Rose Clay Soap Recipe
This natural soap recipe features rose clay, powdered milk (optional), and cocoa butter.
The overlapping ingredient list and heart shapes coordinate nicely with the rose milk bath bombs in my previous recipe. (Found HERE, if you missed it!)
The weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day present a wonderful opportunity to find and stock up on a variety of inexpensive heart shaped molds at your local grocery and craft stores.
The silicone mold shown in this rose clay soap tutorial was purchased at my local Walmart for just a few dollars.
Rose Clay Soap Recipe
All measurements are by weight. You must use an accurate scale to make soap.
- 8 oz (227 g) distilled water
- 3.95 oz (112 g) sodium hydroxide (lye)
- 3/4 teaspoon rose clay
- 13.5 oz (383 g) olive oil (48.2%)
- 8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (28.6%)
- 3.5 oz (99 g) sweet almond or sunflower oil (12.5%)
- 3 oz (85 g) cocoa or kokum butter (10.7%)
- 2 tablespoons powdered milk (cow, goat or coconut), optional
- essential oil, if desired (I used 10 g geranium + 10 g lavender + 8 g clary sage)
Yield: 2.5 pounds of soap (7 to 8 bars, or 12 to 14 heart shapes, as shown)
* This soap has a reduced water amount on purpose, to help it release more easily from the molds.
** If you don’t have cocoa or kokum butter, lard or tallow can be used instead, with no significant change in lye amount.
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Ingredient & Supply Sources
I purchased supplies for this recipe from the following places:
Local Grocery Store – powdered milk, distilled water, heart shaped molds
Bramble Berry – rose clay
Soaper’s Choice – oils
Mountain Rose Herbs – cocoa butter
Amazon – food grade lye
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 Rose Clay Soap
Step 1: Make the Lye Solution
Wearing gloves, goggles and long sleeves, weigh the distilled water into a stainless steel or heavy duty plastic pitcher. I use an old Tupperware pitcher or heavy duty plastic buckets from the paint section of my local DIY store. 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.)
Carefully stir the rose clay into the hot lye solution. (Alternatively, you can dilute the clay with twice as much water and add it at trace. Both ways give a similar color.)
Set the lye solution aside in a safe place where it won’t get disturbed and allow it to cool down for around 30 to 40 minutes, or until temperature reaches around 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C)
Step 2: Weigh and Heat the Oils
Weigh out the cocoa butter and coconut oil and heat gently until melted. Add the other oils. If needed, you can heat the combined oils and butter further until the temperature is around 90 to 100°F (32 to 38° C).
(You don’t have to be extra fussy with temperatures though. Some like to make soap at room temperature, while others prefer even hotter temperatures than I use. There’s a wide range of personal preferences that work just fine.)
Add the powdered milk to the oils and stir in by hand or with your immersion blender.
If you’d like to ensure that your soap has a longer shelf life, add 1 gram (about 40 drops or 1/4 teaspoon) of Rosemary Antioxidants to the warmed oils.
You can buy Rosemary Antioxidants from Mountain Rose Herbs. Since you only need a tiny bit per batch of soap, one bottle will last for ages and is well worth the extended shelf life it provides.
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 10 to 20 seconds. Turn the motor on and blend for 10 to 20 seconds or so. Stir for another 10 to 20 seconds with the motor off, then again with the motor on, and alternating 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 a soap batter at a medium trace.
Hand-stir in any essential oils, if using.
Step 4: Pour Into Mold(s)
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(s).
After pouring, cover the mold(s) gently with a sheet of freezer or parchment paper, then a light blanket or towel to help hold in the heat.
Peek at your soap every so often. If you see a crack developing down the middle, it’s 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 soap stay uncovered in the mold for 1 to 2 days or until it’s firm enough to release fairly easily. If needed, you can pop the mold(s) in the freezer for 4 to 6 hours until completely solid, then try removing.
Step 5: Cure and Enjoy!
If you used a loaf mold, after unmolding your soap, allow it to cure in the open air for a few days before slicing into bars.
Cure the soap on wax paper or coated baking racks for 4 to 6 weeks before using, though I usually start testing a bar at 3 weeks for personal use.
Shelf life of homemade soap is often given as one year, but it will depend on the quality of ingredients you start with and how it’s stored. Keep your finished soap in a cool area away from excess heat, sunlight and humidity.
This looks lovely. Can it be made using a hot process method?
Hi Delta Breeze! Yes, you sure can make it hot process. For that, I suggest increasing the water amount to 10 ounces. Mix the oils & lye solution to trace. Instead of adding essential oils at trace, wait and add them after cook time.
Love this soap mold.
Hi Emma! Thanks! I want to buy more of them before Valentine’s Day is gone – I think it will be great to use year ’round. :)
Instead of the Rosemary antioxidant, would you recommend substituting leucidal liquid sf to this recipe as a preservative (or any others that contain water?).
Hi Theresa! Soap has such a high pH it doesn’t need a preservative against mold or bacteria, such as lotion would. (It kind of self preserves itself in that manner.)
The big enemy of a lengthy soap shelf life is rancidity – when the oils age and go bad, the soap starts smelling off and it can develop rancid spots (DOS or dreaded orange spots).
Rosemary Antioxidants (ROE) helps by fighting this rancidity process. Kevin Dunn (soap scientist & general guru) has a great paper he wrote on the subject:
Where did you find that sweet heart mold? This soap looks beautiful!
Hi Diana! That came from the Valentine’s Day section of my local Walmart. I love it so much too! I plan to buy a few more before they’re all sold out. :)
I can’t wait to try this! I started soaping last September and I love it! I just saw these molds and Walmart yesterday. I am heading back to buy them. Thank you!
Hi Ruth! Happy you like the recipe & the molds! :)
Can I ask you a question, I was ready to try your beautiful recipe but I always like to run it to Soap Calc (so I can learn a little more about it), and also to modify my amount of soaps I wanted to try. I noted you did an reduce water amount on purpose (20%), to help it to release more easy from the molds. but can you teach me about the diferences with the Lye amount: 5.68 onz (160.89 gr) vs yours 3.95 oz (112 gr) I’m a little confused about it. Thank you!
Hi Margarita! :) I don’t usually use soapcalc, but the calculator at Majestic Mountain Sage instead, so my numbers are sometimes a small bit different.
Running it through soapcalc though, I get 3.94 oz of lye. (Water is roughly 27%.)
5.68 oz would be way too much lye. Perhaps a number got crossed somewhere?
Here’s a screenshot of my results in soapcalc:
I’m interested in using some herbal infused avocado oil & tallow in a soap recipe. Do you know if the Lye or soap processing in general will alter or counteract the healing qualities of the infused herbal oil ?
Thank you for sharing this recipe and so much more
Hi Rachel! That’s a great question. Some of the herbal components will be resistant to heat and alkalinity & should survive the process.
Here’s an article I like to send people to that talks about that a little more:
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