How to Make “In the Key of Purple” Cold Process Soap
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Yield: 9 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
- Mini Cordless Mixer
- 1 x 2 Quart Glass Mixing Bowl or Microwavable Plastic Bowl
- 3 x Funnel Pitchers
- Small Containers (for holding ingredients)
- 3 x Spatula
- Pipettes (for Fragrance or Essential Oils)
- Measuring Spoons
- Fine Mesh Strainer (Stainless Steel)
- Paper Towels
- 10” Silicone Loaf Mold
- 2 Partitions for Mold (can be made out of cardboard and covered with packaging tape)
- 3 Zipper Bags
- Skinny Stick (for swirling, found in craft section at local supercenter, you can use a chopstick as well)
- Heating Pad (Optional)
- Timer (Optional)
- Plexiglass or Cardboard (cut to fit top of mold) (Optional)
- Plastic Wrap (Optional)
- Towels/Blankets (Optional)
- Knife or Wire Soap Cutter
- Vegetable Peeler (Optional)
- 8.4 oz / 237 g Cold Distilled Water (Water as a percent of oil weight: 25%)
- 2 tsp Powdered Sugar (1 teaspoon Per Pound of Oils (PPO))
- 4.7 oz / 134 g Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) (6% Super Fat/Lye discount)
- 2 teaspoons / 13 g Sodium Lactate (Optional) (1 tsp PPO) (helps soap to harden and release from mold sooner) If not available, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon salt per pound of hard (saturated) oils in distilled water and cool before adding lye. For this recipe use a scant 1/4 tsp)
- 13.4 oz / 380 g Olive Oil (40%)
- 10.0 oz / 285 g Coconut Oil (30%)
- 5.0 oz / 142 g Palm Oil (15%)
- 1.7 oz / 47 g Cocoa Butter, cut into small pieces (5%)
- 1.7 oz / 47 g Avocado Oil (5%)
- 1.7 oz / 47 g Castor Oil (5%)
- 2.9 oz / 83 g Eucalyptus Spearmint Fragrance Oil (6.5%)
- 1.5 tsp Smooth Coconut Carbon (1.5 tsp PPSoap)
- ¾ tsp Titanium Dioxide (1 tsp PPO)
- ¾ tsp Neon House Party Purple Powder Pigment (1 tsp PPO)
Before starting this tutorial please make sure to read all instructions.
You should have an understanding of lye safety and also have a number of soap batches under your belt before attempting soap that requires you to work quickly. If you are new to cold process soap making, Click Here for our beginner soap making tutorial.
It is always a good practice to put any new recipe through a soap calculator like: http://soapcalc.net/calc/SoapCalcWP.asp.
Step 1 – Gear up for Safety
Put on your long sleeves, long pants, shoes, safety goggles, and gloves. Work in a well-ventilated area that is free from distractions.
If at any time your skin comes in contact with lye or lye/water, flush with water for at least 15 minutes and seek medical help if necessary.
Step 2 – Prepare Ingredients
Before you begin, note the weight of your large mixing bowl, because you will need it later.
Melt the palm oil in microwave in 30 second bursts, agitating in between bursts. Melt completely. It will look clear with no floating particles.
It’s time to measure ingredients. You can refer to the ingredients photo above and the tips below:
Colorants can be measured into the 3 individual zipper bags.
One third of the distilled water weight can be distilled water ice cubes to help the mixture cool faster and also cut down on fumes.
Measure Castor, Avocado, and Olive Oil into a funnel pitcher.
Measure Coconut Oil and melted Palm Oil into the large mixing bowl.
Measure the remaining ingredients individually, measuring the sodium hydroxide last for safety reasons.
Step 3 – Make Lye Solution
Add the Powdered Sugar to the cold Distilled Water. Use the mini mixer to dissolve the Sugar completely. (This will help your batter stay fluid longer.)
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. (Please note that when Lye is added to Water it will heat up very quickly. For this reason, never use a glass container for mixing your Lye and Water, and 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 that is well-ventilated to cool, and set the Sodium Lactate aside near the Lye Solution as well.
Step 4 – Make Oil Solution
Melt the Coconut/Palm Oil in 30 second bursts. Stir in between bursts and continue until Coconut Oil is completely melted.
Add Cocoa Butter to the melted Coconut/Palm Oil. Stir to melt. If Cocoa Butter doesn’t melt completely, microwave in 30 second bursts and stir until completely melted.
Add the Castor, Avocado, and Olive Oil mixture to melted Coconut/Palm Oil, pouring down the side of the container or a spatula to avoid introducing bubbles to mixture. Stir until completely clear.
Next, add Fragrance Oil and stir to incorporate.
Step 5 – Color Preparation
Add 2-3 times the amount of Olive Oil per colorant used to each bag of colorant.
Example: You are using ¾ tsp Cosmic Aurora Colorant, so add 1-1/2 – 2-1/4 tsp oil to that bag.
Using your hands, mix each bag thoroughly until no specks remain. Pay special attention to the white and purple bags as they are a little more difficult to incorporate.
Step 6 – Make Soap
If you want to gel your soap, which is recommended, now is a good time to turn on your heating pad (on high). If you are not familiar with the gel stage, it happens when heat builds up in your poured batter. It usually starts from the center and works its way out to the edges. It sometimes only partially goes through this stage causing an oval ring to be revealed when the soap is cut. There is nothing wrong with the soap, aesthetically it is just not as pleasing. To avoid partial gel, we usually go ahead and force it all the way through the gel stage.
When the temperatures of the Lye Solution and the Oil Solution are within 85°- 95° F, carefully (with safety gear still on) add Sodium Lactate to the Lye Solution and strain it into Oil Solution.
Next, weigh the mixing bowl with all the contents. Using the calculator subtract off the weight of bowl. Next, divide that number by 3. This will be the amount you pour into each pitcher.
Example: 2943 g – 1580 g = 1363 g /3 = 454 g
Make sure your mold, dividers, pitchers, swirling tool, and colorants are ready.
Before turning it on, insert stick blender at an angle to the bottom and shake it a bit to release any trapped air. Then, pulse until an emulsion has formed. This means that the mixture is just barely combined, but will not separate. It is important not to stick blend too long or it will thicken up too much; just give it a few pulses.
Stir mixture with a spatula and then split the batter into three parts using the number you figured above.
Next, cut a hole across the corner of one of the zipper bags and add the contents to one of the pitchers. Repeat with the other two colorants. Stir to incorporate completely.
Step 7 – Pour Batter
Add the Colored Batter to the mold, holding down the dividers while pouring.
Then, insert the swirling tool and swirl as shown below.
Clean up any batter that may have splattered on the sides of the mold.
Step 8 – Put Through Gel*
Next, set your mold on top of the heating pad. Then, cover it with plexiglass/cardboard and then cover and seal with plastic wrap. Next, insulate with blankets/towels. Set your timer for 30 minutes. When the timer rings, slide your hand up under the towels and feel the air. If the air is warm, turn off the heating pad. If it’s not warm, keep repeating in 30 minute increments until the air under the towels 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 (a white film on surface of soap). 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 lower percentage of water 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, it cures faster & lasts longer, the colors are often more brilliant, and it avoids partial gel.
Step 9 – Unmold and Cut Soap
After 48 hours, 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.)
Mark your soap as shown below and cut it into 9 vertical pieces.
Bevel remaining edges if desired.
Finally, allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks in a well-ventilated area and Enjoy!
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