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 project 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 project instead of read it?
Citrus Summer Punch Swirl Soap
15% unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
35% beef tallow or lard (why?)
25% refined coconut oil (USA / Canada)
5% castor oil (USA / Canada)
8% rice bran oil
12% soya bean oil or olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
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 white kaolin clay (USA / Canada)
- 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 beef tallow and unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada) 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 (pomace) (USA / Canada), castor oil (USA / Canada), and coconut oil. The residual heat from melting the beef 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 beef 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.
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
I notice you don’t have any protective gear whilst making soap. I attended soap making class but I’m a bit too paranoid about safety to try it at home so how safe/unsafe is it? You’re stirring lye without gloves on!
i also dont use any gear. i just the protective gear on my first batch and then it seemed to annoying for me.
i mix the liquid and the lye on the ground, sitting, so that just my arm is above the pot that i use, so that i cant get the lye liquid in my eyes or breath in the fumes. plus i do it outside in the yard, cause it smells. if you can do that outside do it at the open window. also i would chose a pot, or a glass container thats quite high so that its less likely to spill anything.
When its mixed together with the oils there is not much that can happen, i had the fresh soap (i dont know what else to call it) on my skin and on an open wound to, it burns a bit, and if its too long on the bare skin you get a chemical burn, which for me was like if you put your finger on a hot pot while cooking. I simply remove it with a kleenex or something and wash it of with water.
im not super experienced yet, but im making soaps since 4 months and im probably at or over my twentieth batch.
i dont know anything about longterm exposal to lye though..
Thanks, Marina! From my reading there are no long-term exposure concerns with lye, though a reader did get in touch to say she developed a sensitivity/allergy to it after years of exposure (I don’t think that’s terribly common, though, since I’ve only heard about it once).
Eye protection is always a good idea, but after years of making soap, I’ve decided for myself that I’m not that fussed about gloves; they lessen my grip, and in reality, that concentrated lye water is not much different from a pot of boiling water. YES, it can do major damage if you stick your hand in it… so don’t! That’s obviously my decision for me, but lots of people on the video I made (you said you saw it while it was up) said that they’ve also ditched the gloves after a few years of experience. Eh. It seems to be extremely taboo to say anything other than “wear a hazmat suit while making soap” in the soaping community, and I’m certainly not trying to advocate being careless—just careful!
Great video. I finally know how to colour the soap. I’m gonna try that when I get the colorant.
I’m just curious that if you separate tools fm cooking?
Hey May! I have a separate pot and lye jug, but pretty much everything else (bowls, spatulas, etc.) gets dual kitchen use. The pot could get kitchen use as well, honestly, it’s just that it’s always been my “soaping pot” and it lives in the basement, so I don’t use it in the kitchen (I already have a kitchen pot that’s the same size). Just make sure you clean everything thoroughly between uses and it’s fine 🙂
Thanks so much for the video in answer to my question re: safety. There’s often so much conflicting information about a range of different subjects but yours is the place I feel is reliable.
So I may finally launch into soap making!
Thanks, Jo! I ended up pulling it due to some unsavory personal attacks, but I wrote out the gist of it here instead 🙂
Hi Marie! Loved your video! (as all your other videos but was really looking forward to a soap one! 🙂 ) but I am a bit confussed about the room temperature soaping. From your cinnamon swirl soap I got that your “lazy” room temp process meant warming the oils and prepping the lye water and letting both cool down to room temperature with time (which is what I tried in my last soaping batch and thought was so cool and comfortable to do!). But in the video you mention the lye water is still quite hot. Can you comment on the difference between the two? would that give you less working time once you reach trace to add the colorants? Thanks!!
Hey Eva! These are two different room temperature methods… I suppose it would be useful if I’d come up with a different name for one of them haha. This method (hot lye water into the oils) will probably have a bit less working time than the 100% room temperature method, but it is much faster to pull everything together and you don’t have to leave a pail of concentrated lye water sitting around for ages (and that’s the most dangerous bit of soaping—the lye solution when it’s that concentrated). If you were doing something very complex you might prefer the 100% room temp way, but as you can see I was able to get reasonably fussy with this method without too much trouble 😉
By the way…forgot to mention: I absolutely loved your video on soaping safety! I have made few batches but from all I have read I was crazy scared to work with lye and I goggle up, sleeve down, use gloves and even a mask! Good to have some perspective into how dangerous it truly is (specially since I am a chef and have burned and cut myself countless times but feared lye as if it would melt my skin on contact!)! Thanks for sharing your view on the subject! I will still be careful but I think it is important to know what you are truly dealing with and not be scared of it which certainly makes you more uncomfortable and nervous when soaping…thus more prone to make mistakes!
Thanks, Eva! I ended up pulling the video due to some unsavory personal attacks, but I wrote out the gist of it here instead 🙂 I stand my position… I just don’t care to endure a bunch of internet abuse for it 😛
Loved the video! I’ve seen hundreds of soap videos and liked yours the best! So detailed and easy. Loved your tecnique too.
Just one question, do you use your spatulas and bowls for cooking after you’ve made soap on them?
Some yes, some no. Definitely no for the lye jug, but the spatulas get dual use after a run through the dishwasher 🙂
Just read my answer above. Thanks for the video 🙂
Such a happy soap this is! So, so pretty.
Marie very pretty soap .. I love color combo.
I love the colors that you picked. They work so well together and look so great! I learned how to use the melt and pour method in this infographic https://gospaces.com/blog/how-to-make-soap-recipes-infographic and was looking for other colors to do. These are so pretty!
Thanks, Amanda! Happy making 🙂
I’m interested in your lye-oil method. I know it has already been asked and answered but I just want to write it back to you to be sure i have this correct. So rather than getting the oils and lye to both be around 110 degrees (a real pain in the neck, btw), you do one of two things. . .either you let the oils come to room temp (or slightly warmer) and then add the lye (which will still bequite warm at that point OR you let both sit around a long time until they both come to room temperature and then ix. Is this right????
Yes, that is exactly it 🙂
Can I just ask one more thing about the above? How did you learn about this technique and why (if this works alright) would we ever use anything else? All these years of that endless fussing with similar temps. This is a dream. I just can’t understand why did anything else if this works. Can you enlighten/reassure me?
Could be a life-saver!!! Think of what you could get done if you cut this “waiting” step out!!!!!
I think the first one (let it settle) was just a happy accident, the quick combine was a reader. I have no idea why we ever do anything else, it’s a huge pain!
oh and jut one more, i promise. . .can this same technique be used when making goat milk soap?
No—you’d scorch the goats milk. You’d need to modify the bit where you add the lye to the goats milk so you don’t scorch it, but after that you can continue with everything at room temperature.
ok maybe not. . .i know you said it somewhere but i can’t find it. where do you purchase the great spatulas?
Check out this post 🙂
you mean mix the lye with goat milk ice cubes (for example), then let everything come to room temp.
thank you for the answers to all these questions. i just placed an order through the site with amazon!
Yes, exactly that! And thanks for the commission 😉 Happy soaping!
Hi! I know this is an older post, but I’m just getting around to making it….trying to hang on to a bit of summer! I just want to doublecheck one item, the quantity of kaolin clay you specify. It seems like quite a lot and I’m wondering if this turns out to be a scrubby sort of soap? Thank! Love receiving your newsletter!
Yup, it’s correct 🙂 You can watch the video to see me add that much. It’s not scrubby at all (kaolin is a fine, silky clay), it’s just extra creamy!
Hi Marie, I have just watched your video and the soap looks gorgeous. I am definitely going to try something similar for this summer (or spring lol) Do you only soap the cold process way, or do yyou use hot process sometimes? If so, which do you prefer? Have you ever soaped with a crockpot? I really want to try, but I’m worried it might pour over the top If you have tried it (or the normal hot process) would you consider making a video for us please? Hope you enjoyed London We had some snow here in the south east last week, so you were lucky to miss that That was probably the last thing you would have wanted to see. Thank you for the recipes and great ideas, I look forward to your newsletters to see what you are up to. Take care.x
Hey Pauline! I’ve only hot processed a handful of times (out of necessity—liquid soap or soaps with a high percentage of stearic acid), and I really don’t like it. I don’t like how much time I have to spend over a hot crock pot, I hate all the mashing, and I think finished CP bars look so much nicer. So, long story short, I am no HP expert and I like it that way!
London was lovely! We had some great days of clear, bright, sort-of-warm weather that were perfect for exploring 🙂
Hello Marie! I recently followed a recipe to the “t” which I think now was a mistake (I believe it was somewhat abbreviated). Recipe included olive, coconut, castor oils, shae butter and callendula blooms. In my crock pot, cooked oils, butter and lye to thin trace then added blooms and essential oils and cooked 5 more minutes to medium trace. Recipe then called to place in mold. I did, then thought it didn’t make sense not to cook it much longer. But I went with it. Wrapped it (although it had already cooled off ALOT before realizing it needed done). After 24 hours, I cut it and now it’s curing but I wonder if it will be usable with no more cooking. Or will I have a gloppy mess. At this point, it looks okay.
Also, I dearly love making simple coconut soap. I never see this soap dressed up and wondered why. I add lavender buds but would love to use more additives. Is there a reason that I shouldn’t be doing that and experimenting? Thanks for your time, Terri
Hey Terri! I’m really no hot process soap maker, so I can’t give any advice on the batch you made or the recipe you followed. I hope it worked out!
You can dress up your coconut soap or not, it’s entirely up to you! The only rules in soap making formulations are ensuring your lye and fats are properly calculated 🙂
I am fairly new to your site and find your how to video/s very informative and “real” for lack of a better word. I like that you make a bar with out fancy cutting tools, etc.. Thank you so much for your passion in creating and time in sharing. I wish I lived closer so that I might be able to take your classes (if available.) There is only one school in my area and it is quite limited.
Thanks so much, Tonya! I do try to keep things as accessible as possible… it can be hard with ingredients but you won’t find me using a $5000 emulsion blender any time soon! Happy making, and maybe I’ll see you in a class one day—I could travel and teach, who knows! 😀
I’m quite late to this post. I found it through someone on Pinterest today, but I see that you answered someone just this past January, so thought I’d share a few things. I’ve been making CP soap approximately 6 years. I did read your take on why you don’t use protective gear. But, unfortunately, I’ve gone backwards, and this is why. About six months ago I was trying to put some clunky lye through a sieve and apparently a chunk came up and attached to my face about 1/2 inch beside my mouth. I felt a little sting there, but didn’t think much about it–focused on the soap presumably, I had continued on to completion of a large batch. Our back porch has been enclosed and I soap out there–no mirrors over the sink. After I was done at some point I was in the bathroom inside my house, washing my hands where there is a mirror over the sink, and there was a black spot about a half inch in size beside my mouth. I was totally shocked. I washed it right off, but it did not change. I kept it covered with antibiotic ointment and bandaids. By then it was quite painful. So embarrassed and stupid. There is a little barely noticed scar there now. But it sure scared me. Now I use a face shield, as my eye glasses were not enough protection for me. I’ve learned we need to recognize our peculiarlarities (weaknesses?). I’ve thought it through and through. I tend to rush when I don’t know I’m rushing, even when I try to be slow and calm, I seem to have one speed that I have difficulty controlling. I try to save everything, sometimes I need to recognize it has to be thrown away and maybe I even need to find a better lye supplier. I get distracted easily, but somehow I get hyper focused on the making of the soap and do not clue in on discomfort, apparently. This one is hard to figure out. But I plan to be very selective when to soap–when no one else is around and there is the least chance of outside distractions. When there is adequate time. And only when I have the recipe written out and there is a B and C plan in place for acceleration. It is just a pipe dream that I would ever be as collected and calm and coordinated as you. But I’ll continue to enjoy watching you.
Thanks so much for sharing, Judy! Your story definitely highlights the importance of extreme care when working with lye and the importance of knowing yourself. Your observations on the desire to save everything and being hyper-focussed is an excellent one and a great thing to be aware of. I definitely only soap when my dog is in daycare or in her crate these days as I need to have that worry completely off the table while I’m working.
Hi Mari, really sorry, not sure if I read this somewhere already but can rice bran be replaced with olive oil? I know soybean can, and wasn’t sure if the same applied to rice bran, thanks (btw, I love this so much, it’s not hard but the effect is amazing!)
For sure, just make sure you re-calculate the recipe with that change 🙂 Happy soaping!