Sunflower Soap Recipe
These cheerful little sunflower soaps are made with sunflower-infused oil and naturally colored with lemon peel powder.
I scented mine with a bright blend of mostly citrus essential oils, but feel free to use other scents in their place, or leave them completely unscented.
How to Add Sunflowers to Soap
Because I have lots of sunflowers blooming now, I incorporated some into this batch. There are two ways to go about that:
Option 1: Sunflower Tea
You can make a sunflower petal tea to use in place of the distilled water.
Fill a heatproof jar with around 1/2 to 3/4 cup of fresh or dried sunflower petals. Cover with 1 cup of simmering hot water. Steep until the water turns a pretty yellow. Strain and cool completely before using in your recipe.
If you don’t have enough tea for the recipe, just add more distilled water in its place until you reach the amount you need.
Option 2: Sunflower-Infused Oil
Fill a canning jar about half-way with dried sunflower petals. Pour olive oil over them until completely covered by several extra inches of oil. Cover with a lid and infuse for several weeks, then strain.
For a quicker infusion, set the uncovered jar into a saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat the pan over low heat for 2 to 3 hours. Cool and strain. Use in place of regular olive oil in recipes.
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Sunflower Soap Recipe
All measurements are by weight. You must use an accurate scale to make soap.
- 6 oz (170 g) olive oil (33%)
- 2 oz (57 g) rice bran oil (11%)
- 2.5 oz (71 g) sunflower oil (17%)
- 5 oz (142 g) coconut oil (25%)
- 2.5 oz (71 g) unscented cocoa butter (14%)
- 2.5 oz (71 g) lye (sodium hydroxide)
- 5.25 oz (149 g) distilled water (or cool sunflower petal tea)
- 1 tsp lemon peel powder (for natural color, add during step 1)
- essential oils for scent – (I used 10 g litsea (may chang), 4 g grapefruit, 6 g clary sage, 5 g orange valencia)
Yield: 6 sunflower shaped soaps, if using THIS SOAP MOLD, or almost 1 lb 10 oz of soap (oils + lye + water weight)
Before You Begin
If you’ve never made soap before, be sure you’re completely familiar with the process before proceeding.
You may also find my Handmade Natural Soaps Ebook Collection helpful – it includes:
- Handmade Natural Soaps eBook
- All Natural Milk Soaps eBook
- DIY Specialty Soaps eBook
- Natural Facial Soaps eBook
- Essential Oils in Soapmaking Guide
- Troubleshooting Guide
- Plus Helpful Printables and Charts
Directions to Make
Step 1: Make the Lye Solution
Wearing gloves, goggles and long sleeves, weigh the water or sunflower tea into a stainless steel or heavy duty plastic pitcher. I use an old Tupperware or Pampered Chef pitcher. Look for plastic with a recycle symbol number 5 on it and it should be good to use. (Never use aluminum utensils or pots when making soap as it will react adversely with lye.)
Next, weigh the lye into a small cup or container. Sprinkle the lye into the water (not the other way around or you might get a lye volcano) and gently stir with a heavy duty plastic or silicone spatula or spoon until the lye is completely dissolved. The temperature will get really hot. Work near an open window, outside or under an exhaust fan. Avoid breathing in the resulting strong fumes that linger for a few moments. (If you have sensitive lungs, breathing problems, or are concerned about the fumes, consider wearing a mask such as THIS ONE.)
Set the lye solution aside in a safe place where it won’t get disturbed and allow it to cool down around 20 minutes, then stir in the lemon peel powder. Allow the lye to continue cooling about 10 to 20 minutes longer.
Step 2: Weigh and Heat the Oils
Weigh out the cocoa butter and coconut oil and melt it in a double boiler or over low heat until melted. While that melts, weigh out the olive, rice bran and sunflower oils and place them in a heat-resistant soap making pot, bowl or pitcher for mixing.
Pour the hot melted cocoa butter and coconut oil into the other oils. That should bring the temperature up to somewhere around 90 to 100°F (32 to 38° C).
Step 3: Combine and Mix Until Trace
Pour the lye solution into the warm oils. Using a stick or immersion blender (looks like THIS and is not a handheld mixer) stir the solution with the motor off for around 30 seconds. Turn the motor on and blend for a minute or so. Stir for another 30 or so seconds with the motor off, then again with the motor on and so forth. Don’t run the stick blender continuously so you don’t risk burning out the motor and/or causing excessive air bubbles in your finished soap.
Alternate with this method until trace is reached. “Trace” is when your soap batter gets thick enough to leave an imprint or tracing, when you drizzle some of it across the surface. Above is a picture of my soap at trace.
Hand-stir in the essential oils, if using. The amount I listed gives a very light scent when fully cured, so if you’d like a more noticeable scent, you can increase the amounts.
NOTE: The soap batter will look orange at first, but that’s okay! It will mellow in the mold and even more so as it goes through cure time.
Step 4: Pour Into Mold
This is a cold process soap recipe, which means you don’t cook it or add any extra heat, so at this point it’s ready to pour into the mold.
After pouring, cover gently with a sheet of freezer or parchment paper, then a light blanket or towel to help hold in the heat.
Peek at your soaps every so often. If you see any developing a crack down the middle, they’re getting too hot, so move the mold to a cooler place in your house.
You might see the soap change from darker to lighter colors in spots and even take on a translucent, jelly type texture, especially in the middle. That’s all perfectly normal – it just means your soap is going through gel phase.
After 24 hours, remove the freezer paper and blanket/towel, then let your soaps stay uncovered in the mold for 2 to 3 days or until they’re firm enough to release fairly easily. If needed, you can pop the mold in the freezer for 4 to 6 hours until completely solid, then try removing.
Step 5: Cure and Enjoy!
After unmolding the sunflower soaps, allow them to cure in the open air for at least 4 to 6 weeks.
This time is needed to evaporate out excess water, making sure your finished soap is harder and lasts longer when used.
Store your finished soap in a cool area away from excess heat, sunlight and humidity.