How to Make Balsam & Citrus Cold Process Soap
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Yield: 10 Bars
- Prep Time / Clean Up: 30 Minutes
- Perform Time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
- Total Time: 2 Hours (longer if putting through gel, which is recommended)
- Cure Time: 4-6 Weeks
- Extra Long Disposable Nitrile Gloves (easily found in dishwashing section at local supermarket)
- Digital Scale
- Digital Thermometer or Infrared Thermometer
- Stick Blender
- 1 x 2 Quart Glass Mixing Bowl or Microwavable Plastic Bowl
- 2 x Funnel Pitchers
- Small Containers (for holding ingredients)
- Pipettes (for Fragrance or Essential Oils)
- Measuring Spoons
- Fine Mesh Strainer (Stainless Steel)
- Paper Towels
- 10” Silicone Loaf Mold
- Spoon or Chopstick (for texturing soap top)
- 2 x Zipper Bags (for Mixing Colorants)
- Heating Pad (Optional)
- Timer (Optional)
- Cardboard Box That Fits over Mold (Optional)
- Towels/Blankets (Optional)
- Vegetable Peeler (Optional)
- 11.6 oz Olive Oil (35%) plus additional oil for dispersing colorants
- 9.9 oz Coconut Oil (30%)
- 5.0 oz Cocoa Butter (15%) cut in to small pieces
- 3.3 oz Apricot Kernel Oil (10%)
- 1.7 oz Avocado Oil (5%)
- 1.7 oz Castor Oil (5%)
- 4.7 oz Cold Distilled Water (Water:Lye ratio is 1:1)
- 3.6 oz Pumpkin Puree, fresh or canned (If you don’t want to use pumpkin puree, use a total of 8.3 oz. of water, which is ‘25% water as percent of oil weight in SoapCalc©.’)
- 4.7 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) (6% Super Fat/Lye discount)
- 2 teaspoons Sodium Lactate 60% (Optional) (helps soap to harden and release from mold sooner) (1 teaspoon per pound of oils) If not available, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon salt per pound of hard (saturated) oils in distilled water. For this recipe use a scant 1/4 teaspoon.)
- 1.1 oz or less Balsam & Citrus Fragrance Oil (2.5%)
- 1.6 oz or less Sweet Orange Essential Oil
- 2 tsp Pumpkin Kaolin Clay (1 tsp PPO)
- 1/4 tsp Smooth Coconut Carbon (1/2 tsp PPO)
- 1 tsp Cocoa Powder (2 tsp PPS)
- 1/4 tsp Titanium Dioxide (1/2 tsp PPO)
Before starting this tutorial please make sure to read all instructions.
You should have a basic understanding of making cold process soap before you begin this tutorial.
It is always a good practice to put any new recipe through a soap calculator like the one found at http://soapcalc.net/calc/SoapCalcWP.asp.
Step 1 – Measure All Ingredients
Put on your long sleeves, long pants, shoes, safety goggles, and gloves. Work in a well ventilated area that is free from distractions.
To make the process go faster, measure all ingredients first. To cut down on dishes, measure cold water into the funnel pitcher and measure coconut oil into the large mixing bowl. Measure sodium hydroxide last.
Step 2 – Make Lye Solution
Sprinkle approximately half of the sodium hydroxide into the cold water, stir gently to avoid splashing. Make sure to avoid breathing any fumes. Repeat, and stir until mixture is dissolved. (Always add lye to water and not the other way around because of the potential lye volcano. Just remember, “Snow falls on the lake.”) Set aside in a safe place to cool.
Step 3 – Make Oil Solution
Melt coconut oil in 30 second bursts until completely melted.
Next add the cocoa butter and stir until melted. If cocoa butter doesn’t completely, microwave in 30 second bursts and stir until completely melted.
Then, add olive oil, apricot kernel oil, avocado oil, and castor oil to the melted coconut oil. Stir until completely clear.
Next add pumpkin puree, kaolin clay, fragrance oil and essential oil and stir to incorporate. Once it is incorporated, use a stick blender to combine thoroughly.
Step 4 – Prepare Colorants
Place ¼ teaspoon activated charcoal, 1 teaspoon cocoa powder, and 1 tablespoon olive oil in one of the zipper bags. In the other zipper bag, place ¼ teaspoon titanium dioxide and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Remove most of the air from the bags and seal. Using your hands, manipulate the bags over and over and make sure there are no specks of colorant remaining. (This will take some time, but you have to wait until the ingredients cool anyway.)
Step 5 – Make Soap
If you want to gel your soap, which is recommended, now is a good time to turn on your heating pad.
When the temperatures of the lye solution and the oil solution are within 85°- 95° F, carefully (with safety gear still on) strain the lye solution and sodium lactate into the other funnel pitcher. Use paper towels to wipe strainer and empty pitcher, then dispose of paper towels.
Next, pour the strained lye solution into the oils, pouring down the side of the container to avoid adding air bubbles to the mixture.
This recipe tends to progress quickly, so be ready to work quickly. Before turning it on, insert stick blender at an angle to the bottom and shake it a bit to release any trapped air. Then, blend with a few short bursts, that’s it. Use a spatula after that.
Measure 12 oz. of batter into each funnel pitcher. Cut the end of each zipper bag off.
Add the white colorant to one and the bark brown colorant to the other funnel pitcher. Stir to incorporate. Also stir the non-colored batter to keep fluid.
Step 6 – Pour Batter
Pour all of the non-colored batter into the mold. Bang the mold on working surface to release any trapped air.
Clean up any batter that may have splattered on the sides of the mold. Next, pour all of the dark brown batter on top, pouring from around 10 inches above the mold. (You want it to make a divot in the previously poured layer. Then, add all of the light colored batter, also pouring from high. Use a spatula to try and cover the surface with the remaining batter. Tap mold hard on table surface to try to release any trapped air.
Step 7 – Texture Top
If desired, add a texture to the top of your soap by using a spoon or chopstick. I used a chopstick made a mantra/infinity swirl.
Step 8 – Put Through Gel*
Next, set your mold on top of the heating pad. Then, cover with a box. Next, insulate with blankets/towels. Set your timer for 20 minutes. When the timer rings, slide your hand up under the box and feel the air. If the air is warm, turn off the heating pad. If it’s not warm, keep repeating in 20 minute increments until the air in the box feels warm, then turn off the heating pad. At this point, make sure the mold is snug and keep it covered for at least 48 hours. (The sooner the soap is exposed to air, the more likely it is to develop soda ash.) Ambient temperature matters as well. If your home is warm, you probably won’t need the heating pad.
*You don’t have to put your soap through gel; you will get soap no matter if it goes through gel or not. This soap is made with a water discount to prevent glycerin rivers. With less water, soap goes through gel phase faster, often causing partial gel. That’s why it often needs to be forced through gel. Other benefits of forcing soap through gel are that it releases from the mold easier, it is harder, cures faster & lasts longer, the colors are often more brilliant, and it avoids partial gel.
Step 9 – Unmold and Cut Soap
If the soap releases from the mold easily without sticking to the sides, it’s ready to unmold. If not, cover and let it sit until it’s ready. (It doesn’t pay to rush unmolding.) Bevel all four long edges of the soap loaf.
Mark your soap top and cut it into 10 pieces.
Bevel remaining edges if desired.
Finally, allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks and Enjoy!
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