I don’t remember when I first fell in love with the lavender/spruce scent combo, but it’s been a long standing favourite of mine for a while now. The woodsy, calming sweetness of lavender blends beautifully with the bright, fresh, camphoraceous notes of spruce and it’s just downright lovely. And, thanks to both of these essential oils being relatively inexpensive, they lend themselves quite well to soap making! This Lavender Spruce Soap is the second recipe in my lavender spruce series; it features lovely purple and green swirls in a creamy white base, and is wonderfully fun to make.
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We are working with this batter a bit on the warmer side to give us a runny enough batter to create intricate swirls. The weight of the batter and the pour is what creates these swirls, and you can’t do that with a thicker batter. In addition to working a touch warmer than room temperature I’ve also tweaked the fat makeup of the batter to help it stay runnier, longer. To do this I swapped my more usual shea butter for more olive—a harder oil for a softer oil—and reduced the amounts of the other hard oils in the soap (also… I have a ton of olive oil that I need to use up!). Because of this you will need to age these bars a bit longer than usual; try four to five weeks rather than three, and perhaps a bit longer if you live somewhere quite humid.
Once we’ve got our thinly traced batter we’ll divide it into three parts and use micas to create a white part, a purple part, and a green part. I used some pretty micas that Ivan over at Yellow Bee gifted me. He’s been working really hard to expand their mica offering, and he and his wife test all their micas in cold process soap so they can guarantee what they’ll look like after saponification (always a lovely thing to be sure of, especially if you’ve had a soap pull a chameleon on you before!).
I’ve included some white kaolin clay for the creamy goodness it brings. If you’d like you could also include a couple grams of hydrolyzed silk—it’s always a lovely addition to soap! I finished the bars off with some toothpick swirls using the remaining purple and green batter, but you could also leave it for a while so you can sculpt it a bit, or perhaps incorporate a dusting of mica or glitter, or some decorative lavender buds and spruce needles. There’s certainly no shortage of ways to decorate and play!
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Lavender Spruce Soap
Calculate to 5% superfat
Per 500g oils:
- 2 tbsp white kaolin clay (USA / Canada)
- 14g | 0.49oz lavender essential oil
- 16g | 0.56oz spruce essential oil
- Purple mica, pre-distributed in some extra olive oil
- Green mica, pre-distributed in some extra olive oil
- Titanium dioxide, pre-distributed in some extra olive oil
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 two containers with pouring spouts handy (I use these awesome funnel pitchers). Let your oils cool to slightly warmer than room temperature. Mix up your lye water and let that cool to about room temperature (you can use ice for part of your water to speed up the cooling process).
While everything is cooling, weigh out your essential oils, and measure out the clay. Whisk the pigments into a bit of extra olive until smooth; I used about 1/2 tsp of each purple and green, and 1/2 tsp of titanium dioxide.
Once the melted fats and lye water are just slightly warmer than room temperature, follow standard soap making procedure to bring them to trace. Once you have a relatively thin trace, blend in the essential oil and kaolin clay.
Now it’s time to divide up our batter! Pour about 25% of it into one small pitcher, 25% into another small pitcher, and leave the remaining 50% batter in the pot. Colour one 25% pitcher purple, the other 25% green, and add a bit of titanium dioxide to the 50%.
Pour a layer of the white batter on the bottom of your mould, followed by a couple lines of each purple and green. Repeat until you’re out of white batter. Drizzle any remaining purple and green over the surface of the soap, and use a toothpick to swirl the colours together a bit. It’s a good idea to watch the video to get a better idea of what I did.
Leave to saponify for 48–72 hours. Remove from the mould and slice, and then leave to age for at least four weeks before using or gifting. Enjoy!