DIY: Clean and Crisp Marula Hand Soap

This soap came to me while I getting some assessment information together in March as I really liked the design pattern in my head. I liked the thought of having oodles of green swirls. But you know, when you make soap, just because you have that swirly idea in your head, doesn’t mean it will come through. As I discovered strawberry fragrance oil even in small amounts causes wicked acceleration, and as a result, causes the swiss cheese like final appearance of this soap. And all the soap to look like it is an unhappy muppet rather than the original swirly awesomeness concept in my head.

Originally, I wanted to make something Irish inspired to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, but when I went to make the soap? It riced up on me. And then accelerated something fierce. So I went with what I got. I decided to scent this soap in a trio of odd scents for when they are combined and settled, it’s actually a brilliant fragrance especially for first thing in the morning. It’s clean, it’s crisp, with just the right hint of sweet to bridge the more complex scents of the two dominant fragrances.

everything is all set and ready to go! 

Our first fragrance is, dark chocolate. It’s lush, it’s warm, it’s inviting. There is always a wee hint of vanilla, and it smells like a rich, dark Lindt chocolate ball. This is the base note. Then, I added in some mint essential oils. I wanted something that lightly tingles the hands. Mint is basically a powerhouse of a scent. It has the ability to take over the entire scent of what you are using it in so when you blend it, you need to be careful. So using it in various ratios combined with other scents helps to calm the mint down and make it less bold. Unless bold mint is what you are going for. The last note is strawberry fragrance oil. It’s sickening sweet and makes me want to hurl when I use it because it is just so cloyingly sweet. But, used in combination with some other fragrances, its sweetness takes a back burner which makes the strawberry notes more of a delicate hint then just WHAMO I’m an attention whore strawberry!

Dark chocolate fragrance oil has a nasty habit of darkening up or discolouring a soap. So for this recipe, I decided to work with this discolouration and make the green colour the chocolate fragrance only. That way if it discolours, it’s already in a space that should be discoloured. Work with what ya got! Right?

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 11.08.27
it’s been a good while since I had soap this thick, fun times! Or more like an oops! It didn’t work moment! 

Next up, I combined the peppermint essential oil and the strawberry fragrance oil with the castor oil from the recipe. I’m mixing a lot of this soap by hand, so pre-mixing it in oils helps to evenly disperse it.

Now that we’ve got the scents out of the way, let’s talk actual recipe.

As everyone knows, I’m moving out of China. That means, I have oodles of oils and exotic and luxury oils that need to be used up. What better way to get them used then by in soap? So we have our usual culprits: olive oil, coconut oil, lard, shea and castor oil. Now, because I wanted to use up some fancy oils from the back room, I needed to change my recipe a wee bit. In the how to make soap post, I used 25% lard, but in this recipe I cut it down to 15% and replaced that 10% with marula oil. If you are a soaper, it’s a simple swap. To a new soaper, this change is like whoooa. Why did you do that? For no big reason other than I can. That’s why!

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sometimes… you just have to use a whisk to make soap to slow everything down as much as possible 

So I learnt whilst making this recipe that strawberry fragrance oil causes some issues in soap. This soap riced and accelerated. This means that the soap gets to be a little like rice and is more difficult to work with. I stirred it a little more with a wire whisk, but then that made the soap thicken up considerably, which made it more difficult to pour. So instead of pouring, I scooped the soap into the mold. Which then resulted in air pockets or the swiss cheese appearance. No matter how much I banged to try to get them out.

Air pockets don’t really present a problem in the long run if your soap has properly emulsified, just an aesthetically displeasing looking bar of soap. It truly is a sad looking bar of swiss cheese looking soap! My blue lines look like an upside down crack in Amy Pond’s wall, or an upside down smile. I personally think it looks like a muppet. These bars are kind of sad really. But! The good news is, I got to test out how marula oil works in a recipe, AND it’s only a 600g loaf of soap that looks bad! Not a 10kg loaf.

always trying to swirl

And just so you know? I really haven’t noticed a difference with marula oil in this recipe. So is it worth adding it in? I honestly don’t think so, I didn’t notice a difference. For marketing appeal, sure it sounds lovely to toss in some luxury or exotic oil. I mean think of it. Which would you buy? A soap made with argan or jojoba oil or a soap made with rice bran or lard? It’s a wash off product, it doesn’t stay on your skin long enough to make a difference in my opinion.

freshly cut and ready to cure then age 

If you don’t have marula oil, don’t fret! Swap it out for more olive oil. Or more lard. Or even rice bran oil. Just remember, ANY changes to the oils in your soap, you will need to send your recipe through SoapCalc. I’ve written out the recipe like you see below, a wee bit different from other people who share soaping recipes with you and much different from my usual DIY recipes. I’ve purposely left out the lye and liquid weights. I left it out for I truly feel you need to run your recipe through SoapCalc or another lye calculator out there. I told you all the ingredients, the superfat I use, the amounts of each ingredient, so if you want to increase your batch, or reduce your batch size, change the superfat, it’s possible.

This soap bubbles like a fiend! And bubbles are always important!

Just to recap if you are new to soap making:

Equipment needed for making soap

Ingredients needed for beginner soap making

How to make soap

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  1. Prepare your work space; wipe down all your tools and beakers with 70% ISP rubbing alcohol. Pull out your soaping equipment, and ingredients and get them ready. Are you wearing your safety gear?
  2. In a heat resistant plastic pitcher/jug or a plastic measuring cup weigh out your Dark Chocolate fragrance oil and add in your green mica. In another beaker add in your peppermint essential oil and strawberry fragrance oil and add in your castor oil, stir and cover.
  3. Prepare your lye solution and allow to cool to room temperature.
  4. Prepare your oils and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. In two small paper cups or two small ziplock baggies, add in your blue micas. Set aside.
  6. When your lye solution and oils are cool to the touch, follow the basic instructions for soap making.
  7. Divide your soap; 3/4 of your soap will be the cream colour with the peppermint essential oil and strawberry fragrance oil, 1/4 will be the green and Dark Chocolate.
  8. Combine the Dark Chocolate and green mica to the 1/4 soap put aside and pour into the base of your mould. Tap to try to remove any air pockets.
  9. SLOWLY using the back of a broad spoon or a spatula pour the cream coloured soap over top. You are looking to have the mould about half way full before stopping.
  10. Scoop out a little soap into the dark blue ziplock and mix. Snip off a corner and squeeze the soap into the mould. You are aiming for a thin blue soap line. Tap the soap to attempt to remove any air bubbles.
  11. Add in some more cream colour soap. Tap. Tap. Tap.
  12. Scoop out a little soap into the light blue ziplock and mix. Snip off a corner and squeeze the soap into the mould. Again, you are aiming for a think baby blue soap line. Tap.
  13. Pour or scoop the remainder of the soap into the mould, tap, and create a funky design on the top.
  14. Let the soap sit for at least 24 hours before touching it.
  15. Once your fingers are not leaving marks in the corner from you poking it (I do that too!!!), it’s time to unmould! Wearing gloves so you don’t leave fingerprints behind, gently unmould you soap, and cut.
  16. Let stand, cure, then age in a cool, well ventilated space for about five to six weeks.


there they are… my grumpy muppets! 



2 thoughts on “DIY: Clean and Crisp Marula Hand Soap

Add yours

  1. Aw, too bad it riced, but at least it was recoverable. It looks very creamy though! 🙂 Haven’t used marula oil yet, and based on your thoughts about it, I might save my money and try one of the other exotic oils. For now I am not ordering any oils because it is over 100 degrees F lately. NO WAY I am having oils shipped to me in this heat, baking for several days in a hot delivery truck. It might have to wait for fall.

    Liked by 1 person

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