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Tutorial: Spicy Lime Soap with French Green Clay, Nettle Leaf, & Comfrey Leaf

soap recipes and tutorials
three bars of spicy lime soap

My husband has been requesting a soap that features some of his favorite scents: West Indies Bay, Dark Patchouli, and Mexican Lime. I decided to whip up an extremely simple palm-free formula for him, with the lather boosting love of Aloe Vera, and skin-friendly colorants, like nettle leaf, comfrey leaf, and french green clay.

Since the essential oil blend is on the costly side for soapmaking, I used simple and inexpensive base oils, colorants, and additives to combat the high price tag.

I used an in-the-mold swirl technique that I refer to as a spoon swirl, (not to be confused with a spoon plop which is similar to a faux funnel swirl), which uses a simple spoon to twirl the interior of the soap in the mold. (I believe Celine of iamhandmade popularized this technique.)

This spicy lime soap recipe is sized for a 10″ Bramble Berry silicone mold, like most of my other tutorials. Or simply resize it using a lye calculatorwhatever works for you.

(If you aren't sure how much soap your mold holds, you can find out with this guide to resizing your soap recipes to fit your mold.)

Soap Recipe Used

  • 22 ounces Olive Oil
  • 11 ounces Coconut Oil
  • 5 ounces Cocoa Butter
  • 5.24 ounces Sodium Hydroxide
  • 10.64 ounces Aloe Vera Juice/Liquid (Bramble Berry)

I buy most of my soaping oils from Soaper’s Choice (Columbus Foods). 

Essential Oil Blend Used

  • 30 grams of Mexican Lime Essential Oil
  • 10 grams of Dark Patchouli Essential Oil
  • 7 grams of Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil
  • 5 grams of West Indies Bay Essential Oil
  • 3 grams of Black Pepper Essential Oil

These essential oils are from Liberty Natural, but you can use any fragrances or essential oils your heart desires.

Colorants Used

PREP WORK: Weigh out your soaping oils. I like to add my essential oils to my main soap pot so I can’t possibly forget them later. Make up your lye solution, too!

I keep my Titanium Dioxide premixed and diluted, so I can easily add it to my soap. If you don't, you'll want to prep your TD. In two separate measuring cups, I measured out the nettle leaf powder in one and the comfrey leaf powder with the french green clay in another, both mixed with a small amount of oils from the main batch of oils.

 Nettle Leaf + Oil Mixture on the left, Comfrey Leaf, French Green Clay, + Oil Mixture on the right

GET STARTED: Add your lye solution to your soaping oils.

Stick blend until barely emulsified, or use a whisk if you are soaping over 85 degrees F. This essential oil blend is a mover, so you want to keep your mixing to the absolute minimum (but it's well worth it!)

Add your Titanium Dioxide to the whole batch, if you are using it. (Titanium Dioxide will very mildly accelerate trace, like many other pigments. Some "natural" soapmakers choose not to use it - it's up to you!)

Pour a third of the batch into the two measuring cups, so you have two-thirds of your batch in your soap pot, one-sixth in your nettle, and one-sixth in comfrey/french green clay mix.

 Adding the Aloe Vera lye solution to the oils Adding Titanium Dioxide to the emulsified spicy lime soap batch Split the batch of spicy lime soap

 Fully incorporate the natural colorants into the spicy lime soap

POUR IT: Pour all of your french green clay/comfrey soap into your mold, and lightly tap your mold on your table to even the layer of soap out.

Flood fill (pour the soap over a spatula onto the bottom layer) or pour/scoop your next layer using half of the plain (white or uncolored) soap from the soaping pot.

Add a layer of your nettle leaf colored soap (using almost all of it - you want to reserve about one-sixth for the top of the soap!)

Top your mold off with the remainder of your plain (white or uncolored) soap.

 Pouring the first layer of the French Green Clay + Comfrey Leaf Soap into the mold Pouring the second layer of the Plain/White Spicy Lime Soap into the mold Pouring the third layer of the Nettle Leaf colored spicy lime soap into the mold Pouring the last layer of the Uncolored/White spicy lime soap into the mold

SWIRL IT: Insert a spoon into your loaf at a 45 degree angle, and twist the spoon in your hand as you move it down the length of your mold. This will move the soap on the interior of the mold in a circular motion, without mixing it completely.

Once you reach the end of your soap mold, you should have fully rotated the spoon approximately three to five times.

Turn your mold completely around and repeat the spoon swirl down the length of the mold in the opposite direction of the original spoon swirl.

 Inserting the spoon into the soap at a 45 degree angle to spoon swirl

 Finishing the spoon swirl down one side of the loaf of spicy lime soap

FINISH IT UP: Add the remainder of the nettle leaf soap on the top of your batch, and finish the top as you please!

Spritz the top with rubbing alcohol when it loses the sheen of wet soap, and cover with plastic wrap to help keep the ash monsters away.

 Topping off the spicy lime soap with the remainder of the Nettle Leaf colored soap Texturing the top of the spicy lime soap with a spoon

Remove the soap from the mold, slice it up, and give it a good cure. Enjoy!

 Cut & Cured: Spicy Lime Soap with French Green Clay, Nettle Leaf, and Comfrey Leaf

This spicy lime soap recipe featured in this tutorial is a palm-free and vegan friendly formula. It uses a 7% superfat and a 33% lye solution. Feel free to adjust as necessary!

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