Homemade Lavender Soap

homemade lavender soap recipe (from scratch)

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.

 

natural color and scent for homemade lavender soap recipe

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):

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.

 

lavender buds on soap

Tips:

  • 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.

If you enjoy making soap, let’s keep in touch! For my best herbal projects, recipes, and soap making ideas delivered straight to your inbox each month, sign up for my newsletter HERE. No spam ever, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

You may also like:

Hollyhock Soap | Garden Mint Soap | Rosa Rugosa Soap

Hollyhock Flower Soap Recipe   Garden Mint Soap Cold Process Soap Recipe (palm free)   Rosa Rugosa Handmade Soap from Roses

 

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9 Responses to Homemade Lavender Soap

  1. anne-marie says:

    We never tire of Lavender around here. Your soaps turned out gorgeous of course =)

  2. Alex says:

    Hi Jan, I notice you have decorated the top of your soap here with lavender buds. Now I’ve always been advised by my soap making buddies that any dried floral decorations added to the top of cold process soap turns brown very quickly, even if added after a few days of curing, so I have never bothered. I was just wondering what your experience of this was.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Alex, Your buddies are right! Most floral decorations on top of cold process soap will eventually fade or turn brown. I’m not so sure that it’s always a quick process though. Some items, like calendula will look nice much longer than others. I’ve also successfully used dried rose buds (whole ones, since petals turn brown much faster), bachelor buttons & chamomile flowers. I put up a picture of what the lavender buds looked like in the middle of May compared to how they look today, about twenty minutes ago, so you can get an idea of how they age. It’s right here: http://thenerdyfarmwife.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/lavender-buds-over-time.jpg They look like they may be fading a smidge in spots, but still purple! (However, I suspect by six months there will be some definite fading and browning going on.) Having said all of that, personally I like soap without any stuff on top. It’s much easier to use! Some people I’m related to do like the pretties though, and since I make soap primarily for gifting, I do still add toppings here and there. :)

      • Alex says:

        Thank you for your reply. The photo two months on really doesn’t look any different. I think I might experiment myself on one or two. I agree with you that from a practical point of view the bits on top are just annoying for the first few uses but they do look pretty to give as gifts :-)

  3. Michelle says:

    Hi!

    I’m still new-ish to soapmaking, your website has been incredibly helpful and inspirational. :)

    For this recipe…
    What could you use instead of meadowfoam oil?
    and, I don’t have brazillian purple clay, but do have a bag of alkanet root coming to me soon. Do you have any tips for how to alkanet root to get a nice purple?
    And finally, does the clay add a lot to the feel of the soap? if so, would it worth adding another clay such as kaolin? Again, i’ll be using alkanet root for a purple colour.

    Thanks for any help you can give!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Michelle, I’m so glad that the site has been helpful! :)

      In a recipe, meadowfoam oil lengthens shelf life, conditions skin and gives a creamy lather, so you want to substitute something similar. It’s also a “soft oil” that doesn’t make your bar hard, so you can substitute it with another “soft” oil such as sunflower or avocado oil. Those don’t really contribute to lather though, so you might want to add a smidge of castor oil as well, if you have any on hand. (Castor oil also boosts lather.)

      Alkanet root makes a nice purple too. If you look on the sidebar on the right side of my blog, on the cover of my soap making ebook, you’ll see a stack of colored soaps. The sixth one down is colored with alkanet root(compared to the 9th one down which is colored with purple clay) For that purple shown I used 1/4 teaspoon alkanet root in a batch that had probably 28 to 30 ounces of oil in it. (So same size as this one.) Alkanet has a grayer tone to it in fresh soap and when you first make and pour it, you’ll think you made a mistake because it’s gray! But, it will purple out for you as it cures. (Let it go through gel phase, don’t try to cool it or anything, so the color develops nicely.) It’s not as pure purple toned as the clay, but it works! It will get speckled looking if you don’t mix it in very well with a little bit of oil before adding to your soap. You can infuse some oil with it for several days beforehand to get an even smoother look.

      I personally love soaps with clay, but I know another soap maker who dislikes the texture. Of all of the bars I give to family and friends, I get the most say their favorites are made with some type of clay. It seems to really be a personal preference thing!

      Good luck on your soap making!

  4. Anna says:

    Hi Jan! Approximately how many pounds does this recipe make? I’m using an adjustable wooden 1-5lb mold.

    Thank you!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Anna!
      To figure up approximately how many pounds of soap a recipe will make, you can add up the amount of oils + amount of liquid + amount of lye.
      So, this recipe would be:
      29 + 9 + 4 ounces = 42 ounces or 2.6 pounds
      (double check my math though – it’s not my strong point!) :)

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