Check out this recipe of an handmade natural olive oil soap colored with french 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!
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.
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.
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
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:
- French Green Clay Soap (Etsy)
- French Green Clay and Lemongrass Soap (Etsy)
- French Green Clay and Goat’s Milk Soap (Etsy)
Etsy handmade lard soapsEtsy coffee lard scrub soapEtsy coffee lard scrub soapEtsy French green clay soapEtsy lavender lard soapEtsy lavender lard soap
- More about Vegetable Oils: Soap Making Oils Chart
- More about Essential Oils: Essential Oils for Soap Making
- More about Cold Process Soap and Recipes: All Natural Cold Process Soap Recipes
- More Recipes for Beginners: Homemade Soap Recipes For Beginners
Watch These Videos Before Starting Your Recipe
French Green Clay Soap Recipe
- 450 g extra virgin olive oil
Add After Trace
- Wear goggles and gloves! Look at “Safety Recommendations” in the video above or in Safety Precautions in Soap Making
- Watch the video above about "Cold Process Soap Making tutorial" or read the post How To Make Soap by Cold Process Step-by-Step for instructions on cold process soap making before starting. These are generic but important steps for all recipes.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.