If you’re looking for a way to combine the cleansing, exfoliating and detoxifying qualities of a salt bath with your handmade natural soap, you can combine them in a “salt bar.”
Salt soap bars – or salt bars as they’re generally called combine the best of both natural soap and a sea salt bath. The final bar is super hard, and produces a “lotion-like” lather – creamy and low – and many people (including me) love the way they make your skin feel!
You basically make them like any other cold processed soap with three big exceptions:
So gather up your soap making gear, a big container of salt, and let’s make some salt soap bars.
The first thing to do is create the recipe you’re going to use for the soap. For your recipe, you’re going to use a lot of coconut oil.
For these bars to lather at all, you need to use a lot of coconut oil. So a basic recipe like this:
Should be modified to:
Some folks will keep it really simple and just do 80% coconut and 20% olive or some other single oil. I think more complex combinations of oils make better lather, so I’ll tend to use more oils in a recipe – even if they’re only in small amounts.
The recipe I used for this batch was:
Feel free to use your own mix of oils. (I used lard instead of palm and sunflower instead of olive in my recipe – but palm and olive would have been wonderful as well.) But, as always, when you adjust or change an ingredient in your recipe, be sure to run the new recipe through a lye calculator. Mix your lye solution, measure and melt your oils, and blend the lye and the oils just like you would in any other cold process soap batch.
Once the soap has reached a really light trace, and you’ve added your fragrance or essential oil, it’s time to add the salt.
As I said earlier, there are a few schools of thought when it comes to how much salt to add:
Using the recipe on the previous page:
I have made batches with all three methods. Method #1 is the hardest and saltiest, but has the lowest lather. Method #3 has the least salt, but is the most like normal soap. I tend to prefer #2 – it’s a good balance of salt and lathering ability.There’s no special technique necessary to add the salt, just dump it into your soap pot and start stirring vigorously.
Pour or scoop the soap into your mold. It will be a lot thicker than your normal batches of soap. After you’ve poured the soap, it also helps to tap/thump/slam the mold onto the counter to help dislodge any air that may have gotten trapped under the soap.
Don’t go too far away!
The salt soap will start to harden almost immediately! If you’re using a log mold like I used in the previous picture, you’ll want to cut the soap as very soon as possible – as soon as it’s firm enough to cut. The soap will still be warm even as it’s going through the saponification process.
If you wait too long, the soap will be super hard, and really hard to cut. I waited just a bit too long on the bars pictured here. You can see the crumbly edges, and a couple of bars that fell apart. They’re perfectly useable bars…just crumbly.
Another really great option for salt soap bars is divided slab molds like this one – or even single cavity molds where each mold holds one bar of soap.
With the slab divider mold, be sure to line the bottom of the mold with freezer paper. The dividers will come out fairly easily, but if you don’t line the bottom of the mold with freezer paper, you’ll have a very hard time getting the bars separated from the bottom of the mold.
With single cavity molds, you don’t have to rush. Just let the bars set and cool over night. They should pop right out of the molds quite easily.
A few more tips…
Enjoy this exotic and fun soap variety!