Pink Himalayan Salt Soap Test Batch with Tamanu & Neem Oils

I made a test batch of soap with Neem oil (See Blog here) and another with Pink Himalayan Salt and Neem Oil  (See Blog here) – to take advantage of all the great benefits of both. Next I wanted to try a trifecta of benefits: Pink Himalayan Salt soap with Neem oil and the addition of Tamanu oil.


Sandalwood Vanilla PH Salt soap with Tamanu & Neem Oils.

Here’s some info on Neem Oil:
A very effective antiseptic, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral agent. Assists in the healing of skin disorders including eczema, psoriasis, rashes, burns and acne. Considered a natural insect repellent. Has a very strong odor that is often described as a blend of nut and garlic. Rich in essential fatty acids, triglycerides, vitamin E & calcium; known to smooth wrinkles, reduce eczema and acne, stimulate collagen and relieve dry skin.

The Neem tree has been called “the village pharmacy” because its bark, leaves, sap, fruit, seeds, and twigs have so many diverse uses in the traditional medicine of India. As a member of the mahogany family, it has been used medicinally for at least 4,000 years and is held in such esteem that Indian poets called it Sarva Roga Nivarini , meaning “the One That Can Cure All Ailments.”

The uses of Neem are remarkably diverse: the seed and kernel oil for diabetes, fevers, fungal infections, bacterial infections, inflammatory diseases, fertility prevention, and as an insecticide. Neem oil is used in shampoos and conditioners to improve the health of the hair without leaving a thick residue.

To me, out of the bottle it smells hideous – like really bad garlic and something dead. I don’t smell the nuttiness that has been described. Even using just 5% (.6 oz) in this batch (which seems to be the typical usage rate), it still smells really awful and very overpowering before curing.

The Benefits of Tamanu Oil:
Tamanu oil is a greenish-black color and very thick. Recommended usage rate in soap is up to 5%. It smells like butter pecan ice cream or Kahlua, and is quite pleasant.

The oils of the seed and root have been used to treat wounds: it has been topically applied to treat various ailments such as cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bites and stings, abrasions, acne and acne scars, psoriasis, diabetic sores, anal fissures, sunburn, dry or scaly skin, blisters, eczema, herpes sores, scars, and to reduce foot and body odor. The oil has also been topically applied to the neck area to treat sore throat.

I have never used it in soap, as it is very costly: $35 a pound. But for this test batch, I only used 1 ounce (just under 5%).

Specifically, I have some family members that are struggling with eczema. The Pink Himalayan Salt soap helps some, as does the Neem Oil soap – combining them helps even more. But I would like to kick the eczema out completely, hence the addition of Tamanu oil.

I went with the Sandalwood scent to help cover up the Neem oil (and per request of my tester).

Description of Bramble Berry Scents:
Sandalwood Vanilla: A blend that is sweet and creamy, yet woodsy enough for men. It’s warm and inviting. CP: discolors brown; very fast acceleration, 4.5% Vanilla.
Sandalwood Cybilla: A woodsy, soft, sweet and sensual sandalwood. CP: discolors tan, very light.


The Plan:
Add Salt to full batch of batter.
To test the color and scent of Neem & Tamanu oils after curing, pour off 6 oz for one unscented bar.
Split rest of  the batter in half, scenting one half with Sandalwood FO & the other with Sandalwood Vanilla (discolors brown).
Use 6-bar mold with negative impression mat on bottom and alternate pouring lines of soap, swirling with chop stick after.

Recipe 17.96 oz/509 grams Salt Master Batch oils #1 (see blog here); plus Neem Oil & Tamanu Oil = 20 oz Total Oils (run through lye calculator).

Master Batch Oil recipe details with added oils:
4.5%       Castor Oil                                 .9 oz          26 grams
62.9%     Coconut Oil                       12.57 oz        356 grams
4.5%       Hazelnut Oil                            .9 oz          26 grams
9%          Palm Oil                                  1.8 oz          51 grams
4.5%       Shea Butter                              .9 oz          26 grams
4.5%       Sunflower Seed Oil                .9 oz          26 grams     s/b 509 grams
5.4%       Neem Oil                              1.08 oz          31 grams
4.8%       Tamanu Oil                            .96 oz          27 grams     Total Oils: 567 grams

10% SF  Lye                                         2.94 oz          83 grams
.6 oz disc 1:1 Aloe & Distilled water   6 oz         170 grams
1%        Kaolin Clay                                                     6 grams
1%        Camomile Extract                                         6 grams
1%        Avocado Extract                                            6 grams

20 oz oils/567 grams= 29 oz soap + 12 oz PH Salt = 41 oz soap

18 oz 1 oz Sandalwood Cybilla (very light, disc Tan)
18 oz 1 oz Sandalwood Vanilla FO (A & Discolors brown 4.5% Vanilla)


The Reality:
I soaped at 130 degrees for both the Lye and oils, stick blended to light trace and added the PH Salt. I stick blended several more times and had to wait a bit for the batter to thicken up.

The color of the batter before (left) and after (right) adding PH salt. A dark beige/tan from the Neem and Tamanu oils are just a little darker with the salt:

Poured one bar of unscented soap.

Split the rest in half, adding the Sandalwood FO to one, and poured some lines into the mold. Mixed in the Sandalwood Vanilla in the other container and it started to discolor and accelerate immediately. I quickly alternated pours from each container until using them all. I attempted to swirl with a skewer, but the Sandalwood Vanilla was very thick.

Since this was a test batch, I covered the silicone mold and put it in a 150 degree oven, then turned off the heat and set the timer for 4 hours. I know that it can be tricky using silicone molds in the oven with soap – they can possible bubble over, but I wanted to try it out.

At 4 hours I took it out of the oven, it was only slightly warm. I don’t think I got any overheating, I think this is just ash (with the darker blobs being the Sandalwood Vanilla that accelerated and got stiff):


I waited another 40 minutes before un-molding. The side with the mat on it looks very nice, the darker areas are the pours of Sandalwood Vanilla, which will discolor brown. I really like the “oatmeal” look of the soap. I think that is from the Tamanu, as it is very gritty:


Bottom of loaf, which will be the top & cut into 6 slices


The Cut:
Four hours and 40 minutes was too long to wait before cutting and it should have been cut earlier – probably right after taking it out of the oven, as half way through the cut, the soap was rock hard and crumbly.


I got three really nice bars and three with broken corners. You can see how the tops of these broke off:


No colors were added, so the natural browning is all from the Sandalwood Vanilla. You can also see the one unscented bar made:


The Cure:
As these cured, they darkened up a bit more, but look lovely. However, the unevenness in cutting them by hand make them a bit too rustic for me.

I thought the Sandalwood Vanilla FO would cover up any scent from the Neem Oil, which it did. However, while using the soap in the shower, a bit of the Neem fragrance still comes through.

After curing, the unscented bar seems to have no scent of the Neem Oil, but I suspect it may come through a bit when using the soap.


I have held off for months writing this blog, waiting for more data on results of using this soap to help combat eczema. But as the spring and summer rolled on, my main tester was not getting eczema, so there was no way to know if the addition of Tamanu Oil helped more that just the salt bars with Neem Oil. (I have another tester, who has not gotten back to me yet.)

I will update this blog when I get more definitive information.


Additional Resources:

Check out more Salt Bars on the links below:
Unscented Pink Himalayan & Dead Sea Salt Soap – with Clays & Plant Colorants; embeds on top, negative impression mat on bottom
Eucalyptus Mint Tree with Neem Oil & tiny embeds
Grapefruit, Kumquat & Lime with tiny embeds
2 Batches: Unscented and Lavender, Moroccan Mint, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang, Clary Sage & Black Tea Blend
Orange Lemongrass Patchouli & Unscented
Lemongrass, Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint
Peach Mango Kumquat with Aloe & Coconut water
POGY: Pineapple Orange Grapefruit Yuzu

For Salt Bar Recipes, click on the links below:
Salt Master Batch Oils #1
Salt Master Batch Oils #2 (“Everything But the Kitchen Sink”)




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