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October 15, 2019 4 min read

Natural Gifting: Clay Soaps

Handmade soaps are a favourite gift to give and are always useful. Now is the perfect time to whip up a batch of cold processed soap before the Christmas and holiday season, as there is plenty of time to let your soaps cure. But don’t delay too long - soaps need at least 6 weeks curing time for best results, and the longer the better. So let’s get soaping!


If you are new to soap making it can seem like a rather daunting project to tackle, but once you get the hang of it, it is remarkably easy and fun. Please have a look at Soap Making 101 and Soap Making Part 2 for how-to and tips.


We love soaping with clay as it creates beautiful, gentle bars that produce creamy lather and a soft cleansing action. The addition of clay seems to instantly make soap, which is actually quite a harsh alkaline, much gentler and creamier, which is ideal for sensitive skins. 


Typically, kaolin clay is most often used in soap making as it is gentle, fine, comes in neutral shades, and blends in well without leaving a grainy texture. But you can also use  bentonite clay, or even rhassoul clay. Bear in mind that  rhassoul clay has a reddish-brown colour and is grainy so your soap may turn out to be more of an exfoliating bar. Clay is usually added at a ratio of 1 teaspoon per 500g oils, but you can go up to 10 times that and end up with a super creamy, lovely bar. When adding larger amounts of clay, it is better to get the oils and lye mixtures down to room temperature to prevent the batter from getting too thick too fast. So play around with clay ratios and have fun with your soap!

The recipe below is calculated to 5% superfat and we will soap at room temperature to prevent thickening up too fast. It makes a lovely bar rich in good-for-the-skin oils plus some kaolin clay for cleansing and creamy bubbly action.

 

Orange & Clay Soap

250g olive oil

100g coconut oil

100g shea butter or cocoa butter

25g castor oil

25g flaxarganpomegranate or other nice moisturising oil for a deluxe touch

125g water

69g lye/ sodium hydroxide

15g white kaolin clay (feel free to use more)

15g orange essential oil or essential oils of choice

Any micas or natural colourants


Melt the oils together in your soaping pot (not to be used for cooking again), then let them cool to room temperature. Outside or in a well ventilated area and wearing protective gear, measure out the lye and water and add the lye to the water (never the other way around), stirring gently. Let that cool to room temperature.

Blend the white kaolin clay into the melted oils. Once that mixture is smooth, pour in the lye water and bring the batter to a thin trace by blending with a stick/immersion blender. Blend in the essential oil. If you are making multi-coloured soap, divide the batter into two to three parts and add in your micas or colourants. Pour into a mold(s) and swirl around with a utensil to create patterns. Leave in the molds to set for 72 hours before cutting, then slice up and remove from mold. Leave to dry out and saponify for 6-8 weeks - perfect timing for Christmas gifts!




This hemp soap is ultra gentle and can be left fragrance free if desired. The hemp oil may lend a pretty, slightly green tinge to the soap.


Gentle Hemp & Kaolin Soap


50g shea butter

150g cocoa butter

125g coconut oil

25g castor oil

85g hemp seed oil 

65g olive oil

70g lye/ sodium hydroxide

190g water

3 T white kaolin clay

½ tsp titanium dioxide, dispersed in 1 tsp of olive oil (optional if you want to make a two-toned soap)

1 T hemp hearts (optional for decoration)

15g essential oils (optional otherwise leave fragrance free)

Melt the oils together in your soaping pot, then let them cool to room temperature. Outside or in a well ventilated area and wearing protective gear, measure out the lye and water and add the lye to the water (never the other way around), stirring gently. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Pour the lye water into the oils and bring the batter to a light trace by blending with a stick/immersion blender. Blend in the clay and any essential oil if using. If you are making multi-coloured soap, scoop out ¼ of the mixture and add the titanium dioxide and oil mixture and blend. Pour the mixture, alternating colours, into molds and leave to set for 72 hours before cutting, then slice up and remove from mold. Leave to dry out and saponify for 6-8 weeks

 

 

Here is a recipe for a simple olive oil soap with a twist - an exfoliating bar containing exotic rhassoul clay.

Exfoliating Rhassoul Clay Soap

125g  coconut oil

125g cocoa butter or shea butter

225g  olive oil

25g  castor oil

190g water

70g  lye/ sodium hydroxide

10g  white kaolin clay

15g  rhassoul clay (add more if you want more exfoliation)

Essential oil(s) of choice (optional)

Melt the oils together in your soaping pot, then let them cool to room temperature. Blend the clays into the oils until smooth. Outside or in a well ventilated area and wearing protective gear, measure out the lye and water and add the lye to the water (never the other way around), stirring gently. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Pour the lye water into the oils and bring the batter to a light trace by blending with a stick/immersion blender. Blend in any essential oil if using. Pour the mixture into molds and leave to set for 72 hours before cutting, then slice up and remove from mold. Leave to dry out and saponify for 6-8 weeks.

 

We hope this inspires you to go and create your own soap gifts - they're a hit!


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