Buttermilk, Honey & Oatmeal Soap

Buttermilk, Honey & Oatmeal Soap

This is a slightly more advanced soap recipe due to the inclusion of buttermilk and honey powder. These two ingredients are lovely to use in soap but are a little trickier to work with than most other soap additives such as clays or colour powders. If you are a first time soap maker I would suggest rather trying out  one of our other soap recipes as they are more beginner friendly!

In this batch of soap, we're incorporating a couple of star ingredients. Buttermilk contains lactic acid, and is wonderfully gentle and moisturising for skin; honey powder is also fabulous for skin and highly moisturising; oatmeal is gently cleansing and exfoliating. All combined, these ingredients make a lovely, gentle-on-the-skin, creamy soap bar.

Buttermilk and honey powder are both moisture loving, and contain lots of natural sugars. Because the lye solution gets very hot it has the potential to actually scorch these sugars. To prevent this from happening we use ice water instead of room temperature water, which keeps the lye reaction from getting too hot. 

Quantities to use in soap:

Buttermilk powder: approx 1 tablespoon per ½ cup water

Honey powder: approx 1 teaspoon per 500g oils

Usually I would have used my favourite shea butter and coconut oil soap recipe, but I actually only had a little coconut oil left so I had to make a different plan. But that’s the beauty of soap, you can pretty much chuck any oils in there and it will still work, with slightly differing end results. Here is what I decided to use:

380g ice cold water 

132g  lye

250g  almond oil

150g  refined coconut oil

450g  refined shea butter

100g  avo butter

50g  castor oil

3 tablespoons  buttermilk powder

2 teaspoons  honey powder

Optional but this is what I did: 2 tablespoon  oatmeal and 1 tablespoon pink or white  kaolin clay. Pink clay will yield a light pink tone to the soap. You could also add in 2 teaspoons each  white gold and  cerise micas, plus zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to strengthen the colour.

Fragrance: you can leave a fragrance out, otherwise try something like  rose essential oil for a gently sweet rose scented soap. Rose complements milk, honey and oats pretty well!

Equipment needed:

2 small beakers

Two bowls

Hand blender/stick blender

PPE: apron or lab coat, thick latex gloves,  goggles

Loaf mold or other mold of choice




First, prep your colours. Separate out 50g of the almond oil and divide it into two small beakers. If using, mix the gold mica and zinc/titanium with the oil in one beaker and the cerise plus zinc/titanium in the other and set aside. 

Mix the buttermilk and honey powders into the ice cold water until everything is dissolved and no lumps remain.

Weigh out and melt all the oils and butters together.

Mix the lye and the ice water solution together in a large bowl outside or in a very well ventilated area.

When your oil mixture and your lye solution have both reached room temperature (it is important that the two mixtures be relatively close in temperature), blend them together with the stick blender until a light trace is reached. 

You will now need to work quickly!

Divide the soap mixture into two bowls and blend the clay and oatmeal separately into each one. Add the micas if using. I used the gold and oatmeal together in one half of the batch and the clay and cerise in the other half. Alternate pouring each half batch into your mold and make swirls if you like or just keep it in layers. Leave the soap batter to set up until hard (usually 2-3 days) then unmold, cut into bars and leave to cure for 8 weeks.