My husband (AKA the Marketing Capuchin if you follow me on Facebook) has made beer for over a decade. Many years ago I bought him a Mr. Beer kit because I thought he needed a hobby and, all these years later, he has gotten pretty amazing at making beer and I really do think it’s as good as, or better than, most store-bought beers. Myself, our family and friends are the lucky ones who get to enjoy his wonderful selection of craft brews since he obviously can’t sell them. Fast forward to 2017 and my new interest in soap making. I started coming up with new soap ideas and came across a recipe that substituted beer for distilled water. I’m always looking for ways to make my soap stand out from other soaps. From the beginning I decided all of my soaps would be all-natural and contain no artificial colors, fragrance oils or additives. So instead of using artificial fragrance oils, scents or artificial colors to make our soap SMELL like beer and instead of using store-bought beer, I decided to make soap with our own ‘Little Christopher’s’ beer. He still can’t SELL his beer but it’s ‘for sale’ in my soap!
Making soap with beer is an entirely different process (not just a matter of simply substituting beer for water). Beer contains carbonation, alcohol and sugar - three things that DO NOT mix well with lye (one of the most important components in soap-making). Put it this way, if I were to mix the lye right into the beer like I do with distilled water I would get a literal caustic beer/lye boiling volcano. The carbonation would cause it to get a huge head, the alcohol and the sugar would cause the temperature to rise rapidly and it would, on its own, start to boil. And THAT is bad. But there are three easy steps I take to keep any of this from happening and to safely make an awesome bar of beer soap. So let’s walk through the process.
First, I let the beer go completely flat. This will eliminate the first problem - carbonation. I let the beer sit out in an open container for about two days until there are no more bubbles. When the beer is completely flat, I boil it for 10 minutes. This gets rid of the second problem - the alcohol (I know, alcohol in beer is a good thing! Just not in soap-making). And, last, I weigh out the remaining beer, add distilled water to bring it up to volume and put this in a container to freeze. This fixes the last problem - the beer getting too hot and boiling over when I add the lye. And that’s it. Once the beer is frozen I’m ready to use it to make soap.
You’re probably asking yourself why I would go to all this trouble just to use beer is soap. Because beer is great for your skin and your hair!
- Beer contains B vitamins (to help retain moisture);
- It also contains high levels of minerals, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants and proteins and is great for your hair (YES, we do make a Shampoo beer soap);
- Beer also contains Biotin which important for healthy hair;
- The brewer's yeast used in beer is packed with nutrients and hops is great for your skin;
- Beer is a good cleanser and has anti-bacterial properties.
And the possibilities for different varieties of beer soap are only limited by my (and the Marketing Capuchin’s) imagination. Currently, in our beer soap collection, we currently have four varieties (and a sampler set) to choose from: English Cedar, Lemongrass IPA, Citrus Clove, and Shampoo Soap.
If you would like to read more about each individual beer soap you can check them all out at cedarwoodsoap.com/collections/beer-soaps and I hope you enjoyed this little behind-the-scenes look into the making of our beer soaps.
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(Disclaimer: Regulations set forth by the FDA prohibit bath and body companies from making health-related claims about beauty products. I am not a medical or healthcare professional and do not claim that the use of my products may have a positive effect on pre-existing physical and/or mental health conditions. The information in my listings pertains to the properties of specific ingredients used in the product.)