Unscented Pink Himalayan & Dead Sea Salt Soap, with Clay & Plant Colorants, embeds on top & negative impression mat on bottom

Years ago I tried making a large batch of Dead Sea Salt soaps – my biggest fail ever. The Magnesium (and maybe the Potassium) in the salt prevented the batter from turning into soap. It looked like soap, abide a little soft, but it would not lather – it felt like a lump of wax or plastic.

I knew from research back then, that you can’t make soap from Epsom salts (because of the magnesium and that Epsom Salt is not salt), but I had a difficult time finding any information on Dead Sea Salt soap. (I did find some for sale and later discovered that there was only 5% of Dead Sea salt in the soap.)

I went to my “go to” place at the time – a highly respected and reputable company with a daily Blog – it had been my soaping bible, it was that good. Sadly, I got what was starting to become a standard response lately: “that should work fine, but do a test batch to be sure.” (Which I have since learns means: “I have no idea, and good luck with that”) That was my first lesson in “what you read on a Blog is not necessarily true,” (even the times they are adamant it is.) And I’ve had several more learning experiences like that since.

So time to try my hand at Dead Sea Salt soap – with just under 5% DSS and the rest with the infallible & miraculous Pink Himalayan Salt.


I have never used plants for colorants, and decided to give Alkanet root and Annatto seeds infused in oil a try, along with some clay for detox and coloring.


The Plan:
Use the last of Salt MB Oils #1
9 bar mold: 54 oz
Clay & plants for coloring
Pour off 6 oz for embeds (before adding salt)

Salt Master Batch #1 oils: 30.5 oz Oils (Makes 44oz / 2.75lbs + Salt)
SMB Oils #1: 30.6 oz/ 865 grams
NaOH/Lye 10% SF: 4.55 oz / 129 grams
Distilled Water: (1.07 oz disc; 11% disc): 9 oz / 255 grams (used 8.75 oz)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 9 grams (in oils)
Calendula Extract (1%): 9 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Carrot Extract (1%): 9 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Fine Pink Himalayan Salt: 12 oz (by weight)
Dead Sea Salt: 2 oz

Pour off 6 oz for special projects (before adding salts).
Use 38 oz batter +14 salt = 52 oz + embeds on top.

Batter/Color – Clays & Plants:
9.5 oz Light Blue: Alkanet Root (turns grey, then purple – mine turned blue; infused in oil & strained)
9.5 oz Light Yellow Annatto Seeds (infused in oils & strained)
9.5 oz French Green Sea Clay (with a touch of Spirulina) in distilled water
9.5 oz Dark Red Brazilian Clay in distilled water

3.5 oz salt into each container: 3 oz/85 grams PH salt + .5 oz/14 grams Dead Sea Salt.
Negative Impression mat on bottom. Pour lines of soap, use #1 swirl tool, add embeds on top.

Put in oven 150 degrees for 4 hours – remove & un-mold.


The Reality:
Soaping at higher temperatures seems to work best for salt bars – this time I was at 136F for lye and 132F for oils. I stick blended just past emulsified, and separated the batter into containers, having 6.25 oz remaining for making embeds.

(I colored my leftover soap with a new Bramble Berry Red Mica – as expected, it is not a true red, but a paler version that was quite nice. This batter was a little thin to pour, so I went back to my main project and colored all of my containers.)

Look at how beautiful these colorants are:


Alkanet Root, Annatto Seed, Green Sea Clay & Spirulina, and Red Brazilian Clay

Back to pouring embeds while the main batter thickened. However, I forgot that clay will accelerate and when I turned back to look, my soap was at thick trace. I mixed & mixed, then added the salts, which tends to thin it out slightly, and it did. I had a difficult time pouring my lines of color – it just took too long. By the time I got to the top, it was very stiff. I continued on, using my #1 swirling tool, but it had no affect on the soap – it was just too thick. So I did some swirling on top with a chopstick:


I had some shell embeds I planned to add, but realized the colors weren’t right – they just didn’t work. Then as I was adding my dividers, one fell into the middle and destroyed the swirls on two bars. Tapping (banging) it down was not helpful, so I just smoothed it out the best I could with a spatula. At that time I remembered I had some yellow and blue tiny bird & heart embeds and added those to the top. They produced a huge gouge in the soap top, but hopefully they don’t look too horrible:


I put the soap into a preheated 150F degree oven, turned it off, and let it sit for 4 hours. At 3.5 hours I checked the mold, it was very cool, so I brought the oven back up to temperature and turned off again. At 4 hours I took it out, still slightly warm, and un-molded. (Typically, you would want your oven to be 170F, but I live at 6000 feet, where water boils at a lower temperature, so 150F works better.)


Soap just out of the oven – all the colors have lightened up a bit


The Un-molding:


Back and front of bars



I asked myself when I finished making this: “Why didn’t you do a test soap, like you always do?” I don’t have an answer to that. I had a little Salt MB Oils #1 left and needed some unscented salt bars with clay. I always want to try different things and challenge myself, so I came up with using Dead Sea Salt and Plant colorants.

The Alkanet and Annatto Seed oils were so beautiful I just left them as is, although I had done a test soap with the Alkanet and it paled some, I should have bumped up the Alkanet to account for that as the blue (Alkanet) is fading very quickly. I expect it will turn to white eventually.

I did a pH test on this soap 24 hours after un-molding (using a pH test stripe) and got 9, which is quite low (normally it would be 10-12). 48 hours after that I tested it again and got an 8. (I also used a scrap to wash with and it was fairly similar to other salt bars.) This is probably the effect of the magnesium in the dead sea salt. Hopefully it will continue to be soap as it cures.


Additional Resources:

Check out more Salt Bars on the links below:
Pink Himalayan Salt Test Soap Batch with Tamanu & Neem Oils
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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