I’m a member of a Facebook group with a bunch of other soap makers, and when I first joined the group, everyone was in the middle of a salt bar soap exchange. Salt bar? What the heck is that? So I read up on it a bit and decided that I absolutely must make some of these myself!
Salt bars are exfoliating, obviously, because of the salt content; but they are also detoxifying, the way a salt bath would be. Salt bars soften the skin, and although I haven’t tried it myself, supposedly they can be nice for the face, too, by shrinking pores, healing acne and such. I’ve also heard people say that using a salt bar helps heal small nicks and cuts more quickly, but I can’t vouch for that, either.
This is the recipe I came up with, and it’s pretty solid; although I think I’d made the following three adjustments the next time I make it:
- Up the superfat to 20% to be more moisturizing (I don’t recommend the 8% I used in the original recipe below)
- Drop the salt down to 10 ounces
- Increase essential oils to 1 oz total, as the salt likes to mute the fragrance of the soap
Grapefruit Ginger Salt Bar Soap Recipe
Yield: 1 pound
- 12 oz coconut oil
- 1.6 oz. lard
- 1.6 oz. olive oil
- 0.8 oz. castor oil
- 2.523 oz. lye (8% superfat)
- 6.08 oz. water
- 0.55 oz grapefruit essential oil
- 0.3 oz ginger essential oil
- 14.5 oz of fine grain sea salt (not Epsom salt or dead sea salt)
- 1 tsp of colorant for half of the soap
You’ll want to use a mold that has individual cavities (or a slab mold with dividers), because salt bars harden very quickly; and once your soap hard, you can’t cut it into bars without them crumbling all over the place.
Once your soap reaches trace, add the essential oils and divide the batter in two. Color one half of the batch and then add half the salt to each half of the batter. At this point, stir with a spoon instead of a stick blender. As you are pouring the batter into your mold, make sure to keep stirring, so that the salt is distributed evenly, or you’ll end up with your first bars having very little salt and your last bars having lots!
I used yellow Brazilian clay to do an in the pot swirl, although I won’t attempt that type of swirl with salt bars again. I’ve found it’s a lot easier to fill my mold cavities partially with one color and then add the other color after and swirl the two together in the cavities.
Salt Bar Variations
I have since made two more batches of salt bars, each with slight variations; and although I want to keep experimenting until I reach the perfect recipe, I am quickly going through my coconut oil. So further experiments may have to wait until after the new year. In the meantime, though, I have two more batches curing:
Cucumber & Aloe – I used about 35% aloe vera juice and 65% pureed cucumber in place of my lye water and left unscented. I froze that mixture in an ice cube tray just added my lye to the ice cubes. The cucumber scent comes through very faintly in the finished bars, but I wonder if that won’t fade over time.
Desert Oasis – Just stuck to a basic recipe and added a fragrance oil that I wanted to try.
By the way, since I posted my last recipe, I’ve officially begun selling my soaps! I am listing them on Facebook for the time being (click on the box at left to check it out). Once this becomes too cumbersome, I’ll create a real website.