Soap Master Batch Oils #8

I have found what works the best in a soap recipe is to have 50-60% “hard” oils. Coconut & Palm (or Tallow/Lard) are in that category, as well as all butters (even though some are harder than others). I like using 25% Coconut oil and 25% Palm (a mix of Palm Kernel Flakes & Palm oil).

I typically use 10% butters: 5% Cocoa Butter & 5% Shea Butter, but have some wonderful Avocado butter I wanted to include, so have used 4% of each, increasing my butter total to 12%. And I always include 5% Castor oil for lather (above 5% causes acceleration).

The other percentages can be made up of any oils of your choosing – many people love using Olive Oil. I don’t like going above 10% Olive oil, as it makes it harder to get true colors in the soap. Plus Olive oil makes an extremely soft bar of soap and many people find the lather lacking and the bar sticky (100% Olive oil or Castile soap takes 6 months to 1 year to cure).


There are so many oils that have wonderful skin loving properties, that I like to use a little of both. I have been taken to task for such diversity, and of course the less variety of oils you use, the less you have to buy and keep track of!

Here’s my Master Batch Oils #8:

Recipe: 600 oz oils/37.5 lb (makes 880 oz/ 55 lbs of soap):
5%     Apricot Kernel Oil            30 oz       850 grams
4%     Avocado Butter                 24 oz       680 grams
5%     Avocado Oil                       30 oz       850 grams
5%     Castor Oil                           30 oz       850 grams
4%     Cocoa Butter (Golden)     24 oz       680 grams
25%   Coconut Oil                      150 oz    4252 grams
5%     Hazelnut Oil                       30 oz      850 grams
8%     Olive Oil                              48 oz    1361 grams
8%     Palm Kernel Flakes           48 oz    1361 grams
17%   Palm Oil                            102 oz    2892 grams
5%     Rice Bran Oil                      30 oz      850 grams
4%     Shea Butter (Organic)       24 oz     680 grams
5%     Sunflower Seed Oil            30 oz     850 grams
100% Oils                                     600 oz 17,006 grams

After measuring and heating the oils and butters, they go into a bucket and I stir thoroughly to blend together:


I then separate into 1 gallon jugs, cool, and freeze to stop the aging of the oils or refrigerate to slow it down:


I ran this batch over a dozen times through a lye calculator, adjusting the oil totals for a variety of sized soap batches. (Using the Bramble Berry calculator, I select the adjust batch button to change the oil totals.) Here are some examples, with just the information I need to make a batch of soap:

Master Batch #8 oils: 70 oz Oils (Makes 100 oz/6.25 lb soap)
MB Oils: 70 oz/ 1984 grams
NaOH/Lye 5% SF: 9.97 oz / 283 grams
Distilled Water: (3.1 oz disc; 13.5% disc): 20 oz / 567 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 20 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 20 grams (in oils)
Extract (1%): 20 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
(2% 40 grams; 3% 60 grams)

Master batch #8 oils: 28 oz Oils (Makes 40 oz soap)
MB Oils: 28 oz/ 794 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 3.99 oz / 113 grams
Distilled Water: (1.24 oz disc; 13.3% disc): 8 oz / 227 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 8 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 8 grams (in oils)
Extract (1%): 8 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
(2% 16 grams; 3% 24 grams)

I even adjust the super fat in the Lye Calculator for specialty soap like facial soap:

Master batch #8 oils: 44 oz Oils (Makes 62 oz soap) 8% SF
MB Oils: 44 oz/ 1247 grams
NaOH/ Lye 8% SF: 6.07 oz / 172 grams
Distilled Water: (2.52 oz disc; 17.35% disc): 12 oz / 340 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 12 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 12 grams (in oils)
Extract (1%): 12 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
(2% 24 grams; 3% 36 grams)


For Additional Resources – click on the links below:

Soap Recipes:
Master Batch #7 oils
Master Batch #6 oils
Master Batch #5 oils
Master Batch #4 oils (with information on skin loving properties of oils)
Master Batch #3 oils

Shampoo Recipes:
Shampoo Master Batch Oils #2 – new and improved!
Shampoo Master Batch Oils #1

Salt Bar Recipes:
Salt Master Batch Oils #2 (“Everything But the Kitchen Sink”)
Salt Master Batch Oils #1






Cocoa Butter Cashmere soap in Advanced Tiger strip with Hanger Swirl

I got this scent last year from Bramble Berry,  in a 4-pack sampler of 2 oz each, and never got around to using it. Since it discolors brown, I thought it would be a good fall fragrance.


Description of Cocoa Butter Cashmere FO: A cozy fragrance perfectly balanced between sweet, woodsy and warm. Opening notes of light spices and cedarwood are followed by rich vanilla tonka, warm coconut and jasmine petals. Olive wood, sandalwood, amber, musk and a touch of cocoa butter round out this sophisticated scent. CP: Mild Acceleration, Discolors dark brown.


The Plan:
Use the last 27.2 oz of MB Oils #7 with the addition of .8 oz Cocoa Butter (run though lye calculator).
2 lb mold, 2 oz FO, with NG Vanilla Stabilizer
1:1 Frozen Coconut Milk & Distilled water
34 oz of soap batter (rest for embeds & test sample)
Advanced Tiger Stripe with hanger swirl.

Master batch #7 oils: 28 oz Oils (Makes 40 oz soap)
MB #7 Oils: 28 oz/ 794 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 3.99 oz / 113 grams
1:1 Frozen Coconut Milk & Distilled water: (1.24 oz disc; 13.3% disc): 8 oz / 227 grams
Kaolin Clay (1%): 8 grams (in oils)
Chamomile Extract (1%): 8 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Aloe Extract (1%): 8 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Sodium Lactate (1%): 8 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)

Batter/Color/2 oz FO:
8 oz BB Cappuccino brown, 1 oz FO
8 oz BB Gold Mica, .5 oz FO .3 oz NG VS (vanilla stabilizer)
8 oz TKB True Red, .5 oz FO .3 oz NG VS
8 oz TD White, No FO, .5 oz NG VS
(BB = Bramble Berry, TKB = TKB Trading, NG = Natures Garden; TD = Titanium Dioxide, VS = Vanilla Stabilizer)


The Reality:
The lye water did not get hotter than 83F degrees, which was quite low (due to the water, that freezes to a lower temperature than milk). I soaped the lye & oils at 82F and 100F, stick blended (with immersion blender) to emulsified, separated out the batter, made some embeds & a test fragrance blend, then worked on my main soap, which was still at light trace.

I got acceleration from both the vanilla stabilizer and the FO – more from VS than the FO. (The acceleration from the VS may be due to heating it, as I was trying to incorporate some of it that had crystalized, but it didn’t work.) The brown, which had the most FO in it did not accelerate as much as the others – the white accelerated the most, with VS and TD. (Next time I will need to start right away when batter is just at emulsified, as it was quite thick, but still pourable.)

I finished with toothpick swirls on top and a little silver mica oil swirls. Because of the Coconut milk, I put it in the refrigerator.


Swirled top with added silver mica oil


The Cut:




I’m not very excited about the color scheme in this one and the advanced tiger swirl (poured on the side of mold) with a hanger swirl creates a very different look to the pour down the middle of the mold with a swirl.

I have read several positive reviews on this fragrance, but I personally don’t care for it that much. (As it develops in the cure and if I find it more appealing, I will update this note.)



Oatmeal Milk & Honey with Layers, Hanger Swirl, Honeycomb Top and Heart Embed, plus Colloidal Oatmeal, Goat’s Milk & Colorado Honey


Description of Bramble Berry Fragrances:
Oatmeal Milk & Honey Cybilla FO:
Warm oatmeal, creamy milk & honey. CP: discolors to creamy beige; 1% Vanilla.
Oatmeal Milk & Honey FO:
Sweet & toasty. CP: Accelerates & discolors greenish-brown. (I did not get any acceleration in the past.) Reviews: smells like butter cream, cookie dough, & almond; milky oatmeal with hints of almond & honey.

Honey in cold process soap gives additional humectant properties and helps create bubbles. (A humectant is an ingredient that absorbs moisture from the air.) Humectants are great for the skin, as they can help the skin retain moisture. Honey also contains antioxidants and natural sugars which can increase the lather of cold process soap.

Honey can be added to the soap at trace, or to the soaping oils prior to adding lye. (Or you can dilute it in a portion of the water in the recipe, and add this mixture at trace.) Adding honey is adding sugar, which will increase the temperature and can cause acceleration. Recommended use is 1 teaspoon per pound of soap (or about 1% of the oils).

Colloidal Oatmeal is a micro-fine, ground oatmeal that is not rough or abrasive. A great additive for those with extra dry skin and is used to alleviate itchiness. Colloidal Oatmeal has all the benefits of oatmeal without the scratchiness. It makes skin feel smooth & refreshing.

Goat milk is particularly moisturizing and nourishing to the skin because of capric-caprylic triglyceride. Capric-caprylic triglyceride is an effective skin moisturizer that helps to contribute to skin softness by forming a barrier on the skin to help inhibit the loss of moisture. It is the only milk that contains naturally occurring capric-caprylic triglycerides.

The protein strands of goat milk are shorter than other types of milk and are more readily absorbed by skin. Goat milk is also fantastic in soap because it has a lower pH (between 4.0 and 6.4), thus reducing the overall pH of the final bar of soap (this may aid in protecting skin from unwanted bacteria).

Goat milk also has naturally occurring lactic acid that helps keep skin smooth by encouraging skin turnover (allowing the skin to naturally rejuvenate, similar to a gentle peel). It also contains many vitamins, specifically A (known for it’s ability to repair damaged tissue and reduce wrinkles), D and B6, as well as the anti-oxidant Selenium.


The Plan:
3 lb mold; 48 oz of soap + 3.5 oz small, beige heart tube embed.
1.5 oz of each OMH Cybilla FO and OMH FO.
A layer of bubble wrap on the bottom of mold (which will become the honeycomb top).
1st & 3rd layer: 1.5 oz OMH Cybillia FO, natural/orange with .75 oz Vanilla Stabilizer.
2nd & 4th layer: 1.5 oz OMH FO, cappuccino brown.
Circular Hanger swirl, starting in the middle and working outward.
Add upside-down beige heart dusted with gold in 4th layer (will be right side up when flipped over).

Master batch Oils #7: 34 oz Oils (Makes 48 oz soap)
MB Oils: 34 oz/ 964 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 4.85 oz / 137 grams
Frozen Goat’s Milk: (2.22 oz disc; 20% disc): 9 oz / 255 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 10 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 10 grams (in oils)
Colloidal Oatmeal (1%): 10 grams (in oils)
Honey (1%): 10 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
Oat Extract (1%): 10 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Batter/Color/FO (3 oz):
Each Layer:
12 oz Natural; .75 oz OMH Cybilla with .37 oz NG Vanilla Stabilizer (1st layer)
12 oz BB Cappuccino Brown (light); .75 oz OMH (2nd layer)
12 oz BB Nuclear Orange & CC Yellow Mica; .75 oz OMH Cybilla with .37 oz NG VS (3rd layer)
12 oz BB Cappuccino Brown (darker); .75 oz OMH (4th layer)
Small heart tube dusted with BB Gold Sparkle mica.


The Reality:
I put all my additives in the oils and stick blended, adding the sodium lactate in the lye milk. The lye mixture reached 97F degrees. I combined the lye liquid and oils at 96F and 107F and stick blended to light trace.

I had forgotten that the honey accelerates trace, but to make layers I needed the soap thicker anyway. I mixed up my first layer and needed to stick blend a little more before pouring on top of the bubble wrap on the bottom of the mold.

When mixing up the second layer, I got some slight acceleration from the FO, but it was just the right thickness to add to the top of the first layer. I then mixed up and added the third & fourth layers.

I then put my hanger halfway into the middle of the mold and attempted to make circles, getting bigger at each pass. But doing this blindly, it was difficult to imagine if I was making concentric circles. I then added the upside down beige heart dusted with gold mica. (I first tried dusting the mica by hand, which didn’t work. I then used a powder spray bottle (purchased at Qosmedix here), but that only gave a very, very fine coating. I should have switched to a tea strainer to try to get a thicker coating.)

In hind sight, I wish I would have saved a bit of soap from each layer to decorate the top (which will become the bottom) for two reasons: 1) By the time I got to my fourth layer, I only had enough room for about 3/4 of the batter. 2) It’s always good to have a nice swirl in case the bottom bubble wrap (which will be the top) doesn’t come out as wanted.


The Cut:





The gold mica on the heart embed did not make a showing – I needed a much thicker coating. I had spritzed the heart with alcohol, which helped the mica stick, but dusting with a tea strainer would have given a thicker coating, which may have come through in the cut.

The OMH Cybillia FO isn’t coming through as strongly as I had hoped, so there is more of a cookie dough/almond scent than I wanted. I also miss the hit of Caramel, which I added to my previous batch (See blog here).

I’m surprised that the yellow-orange isn’t more orange, but I think it still adds a nice contrast. I do like that so far it hasn’t discolored as much as before, (I’m sure the Vanilla Stabilizer helps.)

I am very pleased that the heart embed matches the natural color so well. (I used BB Gold Sparkle Mica to color it, after being advised that it really would turn gold. It didn’t, but maybe I need to use a lot more mica next time – however, the fail worked perfectly for this soap.)

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”)

Salt Master Batch Oils #2 recipe – “Everything But the Kitchen Sink”

I had several oils (& butter) that I bought for specific projects I never got to and figure I probably won’t in the future. I wanted to use them before they got too old (although I freeze almost all my oils & butters to retard the aging process).


The main ingredient for salt soap is 70% Coconut oil, the other oils/butters are used to enhance the soap qualities. I had some Babassu Oil, which can be used as a substitute for coconut oil (although a costly one), which I included, as well as leftover bits of other oils.


Kitchen Sink Recipe – using up bits of leftover oils & butters:

Recipe: 400 oz oils; 25 lbs; 592 oz soap/ 37 lbs
5.8%      Avocado Oil                  23.2 oz       658 grams
3.09%    Babassu Oil                12.35 oz       350 grams (replacement to coconut oil)
5%         Castor Oil                         20 oz       567 grams
65.96%  Coconut Oil              263.85 oz     7480 grams
1.19%    Grape Seed Oil             4.75 oz       135 grams
5%         Palm Kernel Flakes        20 oz       567 grams
5%         Palm Oil                            20 oz      567 grams
1.44%    Sal/Shorea Butter         5.75 oz      163 grams
3.96%    Sesame Seed Oil          15.85 oz     449 grams
3.56%    Shea Butter (organic) 14.25 oz     404 grams
100%     Oils                                   400 oz  11340 grams


Recipe: 100 oz oils; 6.25 lbs; 592 oz soap/ 37 lbs (plus salt)
5.8%      Avocado Oil                   5.8 oz        164 grams
3.09%    Babassu Oil                  3.09 oz          88 grams (replacement to coconut oil)
5%         Castor Oil                           5 oz        142 grams
65.96%  Coconut Oil                 65.96 oz     1870 grams
1.19%    Grape Seed Oil              1.19 oz         34 grams
5%          Palm Kernel Flakes          5 oz        142 grams
5%          Palm Oil                               5 oz       142 grams
1.44%     Sal/Shorea Butter          1.44 oz        41 grams
3.96%     Sesame Seed Oil             3.96 oz    112 grams
3.56%     Shea Butter (organic)    3.56 oz      101 grams

10% SF Lye 15 oz 425 grams
3 oz disc Water & Aloe juice 1:1 30 oz 850 grams
Fine Pink Himalayan Salt 46 oz (by weight)


PH Master batch #2 oils: 50 oz Oils (Makes 73 oz /4.5 lbs – plus 28 oz PH Salt; 101 oz – 6.3 lb)
MB Oils: 50 oz/ 1417 grams
NaOH/Lye 10% SF: 7.5 oz / 213 grams
Distilled Water: (2.5 oz disc; 15.15% disc): 14 oz / 397 grams
Kaolin Clay (1%): 14 grams (in oils)
Extract (1%): 14 grams (in oils – can add at trace)
(2% 28 grams; 3% 42 grams)
Fine Pink Himalayan Salt 28 oz (by weight)


In hindsight, I question even the use of Palm oil in this soap. Palm & Coconut are used to harden the bar, and with all the salt, these bars are quite hard. I think next time I will skip the Palm and replace it with more butter (for a total of 10%) and some other skin loving oils.

Cucumber Melon Soap in Tiger Stripe & Hanger Swirl with cucumber & melon slices on top

I made a Watermelon Cucumber soap in May of 2016 (See Blog here) with a Bramble Berry fragrance called Cucumber Melon. After curing the ripe, sweet, juicy watermelon really popped (with not much cucumber scent) – which was great and I absolutely loved it.

However, now my bottle of FO is over a year old and all I can smell is Cucumber – not even a hint of Watermelon. I tried numerous test samples over the past several months with the FO by itself and with lime or coconut (or both) in various amounts, but nothing really worked other than just plain cucumber. After months of wavering between a blend or pure, I finally decided to make it straight.


Description of Bramble Berry Cucumber Melon: Juicy and ripe, not too sweet; more watermelon than cucumber, with a clean, crisp melon scent combined with cool refreshing cucumber. (Now that it’s over a year old, it’s more cucumber than melon.) CP: No D. Behaves beautiful.

I waffled back and forth for several weeks on a variety of milks to use, but could not decide what would work best with this fragrance. It had been 8 weeks since I made a batch of soap, and I had a huge list of scent combo’s I wanted to test, so I decided to just use distilled water and leave the extra element of milk out of the plan, making the difficultly level a tiny bit lower.

I also had trouble coming up with color and design schemes (spent 2 months on that too). When I finally chose to go with a Tiger Stripe & Hanger swirl, a wavered on using embeds on top or just swirls. I decided on the embeds because I had them made up and I can always swirl the tops of soaps. (With my plan to start making holiday soaps during my August vacation, I also knew there were many swirls and mica swirled soap tops in my future.)


The Plan:
3 lb mold; 48 oz batter, plus 8.15 oz embed tops.
3 oz Cucumber Melon FO.
Pour Tiger stripes, then up & down hanger swirl with thin hanger swirl tool (found at Bramble Berry here).
Make 86 oz of soap and pour off 38 oz for testing fragrance blends.

Master batch Oils #7: 60 oz Oils (Makes 86 oz /5.3 lbs soap)
MB Oils: 60 oz/ 1701 grams
NaOH/ Lye 5% SF: 8.55 oz / 242 grams
Distilled Water: (3.8 oz disc; 19.2 % disc): 16 oz / 453 grams
Sodium Lactate (1%): 17 grams (in Lye water at 130 degrees)
Kaolin Clay (1%): 17 grams (in oils)
Cucumber Extract (2%): 34 grams (in oils – can add at trace)

Batter (use 46 oz)/Color/FO (3 oz):
8 oz BB Chrome green oxide
8 oz CC Apple green mica
16 oz TD white
8 oz BB Raspberry
8 oz BB Tangerine Wow

Pour light green, dark green, white, raspberry, tangerine, white – repeat.
Hanger swirl vertical with a zig-zag (idea from soapish).


The Reality:
I soaped at 110 degree for both Lye and oils, stick blending to emulsified, then poured off batter for Cucumber Melon soap. Of course it was way too thin, but that gave me a chance to make some quick embeds for future projects, as well as a few test soaps with different FO combos.

During and after each individual soap made, I went back and checked my main batter. 4 test soaps later, all of a sudden, the batter was very thick. I quickly dropped everything and started adding colors. (I usually color right after dividing into containers, but I knew the Green Chrome Oxide and TD has a tendency to accelerate a bit, and this is the first time using Raspberry, so I waited.)

I added my FO, stirred it in quickly and started my Tiger stripes, pouring dark green, light green, & white twice, then Tangerine, Raspberry, & white twice. After that I did one pour of each group. As I was moving along swiftly, I started noticing that my batter was actually thinning out – the FO had reversed trace! By the time I did the vertical zig-zag hanger swirl, everything was very fluid. So much so, that I had to wait quite a while for the top to set up before I could add my embeds (the first 2 tries, they sank fast!)

I swirled the top a bit before adding the embeds:

Version 2

You can see that the colors got muddied a bit from the hanger swirl (bottom middle)

With embeds on top and a spritz of Snowflake Sparkle Mica and Fine Iridescent Glitter:


Close up:


The red & green swirls look a little like Christmas


The Cut:




I love the bright, cheeriness of this soap and it was fun to make. I think next time starting with the orange & raspberry may be nicer, as the first colors get pushed to the sides. I can see lots of variations to do with this technique.

There is a more detailed version using the advanced tiger stripe done by Soapish on YouTube, which is definitely worth watching and trying too. You can find that at:
(You can also see the technique on a quick video on her Instagram page.)



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”)