the top. Tap the mold against a hard surface to dislodge any air bubbles from the soap. After you've thumped the mold on the counter, fill it the rest of the way. Set the mold aside to cool. It should take 2-3 hours to completely cool.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Unmold the Soap
After the soap has cooled completely, it's time to get it out of the mold. This is the only difficult part of the project. Sometimes the soap will just not want to come out of the mold!
I like to pop the mold into the freezer for about 20 minutes before I unmold. It seems to help the soap pop out better. Pop the cap off of the soap. Then, place a standard size vegetable can under the mold. With the 3" pipe, it will just fit inside the pipe. Slowly push the pipe down onto the can. The log of... soap will start to come out the top. Press slowly and firmly. It will move very slowly at first. Keep pushing! It will come.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Slicing the Soap
Another tricky thing with loofah soap is slicing it. You'll need to use a sharp serrated knife to cut through the loofah. I like to slice the soap as it's coming out of the mold. Push out an inch, slice. Push out another inch, slice. The edge of the mold gives me a nice straight even cut.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Head for the Shower!
When your soap is all sliced, it's ready to use.
Some people find that loofah is a bit too scratchy for use in the shower and prefer to just use it as hand soap. That's fine. There are different qualities of loofahs as well...some are harder, some are softer, I've found. However and wherever you use your loofah soap - enjoy it!
If you want to use loofah in some less scrubby variations, check out Loofah Soap Variations.