Seaweed salt soap - and my icy cold hands

I went to pick seaweed with my cousin and mother the other day.  We timed it carefully since we wanted to pick a particular kind of seaweed, Pamaria palmata.  Dulce is the common name in English, but we call it Söl in Icelandic.  Dulce has been used for ages here as food.  They are very nutritious and are sold as snacks and some people used them in green drinks.  This is why we were going to collect some, because my cousin uses them in her nutritious morning drink and it is rather expensive at the shops.  Self sufficiency appeals to me, even if I don't really eat that much of the stuff.

Dulce grows at the very lowest point of the beach where there is movement of the sea most of the time and in order to pick it we had to wait for the lowest tide of the month and we were fortunate that this month it happened to be a Sunday.

We only had to drive about an hour from the city to find a nice place to collect seaweed.  There are these two really cute tiny villages with tongue twisting names (Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki) and old houses made of timber, clad in corrugated iron and painted in vivid colours with white windows.  I really love those old houses, no matter how impractical they are in the modern world with their low ceilings and tiny rooms.  They have some really nice restaurants in those villages, but we didn't stop this time.

We had to walk pretty far out on the beach to find Söl, the species we were chiefly interested in.  We could hardly sea land by the time we found some and had almost given up and turned back.  It was really hard to walk on those round seaweed covered boulders and we had had to leave my mother behind pretty early on.  I left her, bless her heart, sitting on a rock, hoping she would make it back on land without braking any bones.  I had made sure to take some refreshments with us but unfortunately I had the car keys in my pocket, so she was left stranded alone on the beach with nothing to eat and no phone (that was is the car with the food).  She wasn't upset at all, but started to collect plants to show us when we returned.  Still teaching me about plants, like she did when I was little.  So I learned all about the few plants that grow by the sea.

Even if the sun was shining it was pretty windy and cold and we could hardly see land anymore.  But all that was forgotten when we started seeing the Söl.  We managed to collected three bucketfuls before we started to work our way back to safety, with the tide rising steadily.  I was beginning to get a bit worried that we would need to be rescued, but we made it back safely, if a bit tired and cold (did I already say that?).

We didn't just collect dulce. We also saw these really pretty green seaweeds that I now know are Ulva lactuca, or Laver.  I collected some because I wanted to use them in soap to see if I could get the lovely green colour.

That soap just had to be salt soap, I mean how could it not be.  Sea. Salt.  No brainer!  It did turn out green and a nice green at that.  The photo doesn't do it justice.  It will probably not last too long, but I'm enjoying it all the same.

I had decided to make about 2/3's of it non-salt and have the rest a salt soap.  So I poured quite a lot of soap into the mold and them dumped some salt into the soap batter I had left.  It turned out to be the exact opposite.  More salt soap than not.  I should have tried to get some fancy blending of the two.  But I thought it was going to be a straight line.  Oh well!

I used a lot of coconut oil to see if it lathers.  So the recipe is quite simple:

Cocoanut oil      50%     250g / 8.8oz
Olive oil            40%     200g /  7.0oz
Cocoa butter     10%       50g /  1.8oz

Seaweed blended with 200g / 7.0oz of water.

I scented it with a blend of Peppermint and a hint of Vetiver.  It's quite nice and appropriate for this sea inspired soap.  I used fine sea salt.  I like that a lot better than coarse salt.  It makes a smooth rock hard surface that doesn't scratch.   I look forward to trying it.  I kind of like salt soaps.  They are so different and this one is very authentic with real-live-seaweed that I picked myself from the sea with my icy cold hands.  Did I already say it was cold?


  1. I made a seaweed salt soap once. I scented it with eucalyptus and lemon essential oils. It was pretty nice.

  2. Thanks for sharing your seaweed picking adventure. Your salt/seaweed soap is so pretty and your photo is perfect! :)

  3. It's always so much nicer to make soap with ingredients that you actually had to work for! It turned out so lovely! Hopefully your hands are warmer now. :)

  4. A very nice soap. It is so satisfying to use ingredients that one has collected or made with ones own hands.

  5. Thanks guys. I really enjoy using truly local ingredients. Even if it means cold hands :) - And I did eventually warm up.


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