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soap making book

I love a good, hand made herbal soap. It always has been something I have wanted to try and make but I never have gotten up the courage to just bite the bullet and do it! Have you read a soap making book recently? The “normal” books have a lot of processed junk I wouldn’t put on my skin, and I haven’t found a good many books that use “natural” ingredients, if they do they often are written for the advanced soap maker. Seeing as my experience with making soap is the melt and pour variety I definitely would not be considered “advanced”.

This is why I was so excited to hear that Jan from The Nerdy Farm Wife was working on a book for beginners using NATURAL ingredients! Jan always has amazing recipes whether they be food, herbal or soap you know whatever she shares will be a winner. She sent me her book to review and I am so glad to have the chance!

In her book Cold Process Basics & Recipes Jan holds your hands and takes you step by step through the soap making process. She explains key terms, safety information, and ingredients making you feel comfortable with the information provided. It is truly written for the beginner to quickly become acquainted with the ins and outs of cold process soap.

Her recipes are beautiful and inspired using oils, herbs, and essential oils to meet the needs of different skin types and skin issues. You can tell she has made each recipe several times as she is good about telling you what problems may arise, what to expect, and what to do if something unexpected does happen. This is all very practical advice and is a comfort to know that soap making is as much an art as it is a process – the herbalist in me is very excited about this.

I used to be terrified of using lye, just the thought of having it in the house with little ones terrified me. She made a point of saying that lye is very alkaline and how to properly handle it BUT there are other toxic or caustic things in the home like bleach, or, in my case, certain herbal tinctures that need to be taken with much care that I keep well away from my kids, and that lye should be treated like these other caustic substances.

Now, I am no longer afraid to get what I need to make my own handmade soap. In fact I am so excited I can hardly contain my self! This book is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in learning more about soap making.

You can purchase your very own copy here!

Now, I have to say that she has made both a nettle-cucumber soap and chamomile-honey soap for the Natural Herbal Living Herb Box (We still have a few extra chamomile boxes if you would like to get one before we run out!) and both were AMAZING. I have absolutely no problem believing every recipe in her book is fantastic.

Just for kicks though she is sharing this recipe exclusively with us and doing a give away! Be sure to swing by her site and say thank you!

Honey and Hemp Shampoo Bar 2

Honey and Hemp Shampoo Bar Recipe

by Jan Berry from The Nerdy Farm Wife

This dual purpose bar includes plenty of hemp oil for a moisturizing, silky lather and jojoba oil, which is excellent at conditioning both hair and skin.


Oil Portion:

  • 15.5 ounces Olive Oil
  • 7.5 ounces Coconut Oil
  • 4.5 ounces Hemp Oil
  • 2 ounces Castor Oil

Liquid & Lye Portion:

  • 10 ounces distilled water
  • 4.1 ounces lye

Add at trace: (she explains what trace is in the book)

  • .5 ounce Jojaba Oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey

If you’ve never made homemade soap before, thoroughly research the process first. You can find detailed steps with photos in my ebook, Cold Process Basics & Recipes.

Honey & Hemp Bar Curing


  1. While wearing proper safety gear – gloves, goggles, and long sleeves ­ weigh ten ounces of distilled water into a heat proof plastic or stainless steel container.
  2. Next, weigh out 4.1 ounces of sodium hydroxide (lye) into a small container and carefully pour into the water. Stir with a heavy duty rubber or silicone spatula until dissolved. The mixture will get hot, very fast, so be careful. Turn your head away to avoid directly breathing in the fumes. I like to work in my kitchen sink, so that any spills can be safely contained.
  3. Allow your lye to cool to around 90 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. While the lye solution is cooling, weigh out your oils in an enamel or stainless steel pot, dedicated to soap making. (Never use aluminum when making soap as it can react badly with the lye.) Set the pan over a low burner and heat them up to around 90 to 110 degrees as well.
  5. At this time, make sure that your mold is prepared and ready. This batch is sized to fill around a three pound soap mold. If you don’t have one on hand, you can use a glass bread pan, but make sure you line it with parchment paper so it won’t stick.
  6. Once your lye and oils are somewhere around the same range (they don’t have to be exact and can be ten to twenty degrees different), pour the lye into the oil.
  7. Using an immersion (stick) blender, start combining the two mixtures. Work in short spurts of 20 to 30 seconds blending, then 20 seconds stirring with the power off. If you run the the stick blender non­-stop, you risk burning the motor up or causing multiple air pockets in your soap.
  8. Once your soap thickens, or reaches trace, stir in the .5 ounce jojoba oil and 1 tablespoon honey.
  9. When it’s incorporated, pour your raw soap batter into your prepared mold.
  10. I leave the mold uncovered when I make this soap, since honey tends to overheat when insulated.
  11. After the soap has been in the mold for 24 to 48 hours, you’re ready to unmold and slice into bars!
  12. Allow your bars of soap to cure in the open air for four to six weeks. This time allows excess moisture to evaporate, creating a harder and longer lasting bar.

Would you like to win your very own copy of this book and some of these shampoo bars?

Jan is kind enough to offer a copy of her e-book AND two shampoo bars to TWO lucky winners! You can enter to win in the form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was given a copy of this book to review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions of this product are my own. This post contains affiliate links which I get a small kick back from which helps fund this blog and my herb habit. Thank you for supporting me by purchasing through these links. *

About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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108 Responses to Honey and Hemp Shampoo Bar Recipe and Cold Process Soap Making Book Review

  1. Shaena F says:

    I’m excited to see how to use the cold process technique!

  2. Amy A says:

    I will really enjoy instructions for beginners! I want to make so badly! Thanks for a great giveaway!

  3. kelly says:

    I want to make scented shampoo bars for travel!

  4. Lila Wiese says:

    I’ve been wanting to make my own soap for the longest time and now I’ve decided to use this recipe for my first attempt. I’m so excited and can’t wait to get started! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  5. Amanda says:

    I really want to learn how to make my own soap. I would love to read her recipes, instructions, and tips And learn to make my own!

  6. patty watson says:

    Everything… the shampoo recipes if they are in it

  7. […] I’m over at Natural Herbal Living Mamma, sharing a recipe for a honey & hemp shampoo […]

  8. M. says:

    I’ve tried a recipe from Jan’s Blog, The Nerdy Farmwife. I am sure I’ll enjoy the accuracy of her recipes in her soap making book. Thank you!

  9. EcoYogini says:

    I LOVE her website and have learned so much from just her blog posts on soap making. This recipe, though, has given me a few ideas for my own soap making and I would love to learn more tips and ideas from her book! (I have no idea how to work the entry mechanism- said I would comment… and then didn’t realize I needed to do that after clicking “commented”… so… here is my comment for the entry Lisa S-H w gmail Lisa.Sh 🙂 )

  10. April says:

    I would love to learn to make my own soap, but have always been intimidated after reading through the process. I hope this book will help me take the plunge and try it anyway!

  11. Marta N says:

    I know basics of soap making but would love to learn more recipes so I could make handmade soap gifts for family.

  12. esther says:

    Learning to make soap seems very interesting to me, and with a good book its much easier than having to go to your computer all the time to check if you do it right!

  13. Tammy says:

    I’ve been wanting to try soaping, but it just seems complicated. Anything to make it simpler is appreciated!

  14. Patti says:

    I have purchased many great products from others off etsy but, I’d love to learn to make my own.

  15. Kimberly says:

    I have always been afraid of trying to make soap. I would love the opportunity to take some of the fear out of it.

  16. Laurie Ann says:

    I love Jan’s natural approach to the art of Soap Making and would enjoy new soap recipes to try. I am just a beginner so the book sounds perfect!
    Thank You for the opportunity to win!

  17. Nicole says:

    I’m interested in learning more about making my own soaps!

  18. Machelle Smith says:

    The best thing is that all the ingredients are natural!! Thanks for the chance!

  19. Wendy Petrich says:

    I’ve been making some basic soap recipes for the past year and love it! I would love Jan’s book to have as a reference and to find some ideas for new recipes to try! 🙂

  20. Susan Salladin says:

    I would love to win this book because it was written for beginners & the above recipe seemed easy to follow. I love that Jan really uses Natural ingredients. The last book I purchased on soapmaking was somewhat overwhelming to me so I have only made melt & pour thus far. I love using homemade soap and would love to win a copy of this book. It would be great info to share with others that are interested too!

  21. Sue S says:

    I really would like to make my own soap. But I’m leary of the lye.

  22. Stephanie says:

    I have a son with really sensitive skin and would love to learn how to make soap that is right for him!!

  23. Lois says:

    I love homemade soap! I make soap frequently and really love it. I blog most of them at

  24. loura says:

    I want to make soap!

  25. tess says:

    I’ve been wanting to begin soapmaking… at 62, this would be an excellent resource 🙂

  26. Petra says:

    I have always wanted to try my hand at soap making. If anyone can make it easy it will be Jan. Really enjoy reading your blog.

  27. Erika says:

    I hope it will e so easy so a complete newbie will be able to make it! I am low on cash since last year when i got diagnosed with both Firbomyalgia and MS and the meds costs a fortune! So to be able to give away homemade soaps this christmas will be a very pleasant lifesaver

  28. Nicole S says:

    More great recipes! I love her recipes and I am hoping to really dive into soap making! Always keeping things simple!

  29. Shelley says:

    My first impression is that the photography is exceptional and the recipes will be healthy.

  30. Johnna says:

    I will like most learning to make shampoo bars!

  31. Amy Ryckman says:

    I have just started making soap this year and love it. My husband is a beekeeper and I can’t wait to try some of Jan’s honey soap recipes.

  32. Heidi says:


  33. Joanne M says:

    This recipe looks great – can’t wait to try it.

  34. Jessica S. says:

    I don’t think that I could decide on just one thing… So I’d say EVERYTHING!!

  35. Amanda says:

    I’d love to learn about making my own soap. I’ve been totally intimidated by the process though! Al the different varieties sound wonderful!

  36. Allison says:

    I would love to have this books to learn how to make natural soaps.

  37. Karen says:

    I’m dying to try this shampoo bar!

  38. Debra says:

    I think I would like to learn how to use herbal infusions in my cold process soaps and I think that The Nerdy Farm Wife’s book would help me with this.

  39. Dee says:

    looking forward to learning how to make soap!

  40. Mary says:

    I love the fact Jan explains everything and makes soap making so easy and can’t wait for the feel and smell of the soaps.

  41. […] Originally posted here: Honey and Hemp Shampoo Bar Recipe and Cold Process Soap … […]

  42. Alisa says:

    I have a wonderful friend who loves to make soap and a few other body products. She uses the hot process method and I am very curious about the cold process method as an alternative. I love natural herbal scents, rather than the perfume scents and would love to add soap-making to my skills, so I can “follow my nose” so to speak 🙂

  43. Dineen says:

    I am most excited about how to work with lye safely. I’ve always enjoyed Jenny’s writing style and straightforward style, so I think that her methods would make learning soap making more approachable.

  44. Michele White says:

    I want to learn to make my soaps more natural and feel this book would be perfect

  45. Jennifer Perry says:

    I’ve been wanting to learn about soapmaking and would love the shampoo recipes. I as sure that I would learn so much from it and a great resource! Thanks for a great giveaway!

  46. Joann Wagner says:

    I love both the site as well as the nerdy farm wife site and visit both often. I will enjoy learning everything the book has to offer and am very excited at the thought that I might have a copy of my own!! Thank you for all of your informative content.

  47. Bekki says:

    I love natural soaps and reading the Nerdy Farm Wife blog, but I’ve never found the courage to have a go myself. With the support of this book I will go for it!

  48. Vearle says:

    Can’t wait to begin. The book looks great with lots of explanations so I won’t get lost:)

  49. Gina says:

    Think it’s time I give soap making a try!

  50. judy says:

    I will love everything about it as I am really into organic and natural way of life..can’t wait to read the book. I love every thing about this..

  51. joyce says:

    I would love to add this to my collection as i do not have any shampoo bar recipes.

  52. Kathy says:

    I’ve been wanting to start making my own soaps for such a long time, and now I have a great resource to get started. I love all the recipes that the Nerdy Farm Wife has posted, so I believe her soap recipes will also be amazing! Can’t wait to get started!

  53. Nancy Alemany says:

    What do I think I’ll like best about Jan’s book on making handmade soaps? The feeling of being able to do something wonderful for myself and family with wonderful ingredients and nothing I can’t pronounce.

  54. Eli says:

    Is it possible to substitute hemp oil with another kind of oil, it is a bit difficult to find it here?

    • Amanda says:

      She gives oil substitutes in the book. She says that if you change the oil it could change the amount of lye you will need to use.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Eli!

      Do you have access to avocado oil? That would work nicely & the lye amount would stay the same.

      If you don’t you could change it up so that the recipe reads:
      4 ounces castor oil
      7.5 ounces coconut oil
      18 ounces olive oil
      and .5 ounce jojoba at trace
      4.1 (or more precisely 4.15) ounces of lye
      However, with the higher amount of olive oil it will take longer to cure and will start off softer. I haven’t tested that ratio on hair either so unsure how it would do as a shampoo bar, but it should make a nice soap regardless!

      If you can’t get avocado oil and have a specific list of oils you can get easily, let me know and we can see if we can find a better adjustment than option 2.

  55. Valerie B says:

    I made my own soap a looooong time ago and would love to learn with updated, more natural recipes.

  56. Melissa Rounsavall says:

    I am mildly obsessed with essential oils and making my own stuff…like deodorant, poo-pourri, and laundry detergent. I’d love to learn to make my own soap!

  57. Elisa says:

    I *love* making soap and am always searching for new recipes. This one looks great. 🙂

  58. janet says:

    I can’t wait to make this soap

  59. Theresa says:

    I have been using essential oils for years and just recently have started experimenting with soaps and shampoos. Love that recipe. 🙂

  60. christa says:

    I could use more info on incorporating colors into my natural soaps.

  61. Janet Roberson says:

    Thanks for the recipe!

  62. Sheila says:

    I am new at making homemade natural products. I would love to gain more information for myself and to use with my family. 🙂

  63. robbe says:

    Can’t wait yo make me 1st bar of soap…

  64. Sharon says:

    I have always wanted to make more natural soaps

  65. Christina H. says:

    I have been interested in soap making for a while now but the lye had me nervous. I am glad she addresses safety issues on a beginners level.

  66. jennie says:

    I would love to learn more about incorporating herbs/flowers from my garden into my soaps!

  67. Susie says:

    I’ve made 2 batches of soap so far following recipes from the internet, but would LOVE to have my hands on an actual hard copy version!! I use our fresh, raw cow’s milk to make mine!

  68. Terri says:

    I’ve been wanting to learn how to make soap for years!

  69. Carol says:

    I subscribe to the Nerdy Farm Wife newsletter. There are so many neet recipies . I can hardly wait to get the next edition. Thanks for all the great “stuff”

  70. Valerie says:

    I think I would love to make real soap that is better for my family.

  71. Alex says:

    I can’t wait to see Jan’s inspiring recipes. I have made a little of my own handmade soap but get stuck for different ideas for essential oil blends and natural colouring and additive techniques.

  72. You are doing a great service! Thanks for the info on the cold processing! Blessings~

  73. Margaret says:

    This will be my first time making soap! I love the nerdy farm wife…now I have another amazing mamma blog to follow and learn from! Thank you =D

  74. Karin Cameron Phillips says:

    I want to learn how to make disputed. I like that her recipes are natural and include essential oils!

  75. […] Honey and Hemp Shampoo Bar Recipe and Cold Process Soap Making Book Review […]

  76. Linda says:

    I’ve been working on going to all natural & or organic homemade beauty products for a while now! I’m a 10 yr breast cancer survivor so I became very concerned about the stuff I eat & the stuff I put on my body! I never realized how much bad ingredients are in our soaps, lotions & makeup too!

  77. Cindy says:

    Took a soap making class 3 or 4 years ago and have yet to try it on my own. This looks like a wonderful recipe to start with!

  78. Jenny Wray says:

    I started making soap this year and am loving it! I am always looking for more information, advice and recipes to try out!

  79. Valerie says:

    I love to make homemade soap, and her recipes and pictures look great! I have made only basic recipes and would enjoy her variety.

  80. Rebekah says:

    I think it sounds like it would be easy to follow!

  81. Debbie Petch says:

    I like the fact that the book includes herbs, oils and essentials in their soaps.

  82. Steffani says:

    After trying the no-poo method and having it not work out the greatest (I trieddddd), I’m hoping this will be a good substitute!

  83. I will like the variety of soap recipes!

  84. Lisa L says:

    I found your site by accident & absolutely LOVE IT! The information is wonderful & I would love to see move of it. Thanks.

  85. carol garman says:

    I always enjoy getting news letters from Jan. I have made several kinds of soap and would like to have a book as a reference. There is nothing like making your own soap and giving it as gifts.

  86. jen says:

    I’d love to read it.

    Thanks sooo much for your posts!

  87. beth says:

    I love all her books. Looking forward to learning how to make soap!

  88. Anita says:

    I started making soap last fall and have been hooked every since! I love new recipes!Thanks for the honey and hemp. Can’t wait to try it

  89. Melia M. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to learn about making my own soaps!

  90. Sherry Lynn England says:

    I am new to soapmaking so the thought of someone holding my hand through each step is very appealing. I will need all the help I can get!!

  91. Marcy says:

    I would love to learn some recipes that use all natural ingredients! Is there a goat milk soap recipe?

  92. omitunde says:

    ….I don’t under the lye as a natural ingredient.- I tried to read the comments to see if this was already answered w/ no success

  93. I have been into homemade business for almost a year now and I am still looking for more recipes to try and be part of my business. Glad I found this blog to follow and learn.

  94. Carrie says:

    I made these Hemp and Honey shampoo bars a little over a month ago, and I have been using them and I absolutely love them!! This is my favorite shampoo bar recipe, and the only shampoo bar I will ever want to use from now on. These make my hair so soft and shiny, and my family loves them too, even my mom who is very picky! Thank you for sharing this recipe, as I will be only making these from now on 🙂 These are also way better than the shampoo bars I bought from the store before.

  95. Great… I am happy to report that I found a recipe online with NO artificial ingredients

  96. zach says:

    Could I still make this without lye? That just seems like a bad chemical to have on your skin.

  97. […] I love a good, hand made herbal soap. It always has been something I have wanted to try and make but I never have gotten up the courage to just bite the bullet and do it! Have you read a soap making book recently?  […]

  98. Robbie says:

    Hi! love your post! I have been gathering my supplies to make this soap and I do have two questions. (1)Would it be possible (as good) to use vegetable oil in the place of olive oil?
    (2) Could you add an essential oil, I assume at trace with the jojoba oil?
    PS I was planning to use Sweet Almond oil instead of jojoba.
    I am very new to this and am going to purchase your book!! THANKS!

    • Amanda says:

      Yes you can use another oil instead of jojoba but it might change the texture a little bit, and yes you can add essential oil when you add the jojoba. 🙂

  99. Hemp Yourself says:

    Hey I love that hemp soap recipe! Can not wait to try it! 🙂

  100. Karen says:

    Since Jojoba is so expensive, is there something I can substitute for it? ty!

  101. Karen says:

    Any recommendations to add some eo’s for scent?

    • Amanda says:

      You can add anything for scent, whatever you like. I love rosemary and mint since it is invigorating and nice on the scalp. I also love lavender, rose and chamomile… whatever fragrance you normally enjoy you can add.

  102. Jennifer says:

    How big of a soap mold would you need for this. I never saw where it said how big of a batch this recipe makes. I LOVE hemp oil products and can’t wait to make this.

  103. […] – Update for 2015: I’ve switched to shampoo bars instead of castile soap and like the way they work on my hair better. (Some shampoo bar recipes: Avocado Shampoo Bar or Honey & Hemp Shampoo Bar.) […]

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