How to Make Coffee Soap
Coffee is the world’s second most popular beverage, beaten only by that old reliable, H2O. Consumed worldwide (around 2.25 billion cups every day), coffee practically makes the world go round – it powers the human population, from world leaders to working-class citizens. It has dozens of well-researched health benefits, but many people don’t realise that coffee has other uses outside of providing a range of delicious beverages.
In today’s eco-conscious society, it makes sense to reduce waste and recycle where possible. Your leftover coffee grounds can serve a wide range of household purposes, from garden fertiliser to a natural golden dye – there are many creative ways to use your old grinds.
Why coffee makes a perfect bar of soap
- Coffee naturally neutralises tough and unpleasant odours, particularly fish and garlic smells.
- Caffeine can be absorbed through the skin, so you’ll get an extra energy boost!
- Great for sensitive skin. Soothes sunburned skin, eczema and other skin problems.
- Coffee’s natural antioxidants can help fade stretch marks and acne scars, and firm and brighten the skin.
- A common ingredient in under-eye creams, caffeine can help reduce dark eye circles and puffiness.
- Can reduce the appearance of cellulite! Coffee soap or scrub will make the skin around the cellulite problem areas firm for a few hours after use.
- Great for getting rid of tough stains and substances like oil and grease.
- Coffee grounds can remove old skin cells and clean pores with the exfoliation process.
- Caffeine helps constrict blood vessels, so it can help fade varicose veins and rosacea and even out red skin.
- Research indicates that coffee may be able to repair existing sun damage and prevent further damage.
The basics of soapmaking
There are two main ways to make your own soap: one is ‘melt and pour’, and the other is ‘cold process’ soapmaking. The easiest method is melt and pour. Here you literally melt a pre-made base (for example, plain unscented soap from the supermarket) and add your own key ingredients.
The cold process method is a bit more complicated: mixing oils such as olive, coconut or palm oil together with sodium hydroxide (lye) results in a chemical process called saponification, whereby the oils and lye interact to create the final bar of soap. Working with lye can be tricky and dangerous, as it is a poisonous and caustic substance that can burn through wood and aluminium. Care must be taken if using this method: ensure you read up on the safety aspects involved and use appropriate safety protections such as a long-sleeved shirt, safety glasses and gloves.
Cold process vs melt and pour
With cold process soap, it is completely up to you exactly what ingredients go into your soap. Cold process bars tend to last longer than melt and pour soap bars. However, there are some important safety considerations to remember with the cold process, and sometimes certain essential oils, scents and dyes do not survive the saponification process. Also, cold process soap is a delayed gratification project, with the final product taking 4-6 weeks to “cure”.
Creating your cleansing coffee masterpiece
Whatever method you choose, it’s simple to incorporate coffee into virtually any soap recipe you find on the Internet. If you are using the more complicated cold press method, simply substitute the distilled water component with plain coffee. Ensure that you use distilled water for the brewing process of the coffee, and wait until it has cooled to room temperature before adding the lye.
The saponification process tends to remove the pleasant coffee odour, so if you’d like your soap to smell like a freshly brewed cappuccino, we suggest adding some kind of essential oil or coffee fragrance to your recipe. For more textured soap with an added exfoliating effect, add a couple of tablespoons of used coffee grounds to the mixture.
The melt and pour process is much simpler. Just add used coffee grounds to your base recipe along with a fragrance, and voila: delicious-smelling and naturally exfoliating coffee soap.
Check out this simple mix and pour soap recipe by Popsugar.com
And here's a cold process coffee soap recipe by SoapQueen.com
Grab a handful of used coffee grounds
Your used coffee grounds can also make a great body scrub and hair treatment, with all the same health benefits. There’s really no excuse to throw those old coffee grounds out every week: grab a handful and use them for one of the beauty treatments below.
Simple coffee body scrub
Add one cup of finely ground coffee to half a cup of fresh yoghurt or milk. Massage the resulting paste onto your body. Alternatively, you can just add used grounds to some coconut oil.
Coffee hair treatment
Coffee helps to create soft, shiny hair and removes any excess build-up of oil or grime for a healthy scalp. Simply add half a tsp of ground coffee to four tablespoons of shampoo, massage into hair for two minutes and rinse.
So, for all you true coffee fiends out there, you can literally immerse your body in coffee, inside and out. Sip on a coffee while bathing in a coffee-scented tub, and scrub your skin with coffee grinds until it glows, while your hair soaks in a coffee-scented treatment. There are as many ways to craft a coffee-based soap as there are to brew coffee, from the quick and easy melt and pour to the more complex cold process. As with crafting your perfect cup of coffee, it’s up to you how much time and energy you’d like to put into making yourself a delicious frothing bar of coffee-scented goodness.
Product image sourced from Amazon.co.uk