These bright, colourful Citrus Summer Punch Swirl Soap bars are perfect for summer. They smell like fresh, juicy grapefruit and they’re basically a swirly chunk of beautiful sunny weather in sudsible form. This soap recipe is also the first soap recipe I’ve made a video of, so now you can choose between reading it and watching it (or do both)! What a time to be alive 😉
Want to watch this recipe instead of read it?
This soap mostly came about because Ivan over at Yellow Bee sent me a rainbow sampler of their new micas, and I wanted to make something bright and fun. Looking at a selection of bright pinks and yellow, citrus seemed like an obvious scent choice. I chose grapefruit, and added some litsea cubeba to help anchor it.
I used three micas for this blend, and one of them (the Scarlet Red, which is hot pink pre-saponification) includes Red Lake 28, a pigment that is synthesized from petroleum products. All powdered pigments we use are synthesized (including iron oxides), but while iron oxides occur in nature, lake dyes don’t. The EWG gives Red 28 a pretty good safety rating (1/10, whereas the iron oxides get a 2/10), so I’m not too fussed about using a bit of it in a soap, where it’s heavily diluted and washed off. The yellow and pink micas I used get all their colour from titanium dioxide and iron oxides. You are certainly free to choose a different mica to swap out for the Scarlet Red, but you will end up with a different colour in your final product.
I soaped this batch at room temperature, which many of you have asked to see in a video, and now you can! I’d definitely recommend this approach with so many layers and so much general fussing; it’ll give you a lot more time to work.
Without further ado, let’s dive in! Watch or read (it’s your call)—let’s make some soap!
Want to watch this recipe instead of read it?
Citrus Summer Punch Swirl Soap
Calculate to a 5% superfat
Per 500g (1.1lbs) fats:
- 3/4 tsp silk peptides, powder, or amino acids (need an alternative?)
- 3 tbsp white kaolin clay
- 20g grapefruit essential oil (pink or white)
- 10g litsea cubeba/may chang essential oil
- 1/2 tsp colonel mustard (yellow) mica
- 1/2 tsp scarlet red (red) mica
- 1/2 tsp cherry blossom (pink) mica
Kick things off by calculating out your recipe for the amount of soap you’re making to get the finite amounts of the fats, lye, and water. Unsure about how to use SoapCalc? I made a video to walk you through it! Please ensure you’re familiar with standard soap making procedure before diving in.
You’ll also want to prepare your mould, measure out all your additives into small bowls so they’re ready when you need them, and add up the weights of the water, lye, and fats to get the total weight of your batch. Divide that number by 4 and write it down for later—we’ll be dividing the batter into four parts by weight, and colouring each part differently.
Since we’re doing so many different colours for the swirls, I’d really recommend soaping this batch at room temperature. To do this, gently melt the tallow and shea butter in your soaping pot (since those two fats have the highest melting points), and once they have just melted, remove them from the heat and stir in the olive oil, castor oil, and coconut oil. The residual heat from melting the tallow and shea with melt the coconut oil, and the added room temperature oils will help bring down the temperature of the melted oils. You can use a potato masher to break up the coconut oil to help it melt faster; if you’ve just barely melted the tallow and shea it will need some encouragement. When you’re done you should have a pot of liquid oils that feel only just a wee bit warm/room temperature to the touch.
Add your still-hot lye water to this mixture of melted and mostly room temperature oils and brought that to trace, stirring and intermittently blending the mixture with your immersion blender. Once you reach a relatively light trace, blend in the clay and essential oils, and now it’s time for colouring and swirling!
Using your scale and that number you wrote down earlier (the 1/4 batch weight number), divide your soap into four parts into four smaller bowls. Add one mica to each part, leaving one uncoloured. Blend the mica into each part thoroughly, using your immersion blender. I recommend doing the pink and red parts first, and then washing the blender off to do the yellow part.
Scrape the coloured portions back into your big soaping pot, creating four quarters with the four colours, with the yellow/uncoloured and pink/red batters opposite one another (watch the video to see what I mean). Gently swirl the pot with about five strokes of your spatula before gently pouring the soap into your mould.
Cover and let the soap saponify for at least 24 hours before slicing. Once sliced, let it age for at least three weeks before using. Enjoy your Citrus Summer Punch Swirl Soap!
Don’t have the micas called for in this recipe? You have two options: the first is to use similar micas from a different supplier. As long as one is pink, one is red, and one is yellow, you’ll get a very similar effect! Otherwise, you can use iron oxides for a slightly duller final effect; red iron oxide instead of Scarlet Red, a blend of red iron oxide and titanium dioxide for Cherry Blossom, and yellow iron oxide instead of Colonel Mustard. I’d use about a quarter of the called for amount of mica as oxides are quite a bit more potent, but work up to it and see what you think.