I am thoroughly smitten with these pretty, seaside inspired low tide soap bars. With their dusty turquoise tone, deep green seaweed seam, and sparkling coarse salt topping, they’re just beautiful.
These soaps are scented using both essential oils and seaweed powder. The essential oils I chose are lavender, litsea cubeba, and cajeput. Lavender is soft and soothing, litsea cubeba is bright and citrussy, and cajeput is crisp, fresh, and clean. These three essential oils pair to create a warm, fresh, clear scent that is reminiscent of the seaside.
Seaweed powder contributes not only a dark green colour, but a strong seaweed scent. I’ve used a pretty small amount of it here to prevent it from being overwhelming, and instead add a base note that triggers memories of playing in tide pools on a hot summer day.
The final soap is not only pretty, but smells like summer at the seaside. It’s soft, bright, and fresh, with a hint of undeniably beachy seaweed. I think you’ll love it!
Low Tide Soap
25% olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada)
25% refined coconut oil (USA / Canada)
30% beef tallow or lard (why?)
15% unrefined shea butter (USA / Canada)
5% castor oil (USA / Canada)
Per 500g (1.1lb) oils:
- 15g lavender essential oil
- 10g litsea cubeba/may chang essential oil
- 5g cajeput essential oil
- 1 tbsp white kaolin clay (USA / Canada)
- Scant 1/64 tsp blue ultramarine (I use these tiny measuring spoons for tiny measurements like this)
- Scant 1/64 tsp black iron oxide
- 1/64 tsp green chromium oxide
- 1 tsp seaweed powder
- Coarse grain sea salt, for garnish
You’ll also need at least one additional bowl or pot to mix up the seaweed soap layer.
Use SoapCalc to calculate your final amounts of oils, lye, and water based on the size of batch you want to make. 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.
Follow my standard soap making instructions. Once you reach a medium trace, add the essential oils and clay. Bring the soap to a rather thick trace—it should be able to support its own weight, like pudding.
Remove approximately one quarter of the soap batter to another bowl. Stir in the seaweed powder and the green chromium oxide.
Stir the ultramarine blue and black iron oxide into the remaining 3/4 of the soap batter—you will want to use an immersion blender here to ensure a smooth colour. You’re aiming for a dusty sea green/blue colour—you may want to add a wee bit of green chromium oxide to this portion, too. See what you think and blend to preference.
Pour half the dusty blue soap into your mould. Spread the seaweed layer over top of the turquoise/green, taking care not to stir the two layers together. Top off with the rest of the dusty blue, gently pouring it down the center of the mould to get the dipped center layer effect I’ve got.
Dust with coarse sea salt, lightly pressing it into the soap to help it adhere.
Cover the mould and lightly insulate it. Let saponify for 24 hours before removing from the mould to slice. I recommend rotating the soap loaf onto its side so the salt layer is on the edge. That way, when you cut the soap your blade won’t drag salt crystals through your soap.
Beautiful! Do you always use lavender 40/42 or just whatever you happen to grab?
I use 40/42 for soap since it’s cheap, and save my others for non-soap projects 🙂 I have my doubts about the therapeutic benefits of essential oils surviving saponification, so why bother with the good stuff?
Ahh, I agree. I wondered that too. But we should count therapeutic aroma. And 40/42 does that.
Yes, they all do smell wonderful, don’t they? I’ve really been loving diffusing some lavender in my room as I go to sleep lately, it’s just divine 🙂
Thanks, Marie. I appreciate your authenticity and approach to dyi in this genre. I’m always pleased with your work.
Thanks so much, Vanessa 🙂
This recipe sound great! I still not get in the soap making boat.. but soon I will =D
This will be on my lists to do.. !
I was checking in the SoapCalc, and I got a question… What kind of Coconut Oil did you use, and what kind did you selected in the SoapCalc (76,92 degree or fractionated)
I usually use Extra Virgin Coconut (the one used for cooking) for my lotions or body butter.. Is it still the same for the soap?
Thanks in advance for the response!
Hi Cristina! The 76 & 92 have the same SAP value, so that doesn’t matter (only the iodine level changes). And yes, you can use EV coconut oil for soap, but I really wouldn’t recommend it since the price difference is massive—that’s like bathing in bottled water! The refined, non food grade stuff for soap is about $25/5L vs. $90/4L for the food grade stuff.
Ok.. Definitely a big difference in price.. And if is still the same results, I will add it to my next order to ND
And, as another plus… when you have 5L of it sitting around the soaping will never stop!
Hey Marie! Funny… Low Tide Soap…. Being originally from closer to the New Jersey shore, I’m sure “Low Tide” conjures up entirely different visuals and aroma memories than the pristine Northwest coast!! I should skip the sea salt, and top mine with brown mystery foam and a bandaid …but I digress
So here is my question… I do not have seaweed powder on hand. Now, I know I can order some and wait a few days, but in the American spirit of instant gratification, I had the idea of putting a sheet of roasted seaweed nori paper in the spice grinder… It ground up just fine, but I am wondering if the smell is similar to seaweed powder?
As always, you are awesome.
HA! I definitely got a giggle out of your rather putrid imagery lol 😛 MMmmm mystery foam…
I’ve found nori smells distinctly more… delicious… than seaweed powder. Seaweed powder smells more like seaweed in the sun at the seaside, and not like anything I’d ever want to eat haha. I’d think you could use nori instead of seaweed powder here, but I wouldn’t try it for a face mask. Let me know how it goes! (please don’t do the bandaid thing lol).
UPDATE: Soap is cured, and it’s a
nyet on the ground up nori. My soap had a white band with green speckles, and no seaweed smell. It is still a nice soap, though… as blunders go, this one was surely tolerable. 😉
Darn! It does sound like it turned out fairly well, though 🙂 You’ll have to report back with how the nori feels on the skin when you work your way through a bar.
Interesting! In Australia my bottle of cajeput oil from New Directions comes with a big POISON sign on it! I am very reluctant to use it! What do you think?
Hi Jane! As long as you don’t drink it you should be fine, and I wouldn’t put it in anything that goes near your mouth, like lip balm. Tea tree oil is also poisonous, and we happily put that on our skin 🙂
I love the idea of topping soap bars with salt! Not sure why I didn’t think of this. I can’t wait to give these bars a try.
Isn’t it pretty?! I definitely can’t claim the idea as my own, but I sure do love the effect 🙂 Have fun with your bars!
Hi, I was just wondering with your oils, you’ve used a different ratio to your all in one soap, how does this soap compare?
Hi Julia! Good eye 🙂 This bar is a tad harder with the extra tallow, which I’m quite enjoying. Otherwise, the feel, moisture, and lather and pretty much the same.
I love the creative seaweed seam in this soap. I plan to make these bars and was wondering whether you had a certain knack to getting the beautiful thin seam on the edges, or whether it was luck.
Also, do I have to add green oxide to make that seam so dark? I’m assuming the seaweed powder doesn’t colour it dark enough. I don’t have any oxides at all! Can I colour it with another powder I might have in the kitchen? I may have to invest in an assortment of different coloured oxides anyway…
Hi Birgit! I am sorry to report it was really just luck 😛 I was planning on it being an even seam, but I can’t seem to get that to happen, lol.
The green oxide in the seaweed layer doesn’t really make it any darker, it just helps it be a bit more green. The seaweed powder is actually very dark on its own, but not very green. You can definitely go without the oxide, though, it’s not at all necessary.
Sorry, I only just saw your answer now, Marie. I’m obviously not getting email notification even though I’m sure I ticked that box! I will observe this in the future.
I will try my luck with this soap – should be fun!!
How would you feel about tackling some transparent soap? I found a site that seems to make it appear manageable, but I don’t understand the language in part. They say things like “of actual soap mass” what ever that means. A friend is bringing me some cute ginger bread, and Christmas tree (small – guest size) molds of holiday design so I have soap gifts on the brain.
You have a much better way to explain things to my understanding, though I thought she did a lovely job with tips and such. I understand if it’s not something you think readers would be interested in though. I’m just forward enough to ask though.
Hi Mary! I’d love to try it, and it’s definitely on my list of projects 🙂 It is a looong list, though—I think I need a clone!
I gave this one a try today, hopefully when they are ready I will have a reminder of the summer on the beach this year! Thanks for the lovely recipe!
This might amuse you 🙂
So, I decided that despite the fact that I’ve been working 18 hour days and could really use a day off, I was going to do a marathon soap making stint this weekend. There are gifts to be made, after all.
I’m pretty new to all of this. Been making lotion bars, creams, deodorant – but not very much soap.
I decided to make this soap and the blizzard soap. While I was looking at the recipes, I decided to take a look at your masks. I haven’t used a mask in years, but I figured while I waited for the oils to cool, I could put on the English Rose mask.
So there I was, a jar of seaweed and a jar of French green clay. Can you see where this is going? Both jars new. Both look the same. Both from ND. Neither had been opened before tonight.
I made the mask first, before measuring out the seaweed for the soap.. Thought – hmm, that’s kind of tingly.
Then I got caught up in the soap making and realized I’d had the mask on for over half an hour and my face was feeling kind of hot.
Boy oh boy – there is not enough argan oil in my house to fix the fire on my face 🙂
That’ll teach me to try to do too much when I’m exhausted 😉
Ha! I have definitely done similar things before 😛 Usually by introducing new ingredients to the mask and discovering they are alllll kinds of painful LOL.
Do you by chance sale your soap? I would like to try it before I buy all the ingredients.
I don’t sell anything.
I love your site,especially the soap see sections. You are so very creative.
Like you, I am a Canadian and find it difficult to find soap making supplies. I used to buy most of them from the US, but with our lower dollar it’s hardly worth the investment.
Do you get your supplies in Canada and, if so, where? I am located an hour and a half outside of Vancouver. Thanks.
Keep up the good work.
Hey Shirley! Have you visited my Where to Buy Ingredients page? It’s got a gigantic list of places to shop around the world 🙂 Thanks for reading!
I’m dying to make this soaps but can’t find the oxides anywhere. I’m from México and shipping is really expensive. Any ideas?
Check out this post on colouring ideas for soap 🙂
Would love to try this recipe, but I don’t use Tallow in my soaps.
What is a good replacement for tallow?
I wrote an entire article on that here 🙂
I don’t get this at all. . .how did you pour this soap to get that beautiful effect??
The weight of the top layer poured down the centre is what thins out the dark middle layer, so just pour the top layer more or less down the centre of the mould to force the dark layer to thin out 🙂
I tried this lovely soap and it didn’t turn out well at all, mainly because I let the trace get too thick so it wasn’t pour-able.
I would LOVE to see a video on this. Any chance??
Err… maybe? I’m finding I’m not going back and re-making old soaps for videos because I don’t sell stuff, so then I have another 2lbs of a soap I already had 2lbs of, just for a video. I might try a similar technique, though, with a different recipe.
That would be great! Maybe without kelp 🙂 I had trouble getting that beautiful dusty blue – was too dark- and also with the dark layer getting the effect you got, which was so pretty. It has to do with the amount of trace of each layer, so I’d love to see you do it so I could see what “medium trace” means to you.
I’ll keep it in mind 🙂 I’m currently planning videos into January at this point!