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March 2016 Soap of the Month

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March 2016 Soap of the Month




Rosemary Mint Coconut Castile

Experience Level: Beginner to Moderate


To start off our Soap of the Month Series I am making a castile variation or bastile soap. Since spring is right around the corner I thought a nice fresh pink and green herbal mint soap would fit the bill. So here goes.


Since this is a beginner to moderate level recipe I am putting in as thorough instructions as I can so a beginner or novice can easily make this soap.


I prefer to use a water discount with castile soap so it will harden up faster and be easier to unmold the next day. If you use full water you may need to unmold later and cut when it gets hard enough. Usually after a few days to a week.


For this soap I used soapcalc as my calculator and used a 5% superfat with a lye concentration of approximately 33%. I rounded the liquid up to the nearest full ounce. To fit my mold I am using 56oz of oils. I left the oil % amounts in the recipe so you can adjust to your own mold. Just be sure to run the figures through your favorite lye calculator to adjust the lye and liquid amounts. I split the liquid in half so half is aloe vera juice and the other half coconut milk. I did this because I like the combination of a creamy lather and soothing feel of an aloe soap.


This is a very mild, gentle moisturizing soap and is excellent for all skin types including sensitive skin. If you have allergies to any of the ingredients this recipe is flexible enough to omit or sub out an oil or additive. For example Hi Oleic Sunflower Oil is a good sub for Olive Oil.


I rarely use a thermometer anymore as I tend to soap at room temperature letting the oils and lye solution cool down naturally. I don't think there would be a change in the soap batter if you soaped hotter but if you want to get the same results as mine try to let your oils and lye solution cool down to as close as room temp as possible before blending together. You can easily use temps of between 75-100 degrees F for both your oils and lye solution.


Rosemary Mint Coconut Castile




OILS: (56oz Oil Recipe)

  • 44.8oz Olive Oil (80%)
  • 8.4oz Coconut Oil (15%)
  • 2.8oz Castor Oil (5%)


Superfat @ 5%

Lye Concentration: 33%



  • 8oz Coconut Milk
  • 8oz Aloe Vera Juice
  • 7.57oz (214.59g) Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
  • 1 tsp Pink Mica
  • 1 tsp Green Mica



  • .8oz Peppermint EO
  • .6oz Rosemary EO
  • .4oz Spearmint EO



  • 1 pair rubber gloves
  • 1 face mask or respirator
  • 1 pair goggles
  • Hard plastic container or steel bowl for lye solution
  • Large hard plastic or stainless steel bowl for soaping oils
  • Stick blender or hand whisk
  • 1 large mold that can hold 5-6 lbs
  • Rubber spatula
  • Set of measuring spoons
  • Hanger Swirling Tool
  • 1 Chop stick or bamboo skewer
  • 2 Medium size 1-2 lb capacity hard plastic bowls ( I use plastic measuring cups from the Dollar Store)
  • Small plastic container for essential oil blend
  • Mold liner (if your mold needs one - I use a silicone liner but freezer wrap works just fine)
  • Accurate Scale that weighs in pounds, ounces, and grams
  • White Vinegar (to neutralize lye if needed)


Note: when using plastic containers and utensils for soapmaking use a hard plastic like an HDPE 5 or higher or dishwasher proof plastic. It will last longer and not interact with lye. Stainless steel bowls and utensils are also safe to use with lye.



Wear your eye goggles, mask, and rubber gloves when you are working with lye. Also wear old clothing that protects your arms, legs, and feet.



Prepare your lye solution using the aloe vera juice as your liquid. Remember to always add your lye to your liquid and not the other way around. Carefully weigh out your aloe juice into your bowl for your lye solution. I chill my aloe juice in the fridge beforehand so it is cold when I add in my lye. Carefully mix the lye in the aloe juice with a stainless steel or hard plastic spoon. Mix until all the crystals have dissolved in the aloe vera. Set your lye solution aside to cool.


While your lye is cooling prepare your oils.


Lye solution made with aloe vera juice





Warm your solid oil first. In this case your coconut oil. Carefully weigh out your coconut oil. I use a microwave safe bowl and gently melt my coconut oil in short 30 second to 1 minute flashes in the micro until it is just liquified.


Carefully weigh out each of the rest of the oils and add them to your bowl.  I use a large

rubbermaid spatula to stir the oils together to blend them.


Next add the coconut milk and blend with a hand whisk or stick blender until the oils are emulsified. (I used chilled coconut milk in my recipe.) You can tell the oils are emulsified when the oil batter looks a creamy white or cream color.


Carrier oils blended together




Once my carrier oils are prepared I weigh out my essential oils. I use a small plastic cup and carefully weigh out each oil into the cup. I stir the oils in the cup so they are thoroughly blended. Then set it aside. Your total EO weight for this recipe should be 1.8 oz.


Mixing Essential Oils




Check your lye solution. Once it has cooled enough (about 75 - 100 degrees F) it is ready to add to your oils.


Carefully add the lye solution to your oils stirring as you pour. For this I use the spatula. Once all the lye solution is in the oils I use the stick blender to blend the batter until it is fully emulsified and has reached a light trace. Trace is when you can draw the spoon across the top of the batter and it leaves a line or "trace." It will also have the consistency of a very light watery pudding. It usually takes me one to two minutes with a stick blender pulsing on an off to reach light trace.


Soap batter being emulsified with stick blender




Once your batter is at a light trace, pour 16 oz into each of the small bowls. To one bowl add 1 tsp pink mica and in the other bowl add 1 tsp green mica.


Use your stick blender or hand whisk to blend each bowl until the color is mixed and you don't see any color lumps or specks. When finished you should have one bowl of pink batter and one bowl of green batter along with the large bowl of uncolored batter.


Pink and green colored soap batter




Add 2 tsp of EO blend to each bowl of colored batter. Blend with your stick blender or whisk. Add the remaining EO blend to the large container of uncolored soap batter and

blend thoroughly. Note that I am adding my fragrance oil blend just before I pour the batters into the mold. I do this to allow myself as much time for swirling as possible. A good practice to learn for fragrances that may accelerate or are difficult to work with.


Colored soap batter with EO blend mixed in with hand whisk




Pour your uncolored batter into your prepared soap mold. Use a spatula to scrape out all the batter into the mold.


Next, slowly pour one of your colored batter bowls over the top. Pouring slowly back and forth directly over the center of the white batter from one end of the mold to the other lengthwise. But do not scrape out the bowl. Do the same with the other colored batter but this time pour off center back and forth until you have poured all the batter but do not scrape the bowl. You will notice that the colored batters sink into the white batter as you pour. No worries, this is what you want. The colors will be inside when you do your swirl.



Using your hanger swirl tool start at one side and push it straight down and back up and down and up going from one side of the mold to the other very slowly and gently up and down. Next go side to side starting at the bottom and working your way slowly towards the top. Last, starting at the top center make a small circle into the batter followed by another and another making several larger and larger circles around and around inside the batter. Don't worry about getting the swirl perfect as it will take practice. Besides, its hard not to still get a pretty swirl even when you goof.


Hanger swirl tool and bamboo skewers



Next, one bowl at a time, scrape out the last of the colored batter with the spatula.

Lay a slim line of pink batter near the center lengthwise from one end of the mold to the other end. Do the same with the green batter only along the side of the pink.


All soap batter poured into mold. Pink and green lines running lengthwise across the top of the mold. As you can see you don't have to have perfect lines.



Next take a bamboo skewer or chop stick and run it carefully over the top of the batter gently back and forth in a figure 8 motion across the color line making lots of figure 8s back and forth along the entire top. Now your soap is finished!


Picture of finished soap in the mold. Textured top was made using a bamboo skewer.




Last, cover your mold. If it doesn't have a cover you can use plastic wrap or a wood slat. You may wrap your mold to insulate it if you desire to force gel. I use old blankets and towels. I let mine saponify overnight for at least 12 to 18 hours before unmolding. Try not to cheat and take peeks as this will allow oxygen in and could leave the top of your soap with a cover of whitish ash. Your soap will continue to saponify for a couple of days or longer. 



If you unmold the next day use your gloves to handle the soap and be sure to wash your hands immediately if you touch or handle raw soap. If soap is still too soft to cut rewrap it and wait a few days until it is hard enough to cut.


Cutting soap log in soap cutter using a straight or flat cutter



Once you cut up your soap set the soaps on a curing rack and allow to cure at least 6 to 8 weeks or longer. The longer they cure, the more mild they become. Turn the soaps weekly during their cure.


Newly cut raw soap showing swirls made with hanger swirl tool.



During the first week or two of curing you will notice that the rosemary will get milder as the mint becomes stronger. Once cured the scent notes will be much better balanced.


Raw soap ready to be transferred to curing rack. I have placed the raw soap bars on wax paper so it won't interact with the cookie sheet.



Once your soap is cured it will be hard enough for you to clean it up a bit. I rub it softly with a soft cloth and use my fingers to pick off any loose pieces.


I like to stamp my castile soap once its all cleaned up. If you want to use a soap stamp wait for the soap to cure for at least 2-3 weeks or longer before stamping as castile can be very soft for several weeks.


Once its cured its ready to use. This recipe will give you about eighteen 4.25 oz of cured soap bars depending on the size of your mold.

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Beautifull soap - and wauw  :bow: you did a good job here - thank you very much.

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Oh my gosh Candybee... Ok...so there are no "bows" icons anymore...so this is where you pretend 3 of those are. :) You have really upped the wow factor on making these soaps! You upped the ante too....it will make us all strive to do as well as you but i dunno....I hope I can be half as good as you. Beautiful job in describing your process , loved seeing the pictures along the process and loved reading all the info about how you made your soap. Bravo!! Bravo!!  

Edited by puma52
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Thanks guys. This recipe with its descriptive instructions won't be typical of any other entries I do. It was a lot of work and I just don't have the time. I wanted to add general instructions so a novice could read it and make the soap. At least I hope someone will get excited enough to try it. It really is a nice gentle creamy soap.


You aren't supposed to copy me. Just do your recipe in your own words and in your own format. Make it as big or small as you want. Whatever you feel like sharing. This is to be for fun and not a contest or a chore. Have fun with it and use as many or as few pics as you want (but I think we all love lots of pics!!) If you have a video that would also be cool. Wish I had a video cam but I don't. If I did I would be doing videos a lot!


I have to tell you I have seen some incredibly fabulous soaps on this forum by you guys that I wish I could do. I can't wait to see each month's soap!

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Not sure how I even missed this.

The colors are just gorgeous ?

Am I reading the EO amounts 

correctly 8 oz of peppermint 

6 oz Rosemary & 4 oz spearmint ?

thanks again for sharing ! You always post such great recipes !

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Yes. That is the correct proportion of EOs I use. It gives me the right balance of rosemary to mint. Once the soap has cured the scent will be more mild.

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6 hours ago, Candybee said:

Yes. That is the correct proportion of EOs I use. It gives me the right balance of rosemary to mint. Once the soap has cured the scent will be more mild.

Thank you again for your help ?

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