Safer soaps can be made by using natural ingredients, such as glycerin, wax and oils, in recipes that do not include lye (caustic soda). Lye is the soap ingredient that is the harshest on skin and eyes as well as the most hazardous to handle during soap making.
Eliminating lye from soap making removes the potential for contact burns and harmful fumes. Safe, mild soaps made with glycerin or beeswax as a base can be manufactured at home with ingredients found at craft stores. Check ingredients in soap bases that require melting as some may contain lye, which may be listed as caustic soda. While glycerin and beeswax require melting to be poured into a mold, they contain no caustic soda. Skin-softening oils and essential oils or fragrances can be added to the soap base and are also available at craft stores.
Another method of making homemade soap is to shave plain soaps, such as Ivory or castile, and melt them as a base as these soaps have no lye in their original formulas; however, using craft store soap bases with lye as an ingredient avoids the potential hazards of adding caustic soda to the recipe, as it is already present.