If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that I no longer use palm oil. I also don’t use palm oil derivatives (such as stearic acid). I gave a lengthier discussion here, but essentially, I don’t want to contribute to the devastating impacts that palm oil production has had on the environment, animals and people. In my quest to find a palm-free soap recipe, I stumbled on recipes that make hot process salt bar soap. This soap is palm free, rock hard and long lasting. Making hot process salt bar soap is similar to making other hot process soap, except my ingredients include salt, A LOT of salt. I use sea salt, but you can use any type of salt, except dead sea salt. Dead sea salt might make your soap very soft. In addition to sea salt, I also use coconut milk and coconut oil in this recipe.
Why Make Hot Process Salt Bar Soap with Sea Salt, Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil?
Sea salt, produced from evaporated sea water, is all natural. We all know the benefits of adding sea salt to our bath. Sea salt is rich in minerals that are good for our health and skin. According to Women’s Health Magazine, sea salt, with its rich mineral contents, “can help balance and improve hydration, strengthen the protective barrier of our skin, and kick-start the cell-to-cell communication signals that slow down with age.” Sea salt is also said to draw toxins and grime out of our skin, while giving us a deep pore cleansing. You can read more about the benefits of using sea salt on your skin here and here.
Coconut milk (not the same as coconut water) comes from the meat of coconut. It’s rich in minerals and vitamins. It’s great for our skin. It moistures and hydrates dry skin. It’s said to soothe the symptoms of psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema. Some people also think that coconut milk’s copper and vitamin C content might slow down signs of aging by preventing wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots. There’re many posts out there discussing the amazing skin nourishing properties of coconut milk, like this one, and this one.
Coconut oil, like coconut milk, comes from coconut meat. Coconut oil is loaded with antioxidants, like vitamin E. It’s a great skin moisturizer. Similarly to coconut milk, coconut oil does wonders for people who have various skin issues and signs of aging or sun damage. In case you haven’t noticed, coconut oil is becoming increasingly popular in skincare products because of its great skin healing and protecting properties. Also, coconut oil soap is known for its great cleaning power and its ability to create bubbly lathers. In fact, because of the high salt content in the hot process salt bar soap, the use of coconut oil is a must if you want your soap to lather.
Hot Process Salt Bar Soap, Palm-Free
Prep Time: 1 and 1/2 hours (including 1 hour of cooking time)
Yields: 10 bars of hot process salt bar soap, about 4.5 oz each
Ingredients for this Homemade Hot Process Salt Bar Soap
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- Coconut Oil – 28 oz. I use Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. You can get a 16 oz jar at Trader Joe’s for a few dollars. You can use other brands of coconut oil as well.
- Olive Oil – 7 oz. I use Trader Joe’s Imported Olive Oil, which is a few dollars for a 33.8 oz bottle at Trader Joe’s. You can use other brands of olive oil.
- Sea Salt – 16 oz. I use Trader Joe’s Sea Salt (fine crystals), which is less than $2 for a 26 oz container. I have also used Whole Foods Sea Salt (fine crystals). Real Salt Sea Salt or Bob’s Red Mill Sea Salt will also work.
- Coconut Milk – 13 oz. I use Whole Foods 365 Organic Coconut Milk, which is around $2.50 for 13 oz at Whole Foods. Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk or other coconut milk brands will also work.
- Lye – 5.25 oz. I use Food Grade Lye. Yes, you can use 100% Lye Drain Opener, which I’ve seen available at Lowe’s (home improvement store). It’s crazy, I know. I used Roebic Laboratories Drain Cleaner Crystals (100% lye). It worked well.
- (Optional) Rosemary Essential Oil – 1 tablespoon. I use Now Foods Rosemary Essential Oil.
- (Optional) Lemongrass Essential Oil – 2 teaspoons. I use Now Foods Lemongrass Essential Oil.
Some General Points on Making Hot Process Salt Bar Soap
I have posted a number of hot process soap making recipes, including recipes for people who have never made hot process soap. These recipes include Olive Oil Crock Pot Soap and Rebatch Soap and Hand Milled Soap. If you have never made hot process soap, you might want to take a look at these two recipes first. I wouldn’t start my soap making journey with a hot process salt bar soap, because it’s trickier to make than a typical hot process soap. The salt in this recipe hardens up the soap VERY VERY quickly, giving you a very small window to work before having to get the soap into the mold.
Also, in previous posts on soap making, I discussed the safety precautions you must take when working with lye and making soap from scratch. Remember to wear your goggles, chemical resistant gloves, long-sleeve shirt, long pants, and closed-toe shoes. It’s also good to have vinegar around to naturize any potential lye spill and splatter. Please don’t work with lye when your little ones or pets are around. It’s not a good idea. You can read more about soap making safety here.
OK, now that I have all that out of the way, let’s make some hot process salt bar soap!
How to Make Hot Process Salt Bar Soap with Sea Salt, Coconut Milk and Coconut Oil
1. Make lye solution. For this recipe, I add 5.25 oz of lye into 9 oz of FROZEN coconut milk to make my lye solution. I use coconut milk because I want to incorporate the nourishing properties of coconut milk into my hot process salt bar soap. Here is a post on how to make lye solution using coconut milk.
You don’t have to use coconut milk. You can use water instead. If you use water, then in a well-ventilated area (outdoor works the best) add 5.25 oz of lye to 9 oz of water (NEVER add water to lye). Stir slowly with a plastic or silicone spatula until the lye crystals are completed dissolved into the water.
3. Turn your crockpot on to low heat.
4. When your oil mixture is completely liquid, slowly add your lye solution.
6. Mix the soap mixture until it thickens to a pudding consistency. This means that the soap has reached trace.
7. Cover your crockpot and cook your soap mixture until it has a gel-like consistency, like Vaseline. It took me about an hour.
8. (Optional) Add essential oil into your sea salt. I use rosemary and lemongrass essential oil. Add and mix sea salt into the cooked soap mixture. You have to work quickly now, because as soon as salt is added, the soap mixture will harden VERY VERY quickly.
9. Add 4 oz of coconut milk into the hot process salt bar soap. Remember to work QUICKLY. The soap will harden in a few minutes.
10. Once you have mixed everything. Scoop the hot process salt bar soap into a mold. If you use a silicone loaf mold, make sure it comes with a frame. I use a spoon to press the soap into the mold every time I add more soap mixture into the mold. I found that by really compacting the soap mixture, it prevents crumbling (or at least a lot of crumbling).
11. Cut your hot process salt bar soap after the soap has been in the mold for about an hour. When you cut your soap, you will notice that it’s still warm. Don’t wait overnight to cut the soap, because the salt makes the soap super hard and difficult to cut after the soap cools down completely.
Cutting hot process salt bar soap is quite tricky, because your soap might crumble a little, or sometimes, a lot. I found that if I pack my soap mixture into the mold very very tightly, meaning if I use a spoon to press the soap mixture into the mold every time I add more soap into the mold, the soap survives the later cutting process with minimal trauma or damages.
12. After cutting, allow your hot process salt bar soap to dry (cure) for about 3 days. This brief drying period makes the soap rock hard and last much longer.
That’s it! These are the step-by-step instructions on how to make hot process salt bar soap. We have been using this soap for a few weeks and it’s fast becoming one of our favorite all natural homemade soap. It’s super hard and super long lasting. I haven’t had an easy journey on figuring out palm-free handcrafted soap recipes that make both hard and long lasting soap. But I’m super excited that I have now made a few batches of hot process salt bar soap and am thrilled with the result.
The best evidence of the awesome goodness of this soap came from my hubby, who said to me after he first used it, “this is a winner, babe.” He said he likes that the hot process salt bar soap exfoliates, cleans, and nourishes all at the same time. During my multi-month soap recipes testing period, he has tried quite a few batches of handcrafted soap with varying formulations. It’s great to finally get his stamp of approval with this hot process salt bar soap.
Will you be giving this hot process salt bar soap a try? I’d love to hear about your experience on making this or other soap. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. My next post is my second sea salt bar soap recipe. Unlike this one, the next one will be a cold process recipe. Happy Soaping!