There are many recipes using egg whites for skin, as it is a natural and effective astringent and pore tightener. Astringents are ingredients that tighten the skin and give a firmer appearance. In soap making, egg whites for skin care also makes the lather milder overall by decreasing the oil-cutting capacity of the soap. Egg yolk contains fats that fortify the soap with natural humectants. Natural humectants are soap ingredients that retain moisture, a boon for any skin type. Adding a whole egg or two to your soap recipe allows you to capture the full benefits of the egg for your skin. With just one simple technique, you can add eggs to your soap recipe and create a beautiful, pale yellow, rich and well-lathering soap bar.
As this is an advanced technique, I recommend that you have a few basic soaps completed before tackling this project. If you are new to soap making, click here for a soap-making resource to learn more about making your own soap. The eggs must be tempered in the warm oils before the well-cooled lye solution is added to prevent cooking the egg and causing grainy bits to develop in the soap. The eggs will make a creamy, extra-gentle lather and a gently yellow soap somewhere between natural butter and lemon, depending on the color of your egg yolks. If you produce your own eggs, milk and lard, a Breakfast soap (lard, fresh milk and eggs) is a special gift that does a brilliant job of utilizing your products. For a basic goat’s milk soap recipe with 5 variations, click here. The basic recipe is easily adjusted by blending two eggs into the oils before adding the cooled lye. One interesting reaction occurring in egg soap is the release of sulphur as the soap saponifies. The soap can temporarily have a strong sulphur- or ammonia-like smell, which will dissipate completely as the soap cures. In addition, if the soap is allowed to gel, a greenish circle can develop in the center of the soap. This is also temporary and will fade as the soap cures. Incorporating egg into soap requires that you work with a water discount.
To begin your egg soap, crack the eggs into a container on a scale set to zero. Record the weight of the eggs. You will subtract that quantity of water from the water used to hydrate your lye. Again, you will be subtracting the weight of the eggs from the total weight of the water in your recipe. Set aside the eggs. Begin making your soap in the usual way, using the reduced water amount to hydrate your lye. Mix the lye well and allow it to cool completely to help prevent overheating of the soap. While waiting for the lye water to cool, weigh each of your oils, melt the solid oils and mix all oils together well. To keep temperatures low and prevent gelling, use a recipe that is not too high in palm oil or stearic acid. Avoid using additives that heat the soap further, such as sugar or honey. When you are ready to make soap, add the eggs to the base oils and use the stick blender to fully mix the egg and oils. This is how you will temper the eggs to prevent small bits of cooked egg from appearing in your soap. Slowly add the completely cooled lye water and stir well by hand. Stick blend in short, 30 second intervals, alternating with hand stirring, until you have reached the level of thickness you prefer for pouring. Keep an eye on the soap temperatures in case there is a notable rise. You can place the soap in the refrigerator or freezer to finish saponifying, if necessary, to prevent overheating and gelling.
What happens if the soap does gel? Never fear. There will be a sulphurous or ammonia-like odor, but this will dissipate as the soap cures. In addition, a greenish ring may form on the interior of your soap. This will also fade as the soap cures. In the end the difference between gelled and ungelled soap amounts to cosmetic preferences.
So, now you have learned about the process of creating a water discount, tempering eggs in soap making, and several methods of preventing gel stage, if desired. It is a simple, three-step process: weigh the eggs; reduce the recipe’s water by the weight of the eggs; add the eggs to warm oils and blend to temper them. With these simple steps you can experience increased richness of lather in your handmade soap, a firming effect of egg whites for skin pores and increased creamy, conditioning lather from the egg yolks. Will you try your hand at egg soap? Please share your experiences with us!