Friday, April 23, 2010

Salt soap

I saw salt soap for the first time at the Happy Tiny Bubbles site and I knew I just had to make some.  Her salt soaps were just gorgeous, almost like natural rock or something... deliciously crumbly somehow.  I Googled a bit and found some more info and photos.   I gathered from reading that the salt both made the soap rock hard and therefore difficult to cut and also not lather very much.

Therefore most people seemed to use coconut oil as a majority oil.  So I had to try something different.
I decided to make my salt soaps in molds to avoid the cutting problem, although one can cut very hard soap with wire.  I have these... I guess they are some sort of cake molds or pastry molds?... I don't know, but I bought them because they are pretty.  I got them from a charity shop that got an old inventory of kitchen stuff from the 60's and 70's.  Wonderful stuff, I just love it.

Anyway, back to the salt soap, I decided to use those and then I thought: "Well, salt soap is kind of spa like so I don't want it to be too drying and therefore I won't use so much coconut oil.  And I'll have come cocoa butter in it and some other nice oils.  And the lather... ohhh, who cares?"

So I made a little batch and put some peppermint essential oil in there.  I've never really been a fan of mint as a smell (it tastes great though, especially with chocolate) until I made a soap with peppermint essential oil and peppermint tea brewed from the peppermint in my garden.  I loved that soap and the smell of it.  Not sickly, nauseating toothpaste smell at all.  Just pure and refreshing.

The soap was very thin at first so I was worried that this would be my first failure.  So I waited a bit with pouring into the molds.  Big mistake.  When I started to pour it it was setting rapidly so it didn't run into the mold properly.  I had lined them with cling wrap because most of them are aluminum and that reacts with the soap (what does that mean exactly? I need to try that out sometime).  The plastic kind of got in the way and it was a messy process to say the least.  But I got it in there and out on the drying rack.  Taking them out of the mold was not difficult, but they were not as crisply molded as I would have liked and they were very crumbly, but they still had some shelf time to do.

When I couldn't stand it any longer I took one out and used it in the bathtub.  It was truly a rather strange experience.  Virtually no lather to speak of, but it was very hard and it did clean well, smelled lovely and left my skin very soft.  I have to say I really liked it.  Although I must admit that I think I will up the coconut oil next time.

My recipe was very small only 200 g / 7 oz (I'm not really good at the Imperial measurement system):
Coconut oil         30%    - 60g / 2.1 oz
Olive oil              30%    - 60 g / 2.1 oz
Cocoa butter       20%    - 40 g / 1.4 oz
Avocado oil        20%    - 40 g / 1.4 oz

I used coconut milk for the liquid, for this recipe 70 g. and 28 g. lye.  This should make it 5% superfatted.  I added 200 g. salt and some peppermint essential oil before I poured it into the molds.

I gave my mother one of the soaps and am looking forward to hearing her reaction to it.  She doesn't like Castille soap because it doesn't lather much, but I told her to give this one a chance.

UPDATE:  I used the salt soap in the shower and I think I was too harsh in saying that there is no lather from it.  There is a lovely, soft and creamy lather and it feels very good on the skin.  It could be worth repeating, but probably using more coconut oil and less of the others.

The photo: The little shelf is really the only drawer that was in the kitchen of my first tiny apartment. I renovated it and kept the drawer.  As I tried to sand off old layers of paint I uncovered lovely colours of green and blue so I kept it as is. The angel I bought in an Italian street for pennies and the green glass tealightholders I got in Stockholm. They are made of recycled glass and I like their colour.


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  2. Salt Soaps were all the rage among soapers here (in Germany) a few years ago. Of course I had to try them too, so I made a batch (also in little cake molds for easy removal ;) I love lather, I adore creamy lather and although I was prepared for less lather, I certainly wasn't for NO LATHER at all. I set them aside, for 1/2 a year hoping that this might help a bit. It didn't, and all the while I was reading these salt soap rage report..Best Seller! Wonderful Skin Feeling! Can't Make Enough to Cover the Demand! I have tried different recipes, but so far none produced a bar that would make me say YAY! The recipe that brought about the most lather without being drying to my skin was goat milk based and had 20% Babassu oil, 50% Coconut, 20% Avocado and 10% Castor oil. For extra pampering you can use up to 5% Lanolin (subtract from Coconut). And what also adds some lather is Tussah silk fibers added to your lye solution. Good luck with your next batch!

  3. Thank you so much for the complimets and the link! This is very interesting recipe, since the lowest amount of coconut I have tried was 80%. Maybe I could try a little lower amount of coconut as well and see what happens. And I am very interested to hear if the lather of your salt bar improves in time.

  4. Hi, I make lots of salt Glow bars I make very small batches: 500 grams coconut 50 grams olive 50 grams Castor 600 grams salt. run through soapcalc at 20% superfat. Yes 20% i scent with only an essential oil & these bars are fab i make in a standard mold & cut after 4 hours the texture is weird at this point but becomes rock hard overnight. If you are struggling to get inexpensive essential oils drop me a line they are quite cheap here & I could post you some


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