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It is becoming a tradition at home: make soap and other natural cosmetics as gifts for Christmas. So, as many soap makers do, I think, formulate and design a special soap for holidays. This post shows the recipe of this homemade soap to give as a gift. Hope you like it!
The Pretty Soap
As my skills with swirling are still “under construction”, I aimed at a layered soap with a simple top design. Maybe next year I will make a bright green and red soap, but as I have a lot of blue and violet colorant, this year I made my special soap around these colors: blue, violet and cream. I also planned to add some golden mica color
The soap base is the same as my Lavender Soap Recipe, but adjusted to work the layers: it needs to have more liquid oil for me to have time to work the soap with 3 colors. Too many solid oils and the soap batter will harden too quickly. Other variables that accelerate trace are certain essential oils (especially if they have other addictives, like certain alcohols), higher temperatures, higher concentration of lye (lower water content), or sugary ingredients (milk, honey, beer,…).
As for scent, I have just used a lavender blend, so I could make all my natural cosmetics lavender-based. Anyway, lavender never gets old 🙂
Here is the resulting soap:
So, as oils, I used coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil and RSPO palm oil. Pretty simple. I’ve just used some rosemary infused-olive oil I still had as a more special ingredient.
As for the colorants, I’ve used the blue and violet micas I have been using in other soaps/recipes, no full natural dye ingredients this time. You can use woad root to get a blue color, but it’s complicated and expensive to purchase it where I live, so I’ve skipped it.
The blend I’ve used for scent is made with lavender, neroli, ylang-ylang and benzoin. I’ve finally found a base note that I truly like with lavender: benzoin.
With three color layers and a design on top of the soap, this turns into an advanced soap recipe, so only try this one if you have a good experience with other soap recipes.
I hope you like this recipe, and enjoy your soaps at home!!
Watch this video for Soap Making Safety instruction
Watch this video for the Cold Process Soap Making tutorial
Homemade Soap Gift
- Immersion blender
- Pyrex or stainless steel bowl
- Heat-resistant jug or pitcher for lye solution
- 3 Pitchers
- Digital scale
- Digital thermometer
- Measuring spoons
- Rubber spatula(s)
- Small strainer
- Cup / bottle for after trace ingredients
- Large soap mold
- Safety goggles, gloves and mask
- 320 g distilled water
- 137 g lye (100% sodium hydroxide)
- 300 g extra virgin olive oil (10,58 oz)
- 200 g refined or organic coconut oil (7,05 oz)
- 300 g sunflower oil (10,58 oz)
- 200 g RSPO palm oil (7,05 oz)
After Trace Ingredients
- 10 drops grapefruit seed extract (GSE) or rosemary extract (RSO) (anti-oxidant)
- 1 tsp ultramarine violet – CI 77007 (4 ml of violet mica)
- 1 tsp ultramarine blue – CI 77007 (optional) (4 ml of blue mica)
- 27,5 ml essential oil blend
Essential oil blend
- 12 ml essential oil lavender (3 tsp)
- 9 ml essential oil/fragrance neroli (2 tsp + 1 1/4 tsp)
- 4 ml essential oil ylang-ylang (1 tsp)
- 2,5 ml essential oil benzoin (1/2 tsp)
- golden mica and poppy seeds to sprinkle
- alcohol to sprinkle
|Refined olive oil||Palm oil||Organic coconut oil|
|Sunflower oil||Grapefruit seed extract||Lye|
|Violet mica||Blue mica||Essential oil lavender|
|Essential oil Ylang-Ylang||Essential oil Neroli||Essential oil benzoin|
|Loaf soap mold||Soap cutter||Rectangular soap molds|
|Buy Immersion Blender Set||Buy Pyrex bowl (4lt)||Buy easy pour pitchers|
|Digital scale||Digital thermometer||Measuring spoons|
|Safety gloves||Safety goggles||Safety mask|
- Wear goggles and gloves! Look at “Safety Recommendations” in the video above or in How to Make Soap From Scratch
- 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!
- Remove a tablespoon of the measured liquid oils into a small cup. Strain the blue mica into the cup and mix well with the oil.
- Repeat the previous step to the violet mica
Heat the Oils
- Heat the oils until the solid oils are completely melted (it is not necessary to heat all the time).
Make the Lye Water
- Make the lye water according to How to Make Lye Water. Stir the mixture until the vapors start to dissipate.
Make the Soap Batter
- Use as a target temperature 40ºC for the oil-solution mixture. If necessary, you can reheat the oils, but not the lye solution.
- Pour the lye water carefully into the oils. It's better to strain the lye water to catch any undissolved lye crystals. Mix for a while.
- Reach a light trace with the immersion blender. If needed you can use the blender later.
- Add the after trace ingredients: essential oil blend and anti-oxidant extract. Mix well with a spoon or spatula.
- Beware that the soap batter might start hardening fast after adding the essential oils. Be efficient from now onwards.
- Divide the soap batter evenly into the 3 pitchers, more or less (no need to be precise).
- Add the blue colorant into one of the pitchers and mix well with a spoon. You can use the immersion blender in case the soap is still too liquid.
- Add the violet colorant into another pitcher and mix well with a spoon. You can use the immersion blender in case the soap is still too liquid.
- Check the third pitcher (should have soap batter with its creamy natural color) and mix a bit to prevent hardening
Making the Layers / Molding
- Use a soap loaf mold for this soap. Start by pouring the blue soap into the soap mold. Pour until the mold surface is completely covered.
- Then pour the violet soap into the soap mold carefully and try to cover the blue layer (but it's not required).
- Pour the creamy soap on top of the violet layer. Grab the blue soap pitcher and repeat the last 3 steps until your pour all soap batter.
- If you wish to make some top effects, let the soap batter sit for a bit until it reaches a paste consistency (you might not need to wait for this). Use a spoon or fork to make the top effects. This video gives some ideas.
- At last, sprinkle the top of the soap with golden mica and/or some poppy seeds, and finish it by sprinkling alcohol
- Make sure you properly isolate your soap loaf mold (easiest way is to heat for a bit your oven, turn it off and then place the soap mold inside the oven)