A DIY soap that’s as pretty as a May meadow
Every year, it’s the same story. When winter first arrives, we gush over each fresh snowflake, but by February, the frosty season starts to feel like it’s dragging on. Especially here, with our famous Québec winters that last half the year. So, as soon as a ray of sunshine breaks through the clouds, a tiny bud appears, or the mercury inches above zero, we at Coop Coco joyfully cry out, “Spring is Sprung!” It’s our little way of passing the time patiently until spring really comes. And this cold process soap recipe is our homage to these exclamations we let out every year when the long winter is getting us down.
For this soap’s unique floral swirls, we chose to use soft, happy colours to capture the spirit of spring. The scent pitches in too: we opted for green, floral fragrances to make you feel like you’re in the middle of a meadow of wildflowers. You can of course change the colours and scents, if you prefer. We trust in your imagination!
Get ready to shout “Spring is Sprung” with us, because now it’s time to make this spring soap!
How to make soap for spring
Sodium hydroxide solution
Oil and butter mixture
- 345 g (30.10%) olive oil
- 105 g (9.16%) mango butter
- 150 g (13.096%) coconut oil
- 150 g (13.09%) macadamia oil
Essential oil blend
- 19 g (1.66%) rose geranium essential oil
- 2 g (0.17%) eucalyptus globulus essential oil
- 9 g (0.79%) true lavender essential oil
- 1.1 g (0.1%) titanium dioxide
- 2.25 g (0.20%) orris root powder
- Large Pyrex cup or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) jar for the sodium hydroxide solution (minimum capacity of 500 ml)
- A jar, for weighing the sodium hydroxide
- Personal protective gear
- A hot plate
- Two large stainless steel bowls
- Four small silicone spatulas
- Regular-sized silicone spatula
- Immersion blender
- Scales, accurate to 1 g and 0.01 g
- A few pipettes
- A few spoons
- A few ramekins
- Four measuring funnel pitchers
- Silicone loaf mold
- A clean tea towel large enough to wrap around the mold
- Knife or soap cutter
Good to know!
- The saponified oils and butters provide your homemade soap with these wonderful properties:
- Coconut oil hardens your soap, cleanses, and provides great lather.
- Olive oil makes this soap very mild on your skin.
- Mango butter hardens the soap and makes it gentle on your skin.
- Macadamia oil makes your soap gentle on your skin.
- Orris root powder is a fixative; it helps prevent the scents from fading so that they last longer. There are also other ways to help anchor the scent of a homemade soap, and you can learn all about them here.
- This soap recipe uses a water to sodium hydroxide ratio of 2.3. This soap is superfatted at 8% through the “lye discount” method, which involves reducing the volume of sodium hydroxide.
Steps to follow
- Prepare and disinfect your equipment and workspace.
- Take the necessary precautions for handling sodium hydroxide safely.
- Prepare the sodium hydroxide solution: weigh the water in a Pyrex measuring cup or HDPE pot, weigh the sodium hydroxide, pour the sodium hydroxide into the water, mix well, and set aside to cool.
- Weigh the coconut oil and mango butter in the first bowl and melt gently.
- Weigh the macadamia oil and olive oil in a second large bowl.
- Weigh the scents and the orris root powder in a ramekin. Mix together so that the powder soaks up the fragrance.
- Weigh the colourants in the four measuring funnel pitchers (one colour per pitcher).
- When the butter and solid oil have melted, pour them into the bowl containing the liquid oils. Mix to combine.
- Add about a tablespoon of the oil and butter mixture from step 8 to each marbling funnel pitcher. Disperse the colourants thoroughly using a small spatula. We recommend using a different small spatula for each measuring funnel pitcher to avoid mixing the colours.
- When the oils and butter mixture and the sodium hydroxide solution have both cooled to between 30°C and 40°C, pour the sodium hydroxide solution into melted oils and butter. Mix with the immersion blender and the spatula until homogeneous.
- At light trace, add the essential oils and orris root powder (previously mixed together). Mix well with the immersion blender.
- Don’t wait for the batter to reach trace again. As soon as the scents are mixed in, pour about 100 ml of batter into the pitcher containing the colourants for the pink soap. Repeat for the pitchers containing the yellow and white soaps.
- Pour the remaining batter into the pitcher containing the colourants for the green soap. Mix with the spatula. Make sure you have one spatula per colour or that you rinse your spatula well after using it in each pitcher to avoid mixing the colours together.
- Mix each batter again with the immersion blender until you reach medium trace. Remember to wipe the immersion blender between each colour, or proceed from the lightest to the darkest (white, yellow, pink, then green) to avoid transferring too much colourant.
- Pour all of the green soap batter into the mold. Tap the bottom of the mold on a table or counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface.
- Take the pitcher containing the pink soap batter. Pour the soap in a trickle back and forth along the length of the mold. Pour the batter while holding the pitcher close to the surface: the pink batter should remain on the surface of the soap. If it sinks down into the green batter too much, it won’t create the intended effect. Once you’ve completed one back-and-forth pour, set down the pitcher containing the pink soap batter. We’ve just used a small amount of pink soap batter. The rest will be progressively used up in the same way.
- Take the pitcher containing the yellow soap batter and repeat step 16. Now repeat with the white soap batter. The exact order in which you pour the batters does not matter.
- Repeat steps 16 and 17 until you’ve emptied all of the pitchers.
- Tap the bottom of the mold on a table or counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface. Using the tip of the thermometer, create swirls near the surface of the soap. Let yourself be inspired and guided by your own tastes! Just be careful not to stick the rod of the thermometer too far down into the soap—no more than 1 cm or 0.4 inches—or this will impact your swirls.
- Wrap a clean tea towel around the mold and cover the top to keep the warmth in. Be careful not to let the towel touch the top of the soap, so as not to mess up your marbling. Let the soap harden for 24 to 48 hours.
- Wear gloves to unmold the soap. Cut the soap into bars. Leave soap bars to cure in a cool, dry place for four to six weeks.
Use and conservation
This homemade soap is formulated for all skin types. It’s especially suitable for sensitive and dry skin, as it has a superfat of 8%.
When made in optimal sanitary conditions, it will keep for at least 12 months.