French Green Clay Soap Recipe

Try this french green clay soap recipe of an handmade natural olive oil soap colored with green clay and scented with lemongrass and litsea cubeba essential oils. Green clay, used to cleanse oily skin, combined with the softness of olive oil, will create a natural handmade soap ideal for purifying and cleaning any type of skin, especially oily skin. With delicious citrusy scent!

Table of Contents

French Green Clay: Cleansing and Purifying

Green clay comes from the degradation and decomposition of magmatic rocks of volcanic origin. Among all types, it has a great diversity of elements, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, among others. Its coloring is greenish thanks to iron oxide, another substance in which green clay is enriched.

french green clay

Green clay is naturally rich in minerals and trace elements. It is absorbent, regenerating, soothing and purifying. This universal clay is used in inflammations and for oily and combination skincare. It is ideal as a base for masks, poultices, or body wraps.

In cold process soap, clay is used as both a natural colorant, a natural cleanser, and also as a “scent fixer”. Clay gives gentle exfoliating and various oil absorbing properties to soap, excelent for oily skin. It also helps to ground the essential oils and fragrances within the soap.

It is added to the lye water as it also absorbs moisture; works better than dispersed in oil. Since clay accelerates trace, it is a great addition in an 100% olive oil soap, as there is no danger of soap seizing: olive oil soap takes the longest time to trace among all soaps.

Lemongrass and Litsea Cubeba Essential Oils

The other highlight of this soap is its lemony scent, given by these two extraordinary essential oils. If you want your soap to smell citrusy or lemon-like, you really can’t skip lemongrass and/or litsea cubeba, as lemon, lime and other common citrus essential oils are mainly destroyed in saponification, leaving only a faint scent. Both these essential oils are top to middle notes. They work well on their own, but a base note like cedarwood may be used to ground the scent.

essential oils and herbs

Lemongrass essential oil has a sweet and strong lemony scent that fortunately survives saponification (mostly at least), therefore, it is very commonly used in cold process soap. It is stated to have a lot of medicinal properties but the only one scientifically proven is that it helps kill certain bacteria.

May Chang/Litsea cubeba is an originary plant from tropical and subtropical regions of India and Southeast Asia, traditionally used in medicine. Some recent studies described the functional properties of L. cubeba, such as its therapeutic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-insecticidal activities. But, again, clinical trials and studies in humans need to be performed to prove these properties’ effectiveness.

May Chang / Litsea cubeba is also well known in cold process soap, as its scent survives relatively strong through saponification.

I’ve also added to the essential oil blend sweet orange and ylang-ylang esential oils to make the scent richer, but they are not really needed. Also, you may use both lemongrass and litsea cubeba, or just one of them. Just don’t prevent yourself to make this wonderful soap only because you are lacking some of the essential oils.

french green clay soap recipe

French Green Clay Soap Recipe

Combining green clay with the softness of olive oil, this natural handmade soap is good to purify and clean any type of skin, especially oily skin. The conditioning properties of olive oil will compensate for the oil absorbing properties of clay.

The anti-bactericidal and antimicrobial properties of lemongrass and litsea cubeba may help prevent acne as well. But above all, they give a wonderful lemony scent to this soap.

Try this basic but skin-loving cleansing recipe at home, especially if you have oily skin. Enjoy!

Find Where To Buy Handmade French Green Clay Soap

If you’re not yet ready to try to make this recipe at home, but you still wish to enjoy natural soaps, you can find handmade soap with french green clay in the following links:

How To Use This Soap

In the shower or bath, wet your hands and rub your soap in them to create a lather. Wash your hands first, then repeat the process and apply soap to your whole body using the soap directly and your hands. You may also wash your face with it. Rinse hands and body abundantly. Also wash your soap from lather before placing it in your soap dish or bag saver.

Washcloths and sponges should be avoided. Avoid washing your intimate zone and your hair, soap pH in not adequate for those parts of your body. Avoid eye contact with soap to prevent stinging. Make a patch test before using your soap. Stop using your soap if you feel any immediate adverse reaction in your skin (red skin, rashes, itching).

To take best advantage of your handmade soap (made by yourself or store-bougth), read How Do You Use Handmade Soap?

Related Posts

Ingredients and Recipes

Soap Making Techniques and Troubleshooting

Watch This Video About Safety

Cold Process Soap Making Tutorial Video

Cold Process Soap Making Lessons

The tutorials in this blog are a great – and free! – help to start with cold process soap making. Practice is the next step to harness the art of making soaps at home. However, I understand if you prefer to have some formal lessons, where you will feel more supported with the steps. Feel free to join these courses at Udemy.

How To Make Soap – Homemade Soap Making for Beginners – Shona O’Connor

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French Green Clay Soap Recipe

Try this handmade natural olive oil soap, colored with green clay and scented with lemongrass essential oil. This essential oil, used to cleanse oily skin, combined with green clay and the softness of olive oil, will create a natural handmade soap ideal for purifying and cleaning any type of skin!
Difficulty: Easy
Weight: 450 g (15,84 oz)
Superfat: 5%
Lye Concentration: 36%
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 30 days 1 hour 10 minutes
Method: Cold Process
Cosmetic: Soap Bar
Servings: 6 soap bars
Author: Sofia Matias
Cost: $5 – $16 / 4€ – 15€


Water Lye

Add After Trace


Get Ready!

  • Wear goggles and gloves! Look at “Safety Precautions” in the video above or in Soap Making Safety Precautions
  • Watch the video above about "Cold Process Soap Making Tutorial" or read the post Learn To Make Cold Process Soap for instructions on cold process soap making before starting. These are generic but important steps for all recipes.
    Pouring essential oils into soap batter
  • Assemble everything: ingredients, equipment, safety equipment. Prepare your workstations. Measure all the ingredients. Don’t start the recipe without having everything ready!
  • The green clay is a natural colorant for this soap. It also acts as a deeper cleaner agent, absorbing oil and acting as a very mild exfoliant. It is an optional ingredient.

Heat the Oils

  • Heat the olive oil to approx. 45ºC
    Heating soaping oils in a microwave

Prepare the Lye Water

  • Make the lye solution according to How To Make Lye Water. Add the fine salt and the green clay to the solution. Mix it until the vapors start to dissipate. The solution will take a dark green color.
    green lye water
  • If you are using sodium lactate, add it only when the lye water is cooled (at around 50ºC – 122ºF).

Make the Soap Batter

  • Use as a target temperature 38ºC for the oil-solution mixture. If necessary, you can reheat the oils, but not the lye solution. Strain the lye water into the oils to catch the clay and any undissolved lye crystals.
    measuring the temperature of soaping oils with a thermometer
  • Reach trace with the immersion blender.
  • Add after trace ingredients: the extract and essential oil (s). Stir with just a spoon.

Molding and Curing

  • Pour the dough into the rectangular molds with a pitcher and sprinkle with alcohol or witch hazel.
  • Let it set for 2 to 7 days, keeping an eye on the hardness of the soap.
  • Unmold and let the bars cure for 6 to 8 weeks. See How To Cure Soap.


Tried this recipe?Send a pic to @herbalcochete!

10 thoughts on “French Green Clay Soap Recipe”

  1. Learning to make things by one’s self at home is very helpful, reduces cost, and enhances one’s skills. This French Green Clay soap recipe for making one at home seems so nice. Thanks for this educating and instructive article on such a lovely homemade soap recipe. I did enjoy reading this article.

    • Hello Kelvin thanks for your comment.

      I am glad you liked this recipe. I do like DIY, I am more and more adept of it, as it is a sort of sustainability and eco-friendly attitude if you do it the right way. I was into it already, but this pandemic made me see how deeply dependent we are of things we don’t control… doing my own soap and other natural cosmetics makes me feel less dependent.

      Cheers, Sofia

  2. Hi,

    Getting to know how to make a soap is interesting, your article is educative and explainatry, the points mentioned on how to make the homemade green clay soap recipe is a good tutorial, the article makes me to know the benefits of the olive oil soap to the body. Thanks for sharing.


    • Hello Aluko and thanks for your comment.

      Indeed, olive oil soap, best known as Castile soap, is almost unique: it’s very, very conditioning, has low foam, and  it’s very mild. It’s adequate for all skin types, including sensitive ones. It can be used in babies 🙂 

      Give it a try, whether by trying to do this soap at home, or by buying some Castile soap. Your skin will thank you.



  3. as a very creative person that i am, coming across articles like these really feels like a blessing to me, i would definitely make this soap usingt this recipe with my fiancee this weekend and i know shell like this as well. thanks for sharing this amazing recipe here. i really appreciate

    • Hello Collins and thanks for your nice comment.

      I hope you have fun making your soap at home! 🙂 Let me know how it went afterwards.



    • Hello LadyLuisa,

      Thanks for your comment.
      Not yet, but I plan to make hot process soap soon. I can very well start with a hot process version of this recipe 🙂


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