Aleppo Soap Recipe
Aleppo Soap is an ancient Syrian soap recipe made from just olive oil, laurel berry fruit oil, water and lye.
It’s reported to be beneficial for those with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and rashes.
For more information about the rich history of Aleppo soap, check out this article from Montreal Gazette.
True Aleppo soap is an artisan treasure that grows increasingly difficult to source. This soap recipe is inspired by, but is not meant to exactly duplicate, true Aleppo soap handmade in Syria.
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Laurel berry fruit oil should NOT be confused with bay laurel (or laurel leaf) essential oil. They’re from the same plant, but are two completely different things.
It’s tough to find laurel berry fruit oil and what can be found is on the expensive side, but after a lot of searching, I bought some that I really liked from Amazon. Another sources is Bescented.
Note: Laurel berry fruit oil smells a bit like medicinal herbs crossed with old cigarette butts. It’s not overly unpleasant, but it’s a little strange and quite strong! Be assured that the scent will mellow a lot as the soap cures.
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Normally, I try to use light colored olive oil so it won’t discolor my final soap a shade of green or greenish brown.
In this case though, I wanted the soap to turn a natural shade of green from the oils alone, so chose extra-virgin olive oil, especially for its darker color.
I bought the tree mold that says “NATURAL” on it, from Amazon. It took several weeks to arrive, but I loved how easily the soap released from the mold and plan to buy several more for larger batches.
The individual “HANDMADE” molds in the photo below also came from Amazon.
Since I had a small quantity of laurel berry fruit oil, I made a small test batch of soap. Percentages are given so you can increase the recipe size as you’d like. (70% olive oil and 30% laurel berry fruit oil is another nice combination.)
Aleppo (Inspired) Soap Recipe:
- 4 oz (113.4 grams) extra virgin olive oil (80%)
- 1 oz (28.35 grams) laurel berry fruit oil (20%)
- 0.65 oz (18.4 grams) lye/sodium hydroxide (5% superfat)
- 1 oz (28.34 grams) distilled water (see *note)
*I originally was going to use a 2:1 ratio of water to lye, but instead used an even steeper water discount to make this soap, because I wanted it to reach trace and firm up in the mold more quickly than castile-type soaps usually do.
Click on the image below for the recipe per Soapcalc:
Directions to Make Soap:
If you’ve never made soap before, be sure to thoroughly research the process and precautions before proceeding. You can find more information in my Soap Making 101 post or check out my Handmade Natural Soaps eBook Collection.
Step 1: Wearing safety goggles, gloves and long sleeves, weigh out the distilled water in a heatproof container. Next, weigh the lye and pour it into the water. Stir well to make sure the lye is fully dissolved. It will heat up quickly and give off strong fumes that you should avoid breathing in directly. I like to do this step in my kitchen sink, next to an open window, in order to contain any spills or splashes. Set the solution aside in a safe place, out of the reach of children and pets, and let cool for about 30 to 40 minutes. The temperature should drop to around 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C) during that time.
Step 2: Weigh the oils into a small saucepan or double boiler. Heat gently over low heat, keeping a close eye on it. Aim to reach a temperature of around 90 to 100°F (32 to 38°C), though you don’t have to get too hung up on trying to make the temperatures match.
Step 3: Now, you’re ready to mix! Working carefully and still with gloves, goggles and long sleeves on, pour the lye solution into the oils. I found that this recipe did well with mostly hand stirring. You can blend for a few seconds with an immersion (stick) blender (looks like THIS), but you won’t need to do that too much because of the reduced amount of water.
Step 4: Stir until trace is reached. “Trace” means that your soap batter has gotten thick enough so that when you drizzle some of it across the surface of itself, it leaves an imprint or “tracing” before sinking back in. Pour the soap into the molds. Cover lightly with a sheet of wax or parchment paper and then with a sheet of cardboard (a plastic lid or magazine works in a pinch too). You may want to insulate with a small blanket or towel, especially if your room is on the cold side.
Step 5: Let the soap stay in the molds for at least 24 to 48 hours. Remove and let cure in the open air for a minimum of 6 weeks before using. This soap will benefit from a long cure time of around one year; the outside will turn yellow-green then fade to brownish-green over time.