How to Make Turquoise Hot Process Soap
Many soap makers avoid trying hot process soap because they think it might be too hard or that the rustic appearance of the soap won’t allow for a beautiful design or that it will take too long. In reality, hot process soap making is in many ways much more relaxed and forgiving than cold process. You don’t need to worry about temperature or controlling the trace of the batter, and there’s no need to worry about whether a fragrance accelerates or rices. As a bonus, you only need about half the amount of fragrance because the saponification reaction is complete, so hot process soap can save you money, too! As for the artistic merits of hot process soap, this tutorial embraces the rustic appearance of hot process soap by mimicking natural stone. And if you’ve avoided hot process soap because you think it takes too long, think again, because this soap cooks in under an hour. We use an easy shortcut to use the hot lye solution to melt the solid oils, too, so there’s no additional waiting for your oils to melt or your ingredients to cool. You can use the cooking time to prepare your colorants and fragrance. This recipe takes about as long as cold process soap from start to finish. This is truly a relaxed method of soap making and every stone soap is unique and beautiful, just like natural stone.
This palm-free recipe is made with two butters, lots of avocado oil and hemp oil which matches the vibe of the turquoise design. Sodium lactate and buttermilk are added at the end of the cook. Don’t eliminate these ingredients—they help keep your batter fluid and give you plenty of working time. You can easily make this recipe vegan by substituting coconut or soy yogurt.
Natural turquoise comes in a variety of colors. If you would like your soap to look more like Sleeping Beauty or Persian turquoise, add ½ tsp of Titanium Dioxide to your mixture of colors.
This method is easily adaptable to other minerals, as well. Choose stones that don’t have distinct, even banding like malachite or banded agate. Marble, lapis lazuli, granite, jadeite, nephrite, jasper, amazonite, and charoite are all excellent options. Spend some time looking at pictures of stones and let your creativity run free! You can also adapt this technique to your favorite recipe or mold size. This recipe uses 30% of the oils as water, not including the buttermilk added at the end. As long as you use a similar amount of liquid, you should achieve acceptable results. Need a little help calculating or resizing your recipe? Click Here to check out our video on using Soap Calc.
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Yield: 20 Bars, approximately 4 oz each
- Prep Time / Clean Up: 25 Minutes
- Perform Time: 1 Hour
- Total Time: 1 Hour, 25 Minutes
- Cure Time: 3-6 Weeks
- Digital Scale
- 6 qt Slow Cooker
- Funnel Pitcher
- Latex or Nitrile Gloves
- Small Sieve or Tea Strainer
- Silicone Spatula
- Pipettes (for Essential Oil)
- Paper Towels
- Small Glass Bowl or Cup
- Stick Blender
- Mini Cordless Mixer
- Measuring Spoons
- Small Paper Cups
- 5 lb Loaf Mold
- Wire Soap Cutter or Knife
- Bottle w/ Fine Mist Sprayer w/ 91% Isopropyl Alcohol
- 13.5 oz / 383 g Coconut Oil (25% of oils)
- 2.7 oz / 77 g Cocoa Butter (5% of oils)
- 5.4 oz / 153 g Mango Butter (10% of oils)
- 27 oz / 765 g Avocado Oil (plus extra for mixing colorants) (50% of oils)
- 2.7 oz / 77 g Grape Seed Oil or Other Liquid Oil (5% of oils)
- 2.7 oz / 28.3 g Castor Oil (5% of oils)
- 7.24 oz / 206 g Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) (8% superfat)
- 17.6 oz / 499 g Distilled or Deionized Water
- 4 oz / 113 g Buttermilk, Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, Kefir, or Plant Milk Yogurt, Any Fat Percentage (Unflavored)
- 0.3 oz / 8.5 g Sodium Lactate Crystals (or 0.5 oz Sodium Lactate 60% Liquid)
- 1 tsp Neon Blue Disco Pants Powder Pigment
- 2 tsp Hydrated Chromium Oxide Green
- 2 tsp Pearl Black Mica
- 1 oz / 28 g Spearmint Essential Oil
- 1 oz / 28 g Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Before starting this tutorial please make sure to read all instructions. Wear safety goggles, closed-toed shoes, long sleeves, long pants and gloves when working with lye or raw soap. Make sure there are no small children or pets in the room and that you are undistracted. Make your lye solution in a stainless steel or polypropylene container, such as a Funnel Pitcher. Do not use glass or another kind of plastic. Use caution when handling heated oils. Use disposable pipets when dispensing essential oils. Do not place undiluted essential oils in plastic ware. Carefully weigh all ingredients and gather your equipment before you start working.
Step 1 – Melt the Butters and Oils and Prepare the Lye Solution
Combine the solid oils and butters in your slow cooker. Turn the cooker on to high.
Add the lye to the distilled water in a funnel pitcher. Stir gently to dissolve with the silicone spatula.
Pour the hot lye solution onto the solid oils in the slow cooker. Gently stir. The heat of the lye will melt the oils.
Add the liquid oils.
Step 2 – Bring the Soap to Trace and Cook
Blend the oil mixture on high until medium trace. Cover and cook on high for 10-15 minutes.
Step 3 – Prepare the Other Ingredients
While the soap cooks, prepare the other ingredients. Combine the buttermilk and sodium lactate in a small cup. Stir to dissolve.
Measure each colorant into a paper cup. Set the Black Pearl Mica aside. Add approximately 1 tbsp avocado oil, or enough to cover, to the Hydrated Chromium Green Oxide and the Blue My Mind Neon Pigment. Mix with a mini mixer. Pour about 2/3 of the Hydrated Chromium Green Oxide into the Blue My Mind Neon Pigment cup. Mix together. (Note: the exact ratio of how you mix these is up to you! You get to decide how green or blue you like your turquoise to be.)
Step 4 – Finish Cooking the Soap
When the soap starts to look slightly translucent on the edges, it is ready to be stirred (after about 10 minutes of cooking time.) This particular recipe gets very hard at first, but do not be alarmed. Stir it the best you can.
Cover and cook, stirring every 10 minutes or so. After a few minutes, the soap will loosen up to an applesauce texture.
The soap is done when it has a slight translucence and is glossy, after 30-45 minutes total of cooking depending on the temperature of your slow cooker. (Note: If you want to cook your soap slower, turn your cooker to low power.) Do not worry about undercooking your soap. It’s better to stop the cooking a little too soon than to let the soap cook into an unworkable mass. You can remove your gloves, if you like. The soap is fully saponified.
Add the buttermilk mixture to the soap. Stir for one minute to combine and cool the soap. It should be creamy and easily stirred.
Add the essential oils. Mix well.
Step 5 – Color and Layer the Soap in the Mold
Add about 2/3 of the neon blue/hydrated chromium oxide green mixture. Mix the color into about ¾ of the soap. You can decide how thoroughly you want to mix your soap. If you would like more white patches, don’t mix quite as thoroughly. Add the remaining mixed color, if you like.
Add about ½ tsp of hydrated chromium green to an uncolored area of soap and mix. Fold and cut the colors together. Using different shades of green, blue, and turquoise will give your finished soaps a more natural appearance that mimics real stone.
Use a spatula to drop spoonfuls of soap into the mold. Place about ½ tsp of black pearl mica into a tea strainer. Lightly sprinkle a light, even mica over the blobs of soap in the mold. Try not to get too much black mica on the bottom of the mold.
Thoroughly spray the mica-covered areas with alcohol. This smooths out the mica and helps it work into the nooks and crannies of the soap.
Repeat the process with more spoonfuls of soap, Black Pearl Mica and alcohol spray. If you would like your stone to have a finer matrix appearance, use smaller spoonfuls of soap. If you want veins, add larger spoonfulls that go all the way across.
Another cool effect is to sprinkle about ½ tsp of mica in the soap in the cooker. Roughly cut the mica in using the edge of the spatula. Don’t stir it. This will give your soap an interesting mottled effect.
Press the remaining soap into the mold using the spatula. Use a bouncing motion to squeeze out any air pockets in the soap.
If you like, you can very lightly sprinkle the top of the soap with a bit of mica. Spray the top with isopropyl alcohol to spread out the mica. Bang the mold on the floor 3-4 times to knock out any remaining bubbles.
Step 6 – Cut and Polish the Bars
Cut your soap into bars of desired width using a wire cutter or knife. The bars may look a little rough at this point, but much like real stones, they will improve with a little cutting and polishing. Use a vegetable peeler to trim the edges from the soap.
Using a damp paper towel, polish each soap.
Occasionally, you may find a small hole in a soap. This is easy to fix. Take some of the soap peelings and patch the hole. Smooth it out with your finger and a damp paper towel.
While these soaps, are fully saponified, they will still be quite soft due to the large amount of water used in the recipe. Allow your soaps to cure for 3-6 weeks in a well-ventilated area to achieve harder bars with creamier lather.
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