Today we’re swirling up some luxurious bars of Argan Rose Soap, made with vitamin-rich argan oil and dusty pink Australian clay. Crimson rose buds and rustic Himilayan pink salt stud the top of the bar, and a rich pink swirl dances through the middle of the bars. These bars are part of our ongoing Argan Rose theme, so if you’re looking to create a themed gift basket you’re in luck!
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The fat blend for this soap is mostly inexpensive but lovely olive oil, bubbly coconut oil, and hardening tallow. A small amount of castor oil serves to really amp up the lather, and a small amount of argan oil adds that luxury touch. The inclusion of argan oil is definitely an indulgence—pouring 75g of argan oil into my soaping pot definitely got my heart rate up! can’t say I notice a huge difference in the final bar of soap with 5% argan oil vs. an extra 5% olive oil, so you could easily use more olive oil instead of the argan oil if you’re looking to keep costs down.
Aesthetically, I decided I wanted to keep things pink and white—simple and elegant, with good contrast. The bulk of the base is white thanks to the inclusion of some titanium dioxide. I used a water discount to prevent glycerin rivers (thanks, Auntie Clara!), but that does mean the batter gets quite thick quite fast, so there’s no time for anything too fancy. I initially thought I might get the swirl effect I wanted from the pour alone, but by pouring time the batter was too thick for that, necessitating a hanger swirl.
I used some Australian pink clay to create a pink swirly layer in the centre of the bars. You could definitely use a high-pH stable pink mica instead—I mostly chose the clay because I have a lot of it and don’t use it often. A beefy, long Nite Ize gear tie was my tool of choice to swirl the pink and white layers together a wee bit—when choosing a swirling tool you’ll want something with some girth to it so it’ll have enough drag to mix things together, so while it’s called a hanger swirl, a plain ol’ wire hanger isn’t going to create enough drag to make a noticeable swirl.
These bars are unscented, but you could easily incorporate a fragrance or essential oil if you wanted to. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s not going to accelerate trace—this batter already thickens up pretty quickly, and we don’t need to speed that up! If you are eyeing up a fragrance oil you haven’t soaped with before I recommend reading reviews on it—whether or not a fragrance accelerates trace or causes other issues is usually a pretty popular thing to cover in a review.
The top of the bars are mostly divided in two, with a mohawk down the center. One side is swooped up with a fork and the other with a spatula for some texture and subtle contrast. I studded the centre seam/mohawk with dried rosebuds and a concentrated sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt. I recommend using a ruler to space out the rosebuds so they’re positioned in the centre of each bar once the loaf is cut. I didn’t do that (whoops) and ended up cutting the bars somewhat awkwardly to avoid cutting through any of the rosebuds. It’s not the end of the world, but the bars aren’t evenly sized.
Thanks to the water discount these bars happen pretty fast—fast trace, fast thickening, and fast saponification. Don’t leave this one in the mould too long; I sliced this loaf right around the 24-hour mark and it was plenty firm by then—I’d bet I easily could’ve sliced around the 20-hour mark, so don’t make these before going out of town for a long weekend! The water discount also means these bars age up pretty fast—three weeks should be more than enough in most climates—making them a good bar if you need more soap ASAP.
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Argan Rose Soap
Per 500g fats:
- 2g (0.07oz) titanium dioxide
To colour & decorate (all as needed):
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 (click that link if you aren’t!).
Prepare your mould—you’ll want a loaf mould for this soap. Melt your oils together in your soaping pot, and have one container with a pouring spout handy (I use these awesome funnel pitchers). Let your oils cool to room temperature. Mix up your lye water and let that cool to about room temperature as well (you can use ice for part of your water to speed up the cooling process).
Lay out your work area so you can easily grab your titanium dioxide and clay. Prepare your mould by lining it, if required.
Now you’re ready to get started! Begin by blending the titanium dioxide into the fats. Once that mixture is smooth, add the lye water and bring to a thin trace. Pour approximately 1/5 of the batter into the pour spout container.
Using the pink clay, colour the small portion of the batter pink.
Now it’s time to pour the soap! Start with half of the white batter, then the pink, and then the rest of the white. Up next is the hanger swirl—I used a Nite Ize gear tie as my swirling tool. I did a plunge-and-loop-the-loop swirl, and then used my spatula and a fork to sculpt the top into some subtle foldy goodness. Definitely watch the video to get a better idea of what I did, as it’s hard to make it clear with words alone! I decorated the “mohawk” down the center with rose buds and pink Himalayan salt; I’d recommend using a ruler to space out the rose buds so they’ll fall in the centre of each bar when the loaf is cut… I didn’t do that and ended up cutting the bars somewhat awkwardly so I didn’t cut through any of the rose buds. It’s not the end of the world, but the bars are not evenly sized.
Leave the soap to set up for about 20–24 hours before slicing (no longer!) and leaving to age for at least three to four weeks before using. Enjoy!