Tutorial: Natural Classic Lavender Soap Recipe
My mémère's favorite is a bar of classic lavender soap and she relies on me to keep her stocked up! Even though I don't sell soap anymore, I still make batches here and there for friends & family, this was no exception. The plus side is that I can also take y'all along for the ride and share my lavender soap recipe in the process! ;)
The beautiful deep lavender color of the soap comes from one of my favorite natural colorants: alkanet. I used an alkanet infusion (rather than in the lye solution), which creates a startling color change when the lye solution is mixed into the oils due to the pH change.
This classic lavender soap recipe is sized for my Nurture Soap Supply 2.5 lb Tall & Skinny Mold. (I use their silicone liner with my own mold box.) You can resize it using a lye calculator for whichever mold works for you. As requested, the formula includes percentages for your convenience in doing so!
Lavender Soap Recipe Used
- 12 ounces Coconut Oil (31.6% of the oils)
- 7 ounces Apricot Kernel Oil (18.4% of the oils)
- 6 ounces Olive Oil (15.8% of the oils)
- 6 ounces Shea Butter (15.8% of the oils)
- 5 ounces Avocado Oil (13.2% of the oils)
- 2 ounces Castor Oil (5.3% of the oils)
- 5.21 ounces Sodium Hydroxide (7% superfat)
- 10.58 ounces Distilled Water (33% lye solution)
I bought these soapmaking oils from Soaper’s Choice, but you are welcome to buy them from your favorite supplier!
Don’t have one of these oils? Find out how to make an accurate substitution properly, and don’t forget to recalculate your recipe with a lye calculator!
Essential Oil Blend Used
- 50 grams Lavender Essential Oil (100% of the blend)
This essential oil is from Liberty Natural, but you can use any fragrances or essential oils your heart desires. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative to lavender essential oil, you might find that lavandin essential oil works well for you!
Natural Colorants Used
- 1 tablespoon Alkanet Root Powder (Mad Oils)
- 1 teaspoon Zinc Oxide (Mad Oils)
- 1 teaspoon Cornflower Petals (Monterey Bay Spice Company)
PREP WORK: Before diving in, make sure you have all of your ingredients prepped! To create my alkanet infusion, I measured one tablespoon of alkanet root powder into 1.5 ounces of my olive oil in a glass mason jar. Personally, I used the heat infusion method for this batch, but you can also make a cold infusion, if you'd prefer!
If you've never made an infusion before, read up on making natural colorant and botanical infusions over here.
To prep, I weighed and measured my oils and essential oil in my main soaping bucket, as well as mixing up my lye solution separately.
I added my alkanet infusion to my oils, pouring off the oil and a little of the alkanet root powder. I wanted to use some of the alkanet root powder (it makes the soap scrubby and adds little flecks of deep purple) so I did not strain my infusion. However, if you don't want the flecks of botanical or the exfoliating action, you can strain the infusion with cheesecloth before adding it to your soap pot.
Please note that the 1.5 ounces of olive oil used to create the infusion is included in the 6 ounces of the olive oil - it is not an additional amount of olive oil!
GETTING STARTED: This classic lavender soap is a simple solid color soap, so follow your normal soapmaking procedures. Add your lye solution to your oils, stick blend until trace, and pour into the mold!
The best part of using an alkanet infusion in soapmaking is the beautiful color change due to the pH of the lye solution. When you add your lye solution, the infused alkanet transform from a lovely shade of deep red to a dark violet.
Slowly pour your lye solution into your oils.
These photos of the color transformation were taken in quick succession, and you can see how the color changes very quickly!
Pour your lovely lavender soap into your mold! When making a solid colored bar, I like to pour directly in the middle of the mold so that the soap levels out on it's own.
FINISH IT OFF: Like most soapmakers, I have a hard time leaving simple soaps alone! So, I decided to lightly texture the top of the soap, and finish it off with a zinc oxide and oil top swirl.
Mix 1 teaspoon of zinc oxide into 2 teaspoons of a liquid oil. You won't likely use all of it for the top of your soap, so you could cut this amount in half. To ensure you don't end up with chunks or flecks, use a frother to disperse the zinc oxide in the oil. Then, use a disposable pipette to drop dots of the mixture along the top of the soap. Next, use a chopstick or bamboo skewer to swirl the zinc oxide across the top of the lavender soap!
Finish the soap off by spritzing with rubbing alcohol and sprinkling cornflower petals along the top!
Combine the zinc oxide with an liquid oil, and use a frother to disperse the powdered colorant into the oil. (If using a different colorant, follow the saying "O for Oil, oxides disperse in oil. Ultramarines, marine life is in the water, disperse in water (or glycerin!)"
Use a disposable pipette to place droplets of the zinc oxide & oil mixture on the top of the lavender soap.
Use a chopstick or bamboo skewer to swirl the zinc oxide across the top of the lavender soap!
Spritz with rubbing alcohol to help prevent ash from forming and top the lavender soap off with cornflower petals!
CUT, CURE, ENJOY: Allow your batch of lavender soap to fully saponify, and then cut and cure the soap. Enjoy!
Classic Lavender Soap with Alkanet Root Infusion!
This classic lavender soap recipe featured in this tutorial is a cold process soap recipe, but you can make it hot process, if you wish! It is palm-free and vegan friendly. This lavender soap recipe, as written, uses a 7% superfat and a 33% lye solution. Feel free to adjust as necessary!
Want to build your own soapy success story, but aren't sure where to start?
One of the most common mistakes that soapmakers make when starting a soap business is diving in before taking stock of the details.
Owning a soap business isn’t easy, and there’s no cakewalk to be seen!
This free workbook will give you a strong foundation to build your soap biz on so it can withstand tornado-strength challenges rather than crumbling under a light breeze.
By signing up for this free workbook, you'll also snag weekly advice on building a successful soap biz directly in your inbox.