Today, I’m sharing a recipe from my newest ebook: Natural Soap Making: Cold Process Basics & Recipes.
It’s a lovely, old-fashioned bar that’s simply scented with lavender essential oil and naturally colored with purple Brazilian clay. If you’d like a whiter soap, instead of the pale purple tint shown, just leave out the purple clay called for in the recipe.
Instead of using plain water in this recipe, I make a tea from fresh or dried lavender flowers. (If this isn’t possible for you, it’s fine to use plain distilled water instead.)
To make this, place a generous pinch or two of fresh or dried lavender buds in a heat proof mason jar. Pour about ten ounces of simmering hot water over them. Cover with a saucer and let steep until room temperature or cooler before using in the recipe. It might turn light brown, but won’t affect the final color of your soap.
Homemade Lavender Soap:
Liquid & Lye Portion:
- 4.01 ounces lye (6% superfat)
- 9 ounces lavender tea (or distilled water)
Wearing proper safety gear (gloves, goggles, long sleeves), carefully measure, pour, and stir the lye (sodium hydroxide) into the cooled lavender tea. I work in my kitchen sink, to contain any spills. Let this cool to around 90 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Oil Portion (29 ounces total):
- 15 ounces olive oil (52%)
- 8 ounces coconut oil (28%)
- 3 ounces meadowfoam oil (10%)
- 3 ounces apricot kernel oil (10%)
Reserve 1 tablespoon from the oils above to mix with the purple clay, at trace. Combine the remaining oils in a stainless steel or enamel pot (never aluminum!) and gently heat to a similar temperature as the lye. (It’s okay to have a difference up to about ten to twenty degrees.) If you don’t have meadowfoam or apricot kernel oil handy, see the substitution idea below.
Pour the lye mixture into the oil mixture. Using a stick (immersion) blender, blend the soap batter about thirty seconds at a time. Stop and stir by hand a few seconds, then blend again. Repeat this until you’re reached trace.
When a soap mixture has reached “trace”, that means that is has thickened enough to hold an outline (or “tracing”) when you drizzle soap batter across the surface of itself.
At light trace, stir in:
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lavender essential oil
- 2 teaspoons purple clay mixed with 1 tablespoon reserved oil
You can find purple Brazilian clay at BrambleBerry.com.
Pour into molds. For the bar shown, I used the silicone rectangular bar mold from HERE. This batch fills up about 9 of the 12 cavities. You can also use a column mold like THIS ONE. If you don’t have access to molds, line a glass bread pan with parchment paper and use that instead. Cover and let stay in the mold for a day or two before removing. Cold process soap should be cured in the open air for four to six weeks before use. (Though I usually start testing on myself at three weeks.)
These directions are briefly summarized. For more thorough cold process soap making directions, see my post, Soap Making 101, or my ebook, Natural Soap Making: Cold Process Basics & Recipes.
- For a pretty topping, you can sprinkle lavender buds on top of your soap right after pouring into the mold. They will fade over time though. It’s not recommended to mix lavender buds in the soap batter itself because they’ll turn a brownish-black shade.
- Meadowfoam & Apricot Kernel Oil are added for their moisturizing, skin conditioning qualities. Meadowfoam oil also lends a silky lather and extends shelf life of soaps. If you don’t have those oils on hand, you can substitute with more olive oil, creating a simplified soap recipe. The new amounts would be: 21 ounces olive oil, 8 ounces coconut oil, 4.06 ounces of lye, and the same measurements of liquid, clay, and fragrance.
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