DIY: Stinks Like A+! Soap

Want to know something crazy? When I describe this soap to people, they kind of cringe and curl up the end of their nose and say no thank you. But this soap, which has affectionately been dubbed, “Ass Soap” quickly becomes everyone’s absolute favourite soap. Even though, it really does smell like ass. This soap began with the name, “Happy Skin” and it was actually the signature soap of the business I had in China, named, “Happy Skin“.  It was a great seller for a while, but then people just complained about the scent and stopped buying this glorious bar of Ass Soap. Just because of the way it stinks. But, the good news was, that it meant more Ass Soap for me and mine! I never wanted to share this soap by the way. So it was happily taken off the product list and hoarded. I’m actually investigating how to make this recipe in Ireland for sale because I love it so much!

This, is a semi-hard core neem soap recipe. When you make it you kind of want to dress up in a stink proof hazmat suit and guard your entire place against the stench. It truly is not a kind scented oil and most certainly not a pretty scented soap (you get used to it and actually come to love the way it smells to be honest. I don’t promise that though). And then when it is done? It looks like poop. The colour. Just looks like something assy. Not gassy, but assy.

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neem oil in all it’s poopy glory, fresh from the bottle, your neem can be anywhere from a creamy colour to a poop colour. What did it eat? 

But you are going to love me and think of me fondly when you use this soap. You know what they say? All the best things in life stink when you first get them. Babies, tomato plants, that ozone scent before a hard rain. Babies grow up to be adults who stop stinking after like 25. Tomatoes turn into pasta sauce. And then it rains making everything smell great! This soap after a three to six month age time, smells great! At least to my nose.

Many people add in tea tree essential oil when they make this soap as tea tree is a wickedly strong scented essential oil that won’t “mask” (hide) the neem scent, it will kind of work with it. But me being the somewhat… odd person when I make things decided in my infinite wisdom, why would I use an easy to work with essential oil with a tempermental carrier oil? Why not make this a super duper challenging recipe to work with? Neem oil somewhat accelerates trace. Tea Tree essential oil doesn’t. Silly me. That would be the logical and easy thing to do. But, I hate the scent of tea tree oil. I think it is über gross. So I tossed that tea tree oil idea straight out the window.

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20% neem oil soap freshly poured

So I use clove essential oil. Another temperamental oil! So not just a little temperamental, but A LOT temperamental! Maybe I should have call this soap, Soap for the Masochist in Me. Are you with me so far? This soap is not easy to make. It’s not a soap for the beginner soap maker, but it’s the most amazing soap ever. I use two oils (neem and clove essential oil) which are both classified as HIGHLY accelerating. And that is why this recipe is under the Advanced DIY category. Clove Essential Oil is highly irritating to the skin, and I decided to only use it at .8% in this recipe. You will get a slight whiff of clove once the neem has dissipated a little.

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it does thicken quite quickly… short, quick bursts! 

I know, you are probably asking, if it is such a pain in the ass (pun totally intended here) soap to make, why bother making it at all? It’s my favourite soap. Full stop. There is always always always a bar of this in my shower. Anyone who tries it, falls head over heels in love with it once they get past the smell. It’s March while I write this post so I am still in China. My sister in Texas has been begging me for weeks to send her my stash as I can’t bring it to Ireland. Friends from five continents want more of this soap.

No amount of words can accurately describe how amazing this soap is.

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neem soap freshly cut, yes! It’s GREEN! 

So what makes it so amazing? Stinky neem. But before you decide to click the links and do your self learning about neem (and think how amazing it is and should totally use it internally), a wise word of caution;

A WORD OF CAUTION

Medicines from plants should, of course, be treated with the same caution as medicines from laboratories.

Neem: A Tree For Solving Global Problems

Neem is a powerful tree. It’s truly difficult to get scientific data on neem due to plants grown in different parts of the world have varying degrees of potency. Some papers claim it to be antifungal, antibacterial and and and and and. Some sources claim neem is good for mature and acne prone skin. And the more I read about neem for this post, the more I wish more studies were done on mature skin and neem. The general properties of neem sound like it is full of your omegas 6 & 9; anti-inflammatory, wickedly moisturising, antioxidant, antimicrobial and and and. All I know, is that I can feel a huge difference when I use Ass Soap compared to the other soaps I make. I find Ass Soap is just more moisturising, gentler, kinder, and it is the ONLY soap I will actually use on my face (I am a strong advocate about never putting soap on the face, but this is the one exception), and as a shampoo bar if I’m stuck for shampoo as it doesn’t strip my hair.

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wear your hazmat suit ’cause this stuff stinks!

I heard about it ages ago after I first began soaping from that David Fisher guy on About.com. I was living in the deserts of Inner Mongolia at the time and the complex I was living in had a pond. In the desert. That meant the pond was just a massive area filled with water that stood still for ages and ages. Perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and other nasties especially as it was the desert so the ONLY water source for miles and miles and miles. I was tired of being scratched raw. I found that this David guy posted about how this woman makes a 20% neem soap bar for her husband in the desert and that helps ward off the pests. And that’s where I got my idea from.

And by the coffee gods! Once I saw how my skin responded… I was hooked! There was no way I wasn’t going to make this recipe over and over again. I usually make 3kg of Ass Soap every year, and will let my soap age for at least three to six months before I use it. The aging is the most important part!

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Left to Right: 20% neem soap six weeks old. 20% neem 23 months old. 40% neem 16 months old. 

To get the most out of your neem soap, I suggest adding it in at about 20%. I have made neem soap from 5%- 45% neem, and 20% seems to give the most consistent results.

5% you get minor discolouration, makes the soap look like coffee cream (using titanium dioxide), no neem smell. Soaps are minutely more moisturising than usual ONLY with an extensive age/cure time. I wouldn’t waste my money on making soap with 5% neem. This soap would never touch my face.

10-15% your soap will look brown, TD will help with brightening your soap. Faint traces of neem scent even with using fragrance oils or essential oils. No hiding it now! Soaping with 10-15% neem does produce a nice harder than usual bar of soap,  and it’s very obvious there is something special about the moisturising properties of this soap. This soap would never touch my face.

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even after six weeks, in some lighting you can see see a green tinge. Not ready yet! 

20% your soap is going to be a milk chocolatey brown. TD can help with swirling if you are successful at keeping your soap from accelerating. No amount of fragrance oils or essential oils can cover the stale onion fart scent that neem inspires. You’ll learn to love it (I don’t promise that). Wickedly awesome moisturising abilities, gentle enough for my face.

30-40% your soap is going to be a dark chocolately looking soap. More than likely acceleration will occur. The neem scent is unmistakable. No noticeable moisturising differences between this one and the 20% soap. I do notice a difference in that my feet weren’t so stinky in the summer, and I had less BO in general in the summer- but it was minimal compared to 20%.

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  1. Prepare your work space, and wipe everything down with 70% ISP alcohol. Pull out and prepare your soaping equipment, including your safety gear. I’d strongly suggest having some extra gloves nearby.
  2. Into your lye solution pitcher, prepare your lye solution. Place into your lye solution into an ice bath to quickly cool it down.
  3. Into your heat resistant soaping container, weigh out your lard and coconut oil and place in your double boiler. Allow to melt. Remove from heat and weigh in your neem oil. Once incorporated, weigh in your olive oil and castor oil. Mix it with your immersion blender.
  4. Add in your kaolin clay into your oils and blend well.
  5. Once your oils and lye solution are at room temperature, combine and work quickly. Short, quick bursts from your immersion blender to bring it just before emulsion. Then add in the clove essential oil. And blend quickly. Use a whisk to slow everything down.
  6. Don’t let your soap come to a full trace otherwise you’re scooping it into the mould. Blend only as much as you need too then pour. I have found slabs easier than bars.
  7. Design your top.
  8. Keep and eye on it, you want the soap to be firm, but not overly firm otherwise cutting will be an issue. You need your soap to be like two day old castile soap and will probably get there in less than 12 hours.

This soap will of course be usable in a couple days, but please let it age a long time before you go to use it! I would suggest at least four to six months before first use!

EDIT: 

Because I love this soap so much, I’ve been trying to find a way to get my neem oil soap assessed for selling. It turns out that not all neem oils are the same. Before you buy your neem oil, it is imperative to check with your supplier to make certain your raw material is a clarified hydrophobic neem oil. This means that it has been cleared of Azadirachtin which is the property that gives neem oil it’s pesticide properties and potentially could lead to poisoning or skin irritation.

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15 thoughts on “DIY: Stinks Like A+! Soap

Add yours

  1. Well, now! That certainly got a good chuckle out of me! LOL! I heard about the smell of Neem, which is why I haven’t tried it yet. Not sure I want to now…except you tempt me with all the skin benefits! Question — what is the purpose of the Kaolin? Is it just for slipperiness? Usually it is used to anchor scents, but in this case…ahem.. not sure you were after that purpose! 🙂 Is the tea tree supposed to make it smell better? I like tea tree OK (especially if mixed with lavender), but is it so strong that you are just going to add more stench? In any case, I love the brown color. I love natural soaps. Pretty, fancy, swirly ones too! All soaps for that matter. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s potent!

      It’s like making soap with lavender essential oil. Wickedly potent for a little while, then you only smell it when you snort up your bar.

      Yeah, some people talk about using tea tree to “mask” the scent, but I found the clove works better with the neem scent once it’s aged well. There is no masking the scent in my opinion, just trying to work with it and compliment it.

      I use kaolin clay in this recipe to make the bubbles silkier and more dense. I use this soap to shave with, so having the denser bubbles makes for a better shave and for 9 months of the year? I don’t need to apply lotion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OK – I’m up for the challenge, but not a fan of lard so trying 10% cocoa butter and 10% shea butter instead. And not a fan of clove but love lemon-scented tea tree so will see how that goes – maybe with a touch of lavender with seems to disappear but moderate any scent and enhance it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I love it!! It is one of my top 5 favorite soaps! I just made it today. Here’s my recipe. I used jojoba because I bought too much; I’d typically use olive or avocado.

        beef tallow 22.5%
        coconut oil 22.5%
        castor oil 5%
        shea butter 7.5%
        mango butter 7.5%
        neem oil 20%
        jojoba oil 15%

        I make 1 kilo

        fragrance:
        15g atlas cedarwood
        4g lavender
        8g tea tree oil
        3g egyptian geranium

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          1. I don’t love the Egyptian Geranium on it’s own but it blends well with other essential oils. Holy cow did this accelerate!!! The last time I made it (a year ago) it didn’t accelerate & I was able to swirl 3 colors. This time I had to layer them & by the time I got to the top layer, it was pretty thick. This is one of my top fave soaps (I have a pumpkin soap I love as well)! It’s so silky & & the smell makes me happy.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. It sucks since the move that I can’t just call up my supplier and say hey, I need 5kg of neem oil, yeah, I’ll WeChat it in five. I have to save my coins and wait for it! Then wait another five to six months before it’ll be at my regular favourite age before first use!

            I love geranium! All the geraniums I’ve had the pleasure of snorting I’ve loved! I so need this!

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          3. Five kilos of neem?!?! You do love neem oil! So you age it before you use it? What’s the reasoning behind that?

            I don’t know if New Directions Aromatics ships to Ireland, but if they do, that’s where I got that geranium oil. It’s not a floral fragrance which is why I don’t like it. My favorite geranium oil is from a company called Be Young & a friend gave it to me a few years ago. It is stupidly expensive and has ruined me for any other geranium fragrance forever.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Don’t you love it when that happens? That is exactly what happened to me with my lard soaps. I’m ruined for anything else it seems!

            When I make my neem soaps, I make a lot and let it cure for a very long time, I’ll sneak bars out early and use them, but I find neem soap in over 15% is not at it’s best until at least 6ish months cure. I find that age is when my skin feels the best and doesn’t require lotion anymore. Before 6ish months, my skin at times will still get dry patches in various areas.

            And yes… I love my neem soap so much!

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