The following is an excerpt from Soapmaking the Natural Way: 45 Melt-and-Pour Recipes Using Herbs, Flowers and Essential Oils by Rebecca Ittner (Lark Crafts, 2010). This excerpt is part of Chapter 2: Soften and Soothe.
Soothing and gently exfoliating, this creamy bar has the comforting scent of vanilla. Buttermilk and oatmeal have long been touted as being great for soothing and moisturizing sensitive skin. If you prefer a smooth appearance to your soaps, stir in all of the oatmeal before pouring the soap into the pan. Yields approximately eight bars.
2 teaspoons vanilla essential oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder
2 tablespoons hot water
1 cup oatmeal (do not use quick-cooking oatmeal)
2 pounds shea butter melt-and-pour suspension soap
2 small bowls
Double boiler with lid
Glass measuring cup: 4-cup
Metal spoon for stirring
Mold: square muffin or brownie pan with multiple sections
Spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol
Strainer or cheesecloth
1. Lightly coat the pan with vegetable spray. Using a paper towel, remove any excess spray.
2. Using the large knife, chop the oatmeal so the flakes are about half their original size.
3. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of the chopped oatmeal evenly on the bottom of each square in the pan.
4. Using the large knife, cut the soap into cubes, then melt the soap in the double boiler, covering the double boiler with the lid.
5. While the soap is melting, mix the buttermilk powder with the hot water in a small bowl. Using a separate bowl and a strainer or cheesecloth, strain the mixture to remove any lumps.
6. Once the soap is melted, add the buttermilk mixture and honey, stirring gently to incorporate. Stir in 3/4 cup of oatmeal until it is evenly distributed, then stir in the essential oil.
7. Transfer the soap into the glass measuring cup using the rubber spatula. Slowly pour the soap into the pan, then spray the surface of the soap with rubbing alcohol to eliminate any bubbles.
8. Allow the soap to cool and fully harden, then remove the soap from the pan.
Read the original article, "Handmade, Homemade Soap Recipes: The Art of Natural Soap Making."