Dead sea mud was one of the first DIY ingredients I ever bought. I mean, it just sounds so exotic and amazing, and it doesn’t hurt that the reviews rave about how it leaves skin firm and happy. It turns out, however, that there are only so many things you can add mud to, so two and a half years later I’ve still got a wee tub of it hanging out in my cupboard. It’s not that I don’t like it, I just haven’t found loads of uses for it. It smells a bit like the air just before it rains, and it’s a luxuriously thick mud—the sort of thing you’d be thrilled to play in as a kid. Anyhow, I am always game to try adding something to soap, so that’s where this experiment started.
The base is a variation on my all in one soap, with slightly more beef tallow and a bit less olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada). I let the oils and lye water come to room temperature overnight before combining them, so I had some time to work with the batch before it reached a thick trace.
At first I couldn’t figure out what to scent this soap with. I was thinking citrus, but that didn’t seem quite right. Then, as I was going through my essential oils cupboard, I came across my bottle of petitgrain essential oil, and I immediately knew that was it. Petitgrain essential oil is derived from the bitter orange tree—the same tree that gives us neroli essential oil. Petitgrain smells vaguely of citrus, yet it smells very dry. It’s hard to describe. It’s fresh and fruity, but not juicy. Something about it just begged to be paired with Dead Sea mud.
The first thing you’ll notice about the final bars is their weight. They’re heavy. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising considering they’re spiked with mud from a lake with extremely dense, saline seawater. They’re also a smooth, cool grey that lightens considerably in the first few weeks as the bars age.
The finished bars make for divine gifts. The luxurious, exotic appeal of the Dead Sea combined with a serious hit of minerals and some seriously lovely lather makes for a divine shower experience. And, legend has it drinking Dead Sea water means you’ll live forever, so perhaps an accidental mouthful of your bathwater will have unexpected benefits in 50 years or so 😉
Dead Sea Soap
25% olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
25% refined coconut oil (USA / Canada)
30% beef tallow
15% unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5% castor oil (USA / Canada)
Per 500g (1.1lbs) oils:
- 23g petitgrain essential oil
- 7g 5 fold orange essential oil
- 1 tbsp white kaolin clay (USA / Canada)
- 1–2 tbsp Dead Sea mud
- 2–3 tbsp coarse sea salt, as garnish
Use SoapCalc to calculate your final amounts of oils, lye, and water based on the size of batch you want to make.
Follow my standard soap making instructions. Once you reach a medium thick trace, blend in the clay and essential oils. You’ll want to ensure you’re using an immersion blender for this batch or you’ll end up with clods of mud and clay in your final product.
Add the mud slowly, blending away with the stick blender, until it’s nice and smooth.
Pour the soap into the mould and top with sea salt, lightly patting it down so it sticks. Cover and let saponify for 24 hours. Remove from the mould and slice the loaf into bars. I recommend rotating the loaf so the salt topping is on the side, otherwise your knife will drag salt crystals through your bars as you slice, which leaves funny looking little gutters/scars in the bars. Let cure for at least 3–4 weeks before using. Enjoy!
Those look – and sound as well – so sophisticated! I’ve never tried dead sea mud in any form, but I’m sure that is good for skin.
Don’t your oils harden at room temperature?
Nope—they might get a bit more viscous, but they don’t even come close to re-solidifying. Sometimes, in the dead of winter they might get thick enough that I’ll give them a quick 1 minute warm on the stove top just to get things moving a bit, but that’s it.
This looks terrific! I had heard that using dead sea salts in soap made them not work right for some reaosn – made them slimy or something. But it’s good to see that the mud works. I will give that a try after I place my next supply order. It seems like it would be a good helper for people with eczema.
Thanks, Jen! I hadn’t heard that about the salts—how interesting. I wonder why that would be? Let me know when you give the recipe a go!
Dead sea salt attracts water from air and this results in very wet, watery salt. This happens during warm weather, summer months. So adding the Dead sea salt to soap is not recommended, since they will sweat as glycerine soaps usually do during summer. You can use just regular sea salt without this effect.
I will make the Mud soap soon, thank you for the great post, Marie! Pics looks awesome!
But isn’t all salt humectant? That’s why it’s such a popular, ancient preservative. What makes dead sea salt so different? The mineral content shouldn’t effect it’s ability to attract water from the air that much. Innnnnteresting.
I made some digging and what I’m found: “We can’t make Dead Sea Salt soap however, the unique minerals in Dead Sea salt make the soap “weep” – it actually draws in the moisture from the air and makes it moist.” “It isn’t so much the “salt” that is the issue, it’s the minerals and types of salt in the mixture. Dead sea salt has 27% salts, compared to the 3% in ordinary sea water, but, where about 80% of sea water is sodium chloride, dead sea salts have just a small amount of the sodium chloride, and have more magnesium, potassium and calcium chlorides. From what I have garnered, these ingredients make it unsuitable for the soap. ” As I mentioned earlier, I think it will happen only during warm weather, when the humidity is higher than usual. You may get notice some droplets on top of your soar, since I see you sprinkled with DSS. Let us know if you notice it in a month or so.
Hmm, interesting. I wonder if that would happen here, given “high humidity” for us is about 35%. The salt on the top isn’t DSS, though, it’s just a coarse grain sea salt, so I won’t be finding out from these bars.
if you have any DDS you can try this – just place some in the bowl and let is sit for some time. Usually the dry at first salt will be sinking in slightly sticky liquid. But with low humidity level, it may be fine 🙂
If I ever get some more I shall 🙂
Marie, I would love to try adding this to my soap, but while shopping around, I am seeing some variations in product offerings. Would you mind letting us know what brand name/product you used, and/or giving us a sourcing recommendation? Thanks!
Hi Tammy! I ended up getting the Dead Sea Mud mineral mud from New Directions. It’s basically just the mud, but there is a small amount of preservative added. They legally have to add one as the product contains water, which is too bad, but you’ll find that no matter who your supplier is unless you go to the Dead Sea yourself, scoop some up, and take it home 🙂
I just made dead sea soap about a month ago (my first batch)….try adding it with PURE aloe, dead sea salt and tea tree….it makes for one of the silkiest smooth bars I’ve ever made! A few of my customers said they’d NEVER buy anything else….so I guess I’m going to have to make some more…i’m already done to the last bar!
OOoh, very cool! What’s the lather like? What oils did you use?
How do you change the % of oils to ounces and grams I can’t figure it out on the lye calculator?
If you use SoapCalc is has a “%” column—enter the numbers into that column 🙂 They also have a good guide on using the calculator here.
really getting into soap making now! I did try making some soap with salt on top, and i found that the salt draws moisture from the air and liquifies thus melting on the soap 🙁 not a good look.. what can I do to prevent this? has this happened to any of your salt – sprinkled soaps?
Hi Sarah! I prevent that by living somewhere super duper dry, which isn’t great for my skin, but the soap sure seems to like it :/ Have you thought about a de-humidifier?
Well, I finally got around to making this today!!! Figured I’d better get around to it before my New Year’s holiday is over and have to go back to the real world of not doing what I want to do instead!!!
I used; beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, castor oil, coconut oil and olive oil and about 4ish tablespoons into 800g of oils (figured I’d use the rest of the mud!!!) and 2tbsp of Bentonite Clay. My bars are hardening up nicely on the table.
Marie, thank you so much for the inspiration to try these out!!! I cannot wait to unmold them tomorrow and picture them!!! They look so pretty in the molds!!!
Awesome! Happy New Year 🙂 I look forward to hearing how the final bars are!
Got Around to using this bar the other day. It was the most amazing recipe ever. I used a fair bit of beeswax in mine, Shea, cocoa, coconut and olive oil. I used lots of Dead Sea mud and some bentonite clay for slip. Boy oh boy. This stuff has replaced everything.
Lots of bubbles, and with all the health benefits of Dead Sea mud… Makes showers all the more fun! Thanks for the inspiration!!!
It sounds like you really made it your own 🙂 Enjoy!
I use my own recipe and I use like 2 tbsp per pound of soap. I never read the usage rate of the mud. I used sweet orange eo 5 fold and it was heavenly, it had a clean scent, beautiful creamy lather, and felt so good on the skin.
I live in Israel and have Dead Sea Mud that was dug out of the see on a recent trip. Can I use this? The texture and color are very different from the one that’s in your picture. It’s less thick and more light grayish/green.Do you think that I can use this?
Also, can I use bentonite clay instead of kaolin?
Thanks in advance!
Hey Ayala! I don’t see why you couldn’t! You just might want to discount the water in the soap a bit, depending on how running your mud is, or let it age for longer 🙂 Watch this for the differences on bentonite and kaolin—they are never good alternatives for one another!
Hi! This is a beautiful recipe and I made it! This was my first handmade soap product and I didn’t have tallow or castor oil, so I made some substitutions. But next time I make it I will have the castor oil , it still had a nice lather but after researching the benefits of castor oil in soap I can only imagine how great the lather will be with it. Thank you for sharing your recipe. Also, I didn’t have a mold like yours so I used a round poster tube lined with parchment paper, then a week later I realized I still could have the dead sea salt as garnishment. So I melted some Shea and mixed it with honey, grabbed a new toothbrush and put my paste around it before rolling it in the salt. It is holding well and looks beautiful. My soap came out a pretty brown color, because of my yellow Shea and red palm oil. Again thanks for the recipe…. The soap is divine!
Hi Sheri! Welcome to the wonderful world of homemade soap 😀 It sounds like your bars turned out beautifully, well done! Do watch that shea/honey mixture for mould; I’m a bit concerned about it, especially if you live somewhere humid. Thanks so much for reading and soaping with me!
Hi Marie, wow! I didn’t think I would get a reply seeing as how I’m a few years late on this post lol. Please share with me your concern on the Shea and honey… I’m new and soaking up all of the information I can find! And also making another batch! I’m so in love with this recipe. I’m in So. Cal and we don’t get much humidity here. But I do have family in high humidity areas and don’t want to send them anything that might not hold up well!
Honey is a humectant, so it will attract water to it, and with water comes mould—that’s my concern 🙂 So keep an eye on it! It’s likely fine, but keeping an eye on things is never a bad idea 🙂 Happy soaping and thanks for reading! (there are no old posts—all comments end up in my reply-to queue regardless of the age of the post!)
Is there any way to use Dead Sea Clay instead of the Kaolin and Dead Sea mud?
Sure! It should be a simple swap—soap is pretty forgiving with add-ins 🙂
this looks great
Do you have a substitute for tallow that a can use? I don’t like using animal products. thank you!
Hey! You’ll find the answer to your question in my FAQ on my website at https://humblebeeandme.com/faq/ Happy making!