D.I.Y. Soapmaking with My Mānoa’s Wendy Hee

Learn how to make your own all-natural soap at home in 7 easy steps.
My Manoa Soap Recipe



e have to come clean—about your bath routine. Did you know that most store-bought soaps are made out of synthetic ingredients and detergents? That can be one dirty little secret for gals like us, who are trying to keep our skincare routines au naturel. Smells like the perfect excuse to brush up on our D.I.Y. skills. 


We tapped soapmaking expert Wendy Hee from My Mānoa to help us clean up our act with a soapmaking project we can actually do at home. While Hee and her husband, Mike, make their soaps from scratch using lye, thermometers, safety equipment and the whole shebang, she’s whipped up a recipe for a melt-and-pour version that us newbies can use to create our own luscious bars safely and easily. The key? Selecting a base that’s organic, using all-natural ingredients, and finding the right essential oils that really tickle your fancy. Here, Hee uses lavender, which is known to be a soothing, gentle ingredient suitable for all kinds of skin.



Lovely Lavender Soap Recipe


What you’ll need:

  • Pyrex or another heat-resistant/microwaveable container that can fit more than 45 ounces of liquid

  • Spoon or spatula for mixing

  • Soap cutter, or a kitchen dough cutter. Never use a knife! You don’t want to be working with slippery soap and a sharp blade.

  • 45 ounces of your chosen melt-and-pour base. Need a suggestion? Try Brambleberry SFIC Organic Melt and Pour Soap Base to start.

  • 50-ounce silicone loaf mold (you can also use candy or ice molds, which sometimes come in fun shapes)

  • 0.75 ounces of lavender essential oil



Step 1: Cut the soap base into small chunks and place them in your heat-resistant container.


Step 2: Microwave the base in 30-second bursts, stirring between bursts. You are trying to melt the base without burning it.


Step 3: Stir in your essential oil—but not too much! Overdoing it on fragrances or oil in your soap can cause skin irritation (and the smell may be overpowering). Use a fragrance calculator so the work is already done for you. Brambleberry has an easy-to-use one.


Step 4:  Pour your mixed soap base into the silicone mold.


Step 5:  Set it aside for a few hours to harden at room temperature. If you want, you can cover the mold with a piece of cardboard, paper or plastic wrap to prevent anything from dropping on top of your soap. 


Step 6: Take it out of the mold and cut with your soap or dough cutter.


Step 7: For the bars not in use, store your soap in the driest spot you can find or wrap them up immediately. The glycerin in soap attracts moisture. When you wash with soap, glycerin will pull the moisture onto your skin and that’s what makes it so moisturizing. But when soap is not in use, it can draw moisture from Hawai‘i’s humid air, causing the soap to “sweat.”