Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Salt Bars (with safety update)

Up until recently, the only divided molds I have had are fancy-design cavity molds.  This is fine for regular soap, but I wanted to try my hand at salt bars.

Jenny at Lather Be Soaping posted this tutorial on salt bars, which explains a lot about why coconut oil (and the high percentage) and other things - definitely go and check out her post for more information and some pics of a beautiful bar of soap.  I wanted to try out making my own bars, and I got my hot little hands on some pink Himalayan salt to use.  My husband uses Himalayan salt blocks to cook steaks (which are delicious, by the way!), but I went and bought medium-ground salt for my soaps :)

I used the same recipe Jenny uses on her blog:
80% coconut oil
15% avocado oil (I love avocado oil!  I use it in all my recipes)
5% castor oil

I superfatted at 20%, since such a high % of coconut oil can be very drying.  My problem was understanding how to size this recipe.  I wasn't sure whether the salt would dissolve into the recipe or if it would add additional bulk to the recipe, so I sized it to fit a 9-bar mold for bars that were 3.5"x2.5"x1.25" (or approx 40 oz oils).  I added 36 oz of salt to the recipe at trace, since you can use a salt weight of anywhere from 50%-100% of the weight of the oils used.

I definitely over-produced :)  The salt does add additional volume to the bars (duh in retrospect), and it made nearly double what I was looking for.  Therefore, I needed to cut the bars in half to get them to a size that can be held (and used).

Here's a pic of the soap being mixed:
The salt didn't mix in as well as I thought it would...  I had to do the same thing as Jenny and switch to a whisk.  MUCH easier after that :)
Here it is in the slab mold before I put in the dividers.  One note on sliding in the dividers - I don't think I pushed hard enough on the dividers, and there was a layer of soap stuck underneath the dividers when I tried to unmold.  I haven't had this happen on my other soap recipes in this mold - may have been the thick batter and saltiness.
Love that pink color!
And here are the cut bars.  They got pretty crumbly around the edges when I tried to cut them.  I waited about two hours until they were solid-feeling (but still warm), and then cut with my miter box.  The soap was much crumblier than I had anticipated - probably because of how much undissolved salt was in the bar and I may have needed to cut them a little sooner...
The color is nice, but all the edges are kind of crumbly.  A couple days after cutting, though, and already the lather is feeling lotion-like.

I have a feeling that even though the salt bars may have won this round, I am going to win the battle!  (muah haha)

SAFETY UPDATE:  I realized after this posted that I am showing a picture of my bare hands with the caustic soap batter above.  When I soap, I follow the safety precautions prescribed by numerous blogs, including Soap Queen (Google cold process safety procedures if you're new to CP soaping and want to try it out).  I had removed my gloves to grab my camera to take this picture so that I wouldn't get soap batter on my camera from my gloves.  I just forgot to put the gloves back on for the picture.  Any soapers that are new who want to try this recipe, PLEASE PLEASE follow good safety practices for soap making.  

Listen to Sweet Brown - Lye Burns: Ain't nobody got time for that! :)



  1. Nice that you can see the pink salt. I can´t see any pink color in my salt bars. I would not dare to try cutting salt bars. That is why I always use single cavity molds.

  2. It's have been so long since I made a salt soap :)
    Thanks for posting your recipe, Chrissy! Nice work, the color is delicate, love it!

  3. I've used this recipe as well and it's a good'll like it! I'm down to my last bar and should probably think about making some more. The pink Himalayan salt is so a spa-like look to your bars! I want a mold like that, too. :)

  4. Your salt bars look great, Chrissy! I'm using a bar from my batch and it's so nice! I especially like it for my face. My salt bars ended up being heftier, too. Usually my bars are somewhere around 4-5 ounces; the salt bars were about 7 ounces each. Fortunately, all of my batter fit into my slab mold. Thanks so much for sharing my blog post! I appreciate the shout-out. I hope you enjoy your salt bars!

  5. Love the salt bars Chrissy, the pink salt looks so nice! I really need to try making a salt bar, I love the look of this recipe too. I have a similar mold, what adjustments would you make to resizing the recipe for next time?

  6. Thanks for the great comments, Natalia, Marika and Kalla! These soaps are kind of crumbly where I cut them, and I will now not make the same mistake I made earlier by making nearly double the recipe I needed to fit my mold. Live and learn, I guess. My hubby and my family / friends are going to have some fantastic soaps to try out in about 4 weeks :)

    Jenny - you wrote a great blog post on this - I certainly can't improve on the information you shared, so I decided to take a different approach to writing on my salt bars. Thanks for the nice comments!

    Cee - I am going to try to make this recipe again, but I thought I would size it including the weight of the salt, and then maybe add another 10% or so in case some salt dissolves. So, for the Soap Hutch mold, I wanted to try to size it for 25 oz oils and then 20~ ish oz salt. If you try this before I do, let me know if you have a size that works!


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