Thursday, July 10, 2008

Salt Soap Tutorial by Ladybug Soapworks

Sarah, of Ladybug Soapworks generously created a salt soap tutorial after I ungracefully begged her. Since my begging, I have made my own salt bars with some success (at least this is my belief before I've tried them).

Salt Bar Tutorial
By Sarah Marie Auclair
Ladybug Soapworks

Note: These instructions are written for someone who has experience making soap and knows the potential dangers due to working with sodium hydroxide.

1. A sample recipe would have 80% coconut oil and 20% liquid oils. I like to use Avocado oil and castor oil as my liquid oil components. You can play around with proportions, but generally coconut oil should be kept above 50%. You should make sure to superfat between 15-20% to ensure that the coconut does not cause the bar to become too drying. I also like to have a 20% water discount. The following is a sample recipe for you to try out.

12.8oz Coconut oil
2.4oz Avocado oil
0.8oz Castor oil

4.82oz Water (reflects a 20% discount)
2.43oz Sodium Hydroxide (reflects a 15% discount)

16oz Sea Salt

2. As with all soap making, you must have all of your equipment and ingredients fully prepared before you start since the reaction moves quickly.

a. Equipment:

• Scale
• Protective gear: gloves, goggles, face mask
• 2 medium plastic containers (32oz yogurt containers work great as do 32oz paint mixing containers. Alternatively, a glass Pyrex measuring cup works as well)
• 1 large plastic container
• Stick blender
• Stainless steel or silicone spoon or spatula
• Bowls to weigh out salt, fragrance, and colorant
• Mold (I like wooden log/loaf molds) make sure it is lined and ready to go before you start making the soap.

b. Ingredients:

• Coconut oil (76°F)
• Liquid oils of choice
• Fragrance or Essential oil (optional)
• Colorant (optional)
• Sea salt (medium or fine grain)

c. Put on your protective gear. This is very important since you will be working with an extremely caustic base that can and will burn you if you touch it. Noxious fumes are also released from the exothermic reaction that occurs when you mix the sodium hydroxide with water. Wear a face mask or leave the vicinity quickly after stirring the sodium hydroxide into the water. If you get any lye on your skin just wash it off quickly with copious amounts of cool water.

d. Preheat your kitchen oven to its lowest temperature (approximately 170°F).

e. Weigh out the water first. Next weigh out the sodium hydroxide. Add the sodium hydroxide to the water and mix quickly with your spoon or spatula. Leave this solution to cool for about 1 hour. I do not worry so much about temperatures, but I like to have both my lye solution and oils cool enough that I can touch the bottom of the containers they are in without it being too hot to hold my hand there for some time. As you can see in the picture below, I use a stir bar and stir plate to mix my sodium hydroxide solution. However, if you do not have access to such things, a spoon or spatula will work just fine.

f. While the lye is cooling, weigh out your oils, fragrance, colorant, and salt. Mix your colorant into the fragrance if the color is a powder or if it is liquid you can mix it into your salts.

g. Melt your oils in a microwave heating in increments of 30 seconds until the all the coconut oil is just melted. You do not want it to get too hot. Again check to make sure you can touch the bottom of the oil container without it being too hot to hold your hand there.

3. Once both the lye and oils have cooled sufficiently you can add the lye solution to your oils.

4. Begin to stick blend for about 30 seconds or so and then stir with the stick blender. This helps to keep the motor in the stick blender from burning out. Keep the stick blender fully submerged to decrease the amount of air that gets mixed in and reduce the number of bubbles formed.

5. You will see the mixture start to thicken and turn more of a creamy opaque color after a couple of minutes. Once the mixture is at a light trace add your fragrance and coloring. Trace is characterized by lines or drops remaining on the surface of the soap when you remove the stick blender.

6. Continue to stick blend until you reach a medium-thick trace.

7. After mixing in all the colorant, mix in the sea salt. I use a 1:1 ratio of sea salt to oils. You can use slightly more of less depending on your preferences. Do not use Dead Sea salt as the extra minerals seem to cause undesirable excess sweating of the bars.

8. Pour your soap in a lined mold. I use parchment paper with my wooden mold.

9. Cover the top of the soap with a layer of plastic wrap to help prevent ash.

10. Place the mold into your preheated oven and turn off the oven. Leave the soap in the oven for about 2 hours or until the soap feels firm enough to cut. Cut the soap immediately after you take it out of the oven or else it will become too hard to cut.

Below are salt soaps that Sarah made:

jasmine salt soap bar

chocolate covered nuts salt bar

You can also check out her blog here!


Marr Williams said...

Great tutorial Sarah! Thanks for posting Joanna! I'll add a link from my blog.

Heather@Twin Birch said...

(sing it with me...) Hi Ho, Hi Ho, to make a bar I go... xoxo :)

dcyrill said...

Oh this is definitely one I will be trying. :)

Traumschaumseife said...

Great! Thank you so much...
It will be the first time for me trying to cut a salt bar....

Greetings from germany,

koinonia community said...

That looks cool. Now I'm gonna have to try it....deep sigh.

Michelle said...

Cool. Thanks for the tutorial. I've never done this, I'm going to give it a try.

Helene said...

Thnak you for stopping by earlier. You make the most luscious body products!

Burnt Mill Candles and Soap said...

those always look so cool
I swear on of these days I am going to try a batch! :)

Me said...

These look great! I've been wanting to try them but haven't gotten around to it. Thanks for sharing!

Morgan Street said...

Oooh - you've inspired me try these again. Thanx!

Justlikehoney! said...

What pretty bars! Great tuturiol.

Сабрина и Джейми said...

thank you so much! great tutorial!

natural soap said...

Thanks for your step by step tutorial for making salt soap. That is great. But i think pure natural soap are very nice and skin caring.

AsperGirl said...

Gorgeous and inspiring! Thank you for posting this tutorial!

Erin said...

Great tutorial! I made my first salt bars last week before I saw this- but I like your idea of using the oven. I sat mine out on a counter, covered with a towel, for 5 hours, and it was ready to cut. Couldn't believe I was cutting CP soap after such a short time!!! Your tutorial is great!

Kelly said...

about how long does it take to completely cure?

Joanna Schmidt said...

Approximately 2-3 weeks because it spends an hour in the oven, that helps it cure.


EdenHillFarm said...

Yay! I've been wanting to try a scrubby soap recipe for awhile now, out of curiosity, can you substitute sugar for the salt, or does that just not work?
Thanks a lot for posting this tutorial!

Joanna Schmidt said...

Soap Bar Girl: Sugar will not work. At least that is my educated guess.

Sugar dissolves quickly and will makes a gooey mess. Sugar also heats up raw soap tremendously so when you add honey to soap it accelerates trace, I can't even imagine adding THAT much sugar. You'd have an awful toxic mess on your hands.

Good luck with the salt bar.

Anonymous said...

Love this tutorial! Can I use Dendritic Salt instead....thats all I have on hand.

Joanna Schmidt said...

I honestly don't know. I would go to and ask over there. I think you can use table salt, so I don't see why you couldn't use Dendritic Salt. But I haven't used either, so I can't say for sure. Come back and let us all know how it came out!


Good luck!

Hi said...

Thanks so much for the great tutorial!
I'm so gonna try this out! :) just curious: Can i add in coffee powder or green tea powder? that's before or after adding the salt?

Anonymous said...

Hoping I didn't kill mine by not putting in oven. Living with a stove on the fritz in summer hasn't been a problem until now.

Left it in my mold covered, and sliced after a few hours. Crossing my fingers. I did not see anything that looked like a hint of suds. Which sometimes my soap actually seems to have instantly. The texture is so rich and creamy with the beautiful refracted light of the salt. Heaven. Thanks so much.. The pictures and your page is laid out in such a smart attainable way. Clean look which compliments the making of soap. Cheers!

FluffySoap said...

I modified your recipe a bit, and made my first Salt soap.
I love it!

Unknown said...

I just started experimenting with salt soap recipes, lovin' them. Great tutorial!

Unknown said...

Wow this is amazing! I never thought I'd even think of experimenting with soap making. But since store-soap(garbage) is so expensive and bad for your skin with all thoes chemicals and what not.. I've been looking for healthier more natural ways to cleanse. This has definatly inspired me to try making my own organic salt soap, and maybe start a new hobby! Thanks!

Unknown said...

Wow this is amazing! I never thought I'd even think of experimenting with soap making. But since store-soap(garbage) is so expensive and bad for your skin with all thoes chemicals and what not.. I've been looking for healthier more natural ways to cleanse. This has definatly inspired me to try making my own organic salt soap, and maybe start a new hobby! Thanks!

SafenSound said...

Can you make salt bars via hot process (crockpot method) or is it best to do CP? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I must have missed something. How much scent and when to add?

Atihcnoc said...

Great tutorial!! thank you for that..just have a question. How do you calculate your % as I put your recipe in the soapcalc and gave me 30% discount water and 13% super fat.
Thank you.

Scarlet Maiden said...

I just made these, but used grapeseed oil, as I didn't have avacado. How long do I have to sure it? This is the first CP I have ever made.

Unknown said...

What temperature do you set the oven at? THANK YOU! Definitely going to try this.

Unknown said...

Never mind. See I missed the temp. of 170 in your directions. THANKS.