How to Make Rosemary & Mint Ombré Cold Process Soap
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Yield: 10 Bars
- Prep Time / Clean Up: 30 Minutes
- Perform Time: 2 Hours
- Total Time: 2 Hours 30 Minutes (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 (Optional) or Small Wire Whisk
- 2 Quart Glass Mixing Bowl or Microwavable Plastic Bowl
- 2 x Funnel Pitchers
- Small Containers (for holding ingredients)
- Measuring Spoons
- Fine Mesh Strainer (Stainless Steel)
- Paper Towels
- 10” Silicone Loaf Mold
- Books or Blocks to prop up the mold (3 varying highs up to 1”)
- Heating Pad (Optional)
- Timer (Optional)
- Cardboard Box That Fits over Mold (Optional)
- Vegetable Peeler (Optional)
- 12.2 oz Olive Oil (37%)
- 9.9 oz Lard (30%)
- 8.3 oz Coconut Oil (25%)
- 1.7 oz Avocado Oil (5%)
- 1.0 oz Castor Oil (5%)
- 2.0 oz. Rosemary Mint Fragrance Oil or other slow moving fragrance or essential oil (0.7 oz. PPS)
- 10 ml Grass Green Liquid Colorant
- 8.3 oz. Cold Distilled Water (25% Water as a percent of oil weight)
- 2 teaspoons Confectioners (Powdered) Sugar
- 2 teaspoons Sodium Lactate (1 teaspoon per pound of oils) (Optional) (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 before adding the lye. For this recipe use a scant 1/4 teaspoon.
- 4.6 oz Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) (6% Super Fat/Lye discount)
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.
Now put on your long sleeves, long pants, shoes, safety goggles, and gloves. Work in a well ventilated area that is free from distractions.
Step 1 – Measure All Ingredients
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 and lard into the large mixing bowl. Measure sodium hydroxide last.
Step 2 – Make Lye Solution
Add sugar to distilled water and dissolve. Using our Mini Cordless Mixer will make quick work of it or a whisk will do the job also. (The reason sugar is used in this recipe is that it helps to avoid acceleration. The batter needs to stay fluid because after every pour, you will be stirring in more liquid colorant. Stirring causes acceleration and sugar counteracts it a bit. Another added bonus of sugar is that it increases lather.)
Sprinkle approximately half of the sodium hydroxide into the cold sugar/water and 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.”) Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a safe place to cool.
Step 3 – Make Oil Solution
Melt lard and coconut oil in 30 second bursts until completely melted.
Next, add the liquid batch oils (olive oil, avocado oil, and castor oil) to the melted lard and coconut oil. Stir until completely transparent. Microwave in 30 second bursts if needed.
Quick Tip: Pour ingredients down the side of the bowl or down a spatula to avoid adding air bubbles to the mixture.
Next, add fragrance oil to batch oils.
Step 4 – Make Soap
If you are forcing your soap through gel, now would be a good time to preheat the 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 into the other funnel pitcher and add the sodium lactate. Use paper towels to wipe strainer and empty pitcher and dispose of paper towels.
Next, pour the strained lye solution into the batch oils, pouring down the side of the container. 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 in short bursts until emulsion is reached (Emulsion is reached when the oils and the lye water no longer are separated.) If you are not sure if your mixture is emulsified, use a spatula instead of the stick blender and stir a bit longer to make sure that your mixture will remain combined.
Step 5 – Prepare Mold
Set your mold in front of you so that the long part of the mold is on the left and right. If you are right handed, prop up the left side of your mold with something about an inch thick. (I used 3 blocks that add up to one inch.) You will pour down the length of the right side of the mold.
Step 6 – Pour the Batter
Pour one line of batter down the side of the mold.
See Below: For the soap on the top left, 2 drops of liquid colorant were used per pour. For the soap on the bottom right, 4 drops of liquid colorant were used per pour. Decide which one you like best, or perhaps you would like 3 or 5 drops. Just keep in mind that liquid colorant bleeds, so if you use too much it could discolor whatever it touches.
Next, add 2-5 drops of liquid colorant and stir to incorporate. Next, pour another line. Keep adding 2-5 drops of colorant and pouring a line in the same manner until the batter is all in the mold. (As your batter begins to fill the mold, you will need to lower the prop. Make sure and have something shorter ready to use when you need it.)
Once the batter is poured bang mold on counter to release any trapped air.
Step 7 – 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 all the way through gel. Other benefits of forcing soap through gel is 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 8 – 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 your soap.)
Mark your soap top and cut it into 10 pieces. (I planed the top of this soap before cutting.)
You can wait a day and bevel the edges with a vegetable peeler if desired. Finally, allow them to cure for 4-6 weeks and Enjoy!
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