When it comes to cold process soap making, I have a deep passion for all things swirl and I just can’t resist the “in the pot swirl” (ITPS) technique.
I know that this technique can seem a bit intimidating, especially when dealing with lye, a slurry of colors, containers, and oils. But I assure you, when you make it through, and you will be left with a beautiful loaf of soap when it is all is said and done. Plus, in the pot swirls are a great technique for production as it is faster and less methodical than other swirls!
This Triple Lavender soap recipe is sized for a2.5 lb Tall and Skinny Mini Basic Mold from Nurture Soap. You can resize it for whichever mold works for you by using a lye calculator. As requested, the formula includes percentages for your convenience.
Lavender Soap Recipe Used
- 2.5 oz Apricot Kernel Oil (8.2% of the oils)
- 2 oz Castor Oil (6.6% of the oils)
- 8 oz Coconut Oil (26.2% of the oils)
- 9 oz Olive Oil (29.5% of the oils)
- 8 oz Palm Oil (26.2% of the oils)
- 1 oz Sunflower Seed Oil (3.3% of the oils)
- 4.3 ounces Sodium Hydroxide (5% superfat)
- 10.07 ounces Distilled Water (30% lye solution)
All soapmaking oils are purchased from Soaper’s Choice(Columbus Foods).
Fragrance Oil Used
- 2 oz Luxury Lavender fragrance oil
This fragrance was purchased from Nature’s Garden, but feel free to use any fragrances or essential oils that your heart desires — just make sure to choose a slow mover to give you ample work time!
- 1 tsp Titanium Dioxide (Water Dispersible)
- 1 tsp The Fox Mica
- 1/2 tsp Reformulated Neon Yellow
- 1 tsp Blackstar Green Mica
- ½ tsp tsp Pearl Violet Mica
All colorants were purchased from TKB Trading.
Additional Ingredients Used
PREP WORK: Create your lye solution and weigh out your soaping oils. I like to do this step first! It gives my lye solution and oils time to cool down. (For this recipe, we need everything to come as close to room temperature as possible. This is key in successfully achieving beautiful wispy swirls. For more tips in controlling the speed of trace, check out this article about taking control of your soap pot.)
To premix the micas, use 1 tablespoon of a liquid oil like almond or apricot oil per 1 teaspoon of mica (or 1 tablespoon of the oils from your soap pot.) Next, layout your color combos in pairs so that when it comes time to pour your batter everything will run as smoothly as possible.
Then measure out your fragrance. I like to incorporate the kaolin clay with my fragrance oil to help anchor the scent. It also helps me make sure it gets in the pot, and to not forget it later!
HOT TIP: To make the swirls pop, I chose contrasting colors. Since this is a lavender soap, we will be working with purples. I made the purple’s standout by choosing a purple’s complementary color: yellow. This same technique can be applied to any color combination of your choice. Here is a color wheel for you to reference.
GET STARTED: Before adding in the lye to your oils, add 2 teaspoons of Sodium Lactate to your cooled lye and stir. Sodium Lactate is a liquid solution that helps produce a harder bar of cold process soap as well aid in the unmolding process. It should be used at a usage rate of 1 teaspoon per pound of oils.
Then, add your lye solution to your oils and stick blend until emulsified. Once you have reached emulsification, begin dividing your raw soap (Not sure what that means? Find out in this guide to controlling trace.)
You will need three equal portions of raw soap for the base colors (The Fox, Blackstar Green, and Titanium Dioxide) and two smaller portions for the accent colors (Reformulated Neon Yellow and Pearl Violet). Feel free to eyeball your batter portions to your liking!
After splitting the raw soap and incorporating the colorants, hand stir the clay infused fragrance into each color (about one-fifth into each container!) Using The Fox colored soap as a base, take the Reformulated Neon Yellow portion of the soap to do the traditional ITP swirl. Begin pouring about chest height, at roughly 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Next, swirl the pot by moving your spatula in one full clockwise rotation then cut through the center of the batter. DO NOT OVER MIX!
Using the Blackstar Green and Pearl Violet colored soap portions, repeat the process again. Once these two have been swirled, pour the The Fox and Reformulated Neon Yellow ITP swirled soap at roughly 12 and 6 o’clock into the large bowl with the Titanium Dioxide. Next, pour the Blackstar Green and Pearl Violet ITP swirling soap at rough 3 and 9 o’clock.
Using your spatula, swirl the pot in a clockwise manner and perform the same cut through the center. Third time’s a charm!
Now, it’s time to slowly pour your batter up and down the mold! Make sure to keep a steady and confident hand. You can also keep your pour in one place or only pour down one pass for varying swirling effects. The possibilities are endless!
FINISHING UP: After tapping your mold down to release any extra air, scrape out any of the remaining batter into your mold. After all that beautiful work, add any final designs or embellishments to the top of your soap.
For the top of this particular soap, I used a spoon to texture the top. After texturing, I dusted the loaf of soap with Bishops Violet (TKB Trading) – a beautiful iridescent mica.
Finally, sit back and relax! You should wait 24 to 48 hours before unmolding. Once out of the mold, cut and cure your soap for 4-6 weeks!
Want to see this soap being made before you try it yourself?
This Triple ITPS Lavender soap recipe featured in this tutorial is vegan-friendly. Heads up! Unlike many other Modern Soapmaking tutorials, this lavender soap recipe is not a palm-free formula. It uses a 5% superfat and a 30% lye solution. Feel free to adjust as necessary!