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Sneak Peek Tutorial: Citrus Breeze Brine Soap by The Nerdy Farm Wife

A few months ago, I received an email from Jan Berry, the rockstar creator behind TheNerdyFarmWife.com, regarding her upcoming book. She wanted to be sure she credited me with the creation of the tiger stripe technique and asked if I knew the creators behind other techniques she used in the book.

I was so impressed with the amount of honesty and dedication she put forth that I had to get in on a sneak peek of the book. Lucky for us, I was granted that wish and am so excited to share her hard work with y’all!

Simple Natural Soapmaking
Simple & Natural Soapmaking

Jan gave me permission to sneak you in on one of the lovely, earthy brine soap recipes featured in the book, Citrus Breeze Brine Soap.

If you ​enjoy the simple beauty of natural soaps, this book was made for you! Make sure to snag Simple & Natural Soapmaking when it hits the shelves on August 8, 2017 (or pop down below the tutorial to get your hands on a special pre-order offer!)

Citrus Breeze Brine Soap Bars

In brine soap recipes, a significant amount of salt is added to the lye solution, creating a brine that provides extra hardness and a smooth finish to the final bars. While this results in a much more solid bar of soap, the extra salt will diminish lather.

To offset that characteristic, these brine soap bars have a higher than normal amount of coconut oil, which lathers well in salt water, plus added castor oil to help stabilize bubbles. A higher superfat of 10 percent is calculated into the recipe to prevent the extra coconut oil from being too drying for some skin types.

Coconut water can be used in the recipe to slightly increase lather and add label appeal, but if none is available, plain distilled water works well, too!

Citrus Breeze Brine Bars
Citrus Breeze Brine Soap Bars

Citrus Breeze Brine Soap Bars Recipe

  • 9.5 oz (269 g) coconut water or distilled water (29.37% lye concentration)
  • 3.95 oz (112 g) sodium hydroxide (10% superfat)
  • 1.5 oz (43 g) sea salt
  • 12 oz (340 g) coconut oil (42.9% of the oils)
  • 10 oz (283 g) olive oil (35.7% of the oils)
  • 4 oz (113 g) sunflower or sweet almond oil (14.3% of the oils)
  • 2 oz (57 g) castor oil (7.1% of the oils)
  • 0.88 oz (25 g) 10× (ten-fold) orange essential oil
  • 0.53 oz (15 g) grapefruit essential oil

Notes & Substitution Tips:

Depending on the type of coconut water used, your lye may turn various shades of yellow to golden brown. This is normal and won’t significantly affect the final color of the soap!

Carefully stir lye into the coconut water until completely dissolved
Depending on the type of coconut water used, Your lye may turn various shades of yellow to golden brown.

This brine soap recipe works wonderfully in individual molds, even the clear plastic type that can be difficult to use with other cold process soap recipes.

If castor oil is unavailable, you can use more olive oil in its place, keeping in mind that castor oil helps promote stable lather while olive oil does not, so your soap will be less bubbly.

Yield: 2.5 lbs/1.13 kg of soap

Step 1

Assemble all of the ingredients for the brine soap, along with safety gear, soap molds and equipment needed. All soapmaking ingredients, including liquids, should be weighed using an accurate scale.

All soapmaking ingredients, including liquids, should be weighed using an accurate scale
All soapmaking ingredients, including liquids, should be weighed using an accurate scale.

Step 2

Working in a well ventilated area and wearing protective gloves and eyewear, carefully stir the lye into the coconut water or distilled water until completely dissolved. Next, stir in the salt until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the temperature drops to around 100° to 110°F (38° to 43°C).

Stir in the salt until completely dissolved
Stir in the salt until completely dissolved.

Step 3

Melt the coconut oil, then add to the other oils. Pour the cooled lye solution into the warmed oils.

Pour the cooled lye solution into the warmed oils
Pour the cooled lye solution into the warmed oils.

Step 4

Using a combination of hand stirring and an immersion blender, stir the brine soap batter until it reaches a very light trace, then blend in the essential oils.

Blend the essential oils into the brine soap batter
Blend the essential oils into the brine soap batter.

Step 5

Pour the brine soap mixture into individual molds for easy unmolding. Cover the molds lightly with sheets of wax or freezer paper, then a towel or light blanket. Peek at the soap every so often; if you see cracks developing, move the mold(s) to a cooler location.

Step 6

Keep the brine soap in the mold for one day, or until easy to remove. Cure on coated cooling racks or sheets of wax paper about four weeks before using.

Keep the brine soap in mold for 1 day or until easy to remove
Keep the brine soap in mold for one day or until easy to remove.

If you can’t wait to dive into the rest of Simple & Natural Soapmaking, you’re in luck. Jan is providing some special treats for Modern Soapmaking readers!

For a limited time (until August 8, 2017), readers who pre-order Simple & Natural Soapmaking will receive complimentary access to the 6 Weeks of Soapmaking Success e-course. Each lesson will equip you with information (including video demos) you need to up your soapmaking game. A new lesson will be released each week.
  • Available Now: Success with Fruits & Veggies
  •  July 13: Success with Flowers & Herbs
  • July 20: Success with Alternative Liquids
  • July 27: Success with Natural Colorants
  • Aug 3: Success with Simple Soap Designs
  • Aug 10: Success with Soap Label Design

Get the details to claim your bonus after pre-ordering here!

Simple & Natural Soapmaking (inside view)
Simple & Natural Soapmaking (inside view)

Snag your copy of Simple & Natural Soapmaking to enjoy on launch day (August 8, 2017!) Thank you so much to Jan from TheNerdyFarmwife.com for sharing her creativity and dedication to this craft with all of us.

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19 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I love the recipe but I have problem converting ounces to grams. The grams are different from yours. Would you mind helping me in this? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hey there, Hasna,
      It looks like the gram conversions were rounded very slightly for this recipe. Is that the difference you are encountering? You should be fine using the gram measurements as written.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Hi! I realize this isn’t a new post, but I have a question. I used to be a patreon subscriber and would save my questions for the Ask Me Anything days!!! Related to this post, I don’t understand why the temperature is important (let the lye mixture sit for 30 minutes to cool down)? I make almost exclusively milk soaps, so I soap at a very low temp, to try to keep them light in color…I freeze my milk and use ice cubes and cold water for any remaining liquids. When not using milk, what is the reason for needing the lye mixture to stay under a certain temp when going into the oils? or for making the oils be at a certain temp?
    Thanks! fingers crossed someone will reply!

    1. Higher temps speed up trace. So it is standard to let the lye cool down enough that you have time to mix well and get the soap into the mold before it gets too thick.

  3. Hello there, I’ve been looking for a recipe for a traditional castille soap of simple olive oil, sodium hydroxide and brine. This is the closest I could find. Could I replace all the other oils with olive oil and just use olive oil?


    1. Crystal,
      If you’d like to try this, you will need to recalculate the lye amount since straight olive oil will have a different SAP value than the oil blend featured. Also, as the post warns, salt diminishes lather. Using olive oil and brine without the addition of castor, coconut, or other lather boosting oils might result in a disappointing lather.

      So, it comes down to a question of should more so than can you. And that will depend on your priorities for your new recipe.

  4. Hi Stephanie,

    Thank you for the recipe, I love it. I’d like to make soleseife with 100% coconut milk and 20% superfat, and substitute frozen goats milk for the water, but I am still confused about water amount, what is the best lye solution % for my recipe? Thank you.

    1. Moya, as noted this recipe uses an (almost) 30% lye solution with coconut water or distilled water as the liquid. You can play around with alternative liquids, if you are an experience maker, just be prepared for overheating and other potential issues.

      I can’t comment on the best lye solution for your “recipe” because I’m a bit confused on what you want to do. If you replace the water with goat’s milk, there is no “water amount”. Also, I’m not sure where the coconut milk comes in?

  5. Thank you for the wonderful recipes!! I contacted Kevin Dunn who wrote “Scientific Soapmaking”. He’s a chemist and when I asked him about the antipiotic and steroid residue in tallow he said that it is very minimal and that it washes down the sink with the grime that is washed away with the soap. My friend who raises cattle said that antibiotic use is kept to a minimum because it is too expensive to use for 1,000 head of cattle. It made me feel a little better about using animal fats.

  6. Hi Stephanie,
    I am glad to see ur soap making blog. I want cold process essential oil blends recipes. I am beginner in soap making . And also I want to know about lye liquid form solution how to calculate with water how much ration (liquid lye + water)
    Thank you .
    Jaya ( south India),

  7. Hi Stephanie,
    I am new to soaping. I just wanted to know what are the benefits of adding sea salt in the receipe.
    Thank you

  8. I realize that your salt is apx 16% of the water. Does that percentage bring relief to people with very oily, acne prone skin?

    If I wanted to raise the salt content to 20% or 25%, is there a formula or rule of thumb regarding how to change other variables like the amount of coconut oil and superfat?

    1. The only “rule” is the one of concentration of salt in water. The highest salt concentration that water will hold is thought to be 25%, if it’s pure water. Hard water, being already full of minerals, might hold a lot less, maybe 24 or even 22%, depending on where you are.
      As to whether or not the brine in the soap will soothe someone’s skin is up for debate. Me, I’m out looking, and I’m going to find out from my son whatever it will help his skin. Poor guy.

  9. When adjusting the salt content, is there a useful score to consider on soapcalc (like bubbles, lauric acid, etc)? Is there a rule of thumb to guide someone wanting to try different salt concentrations?

    1. I’ll give this one a try.
      The short answer is no, there isn’t because salt is a generally non-reactive element in most soaps. It adds only thought to be a soothing additive to soap if it’s dissolved in the water like in this recipe: or acts as an exfoliant if added into the batter. Other than that, it decreases lather like when it was historically made aboard ships or islands. Or so I’ve read. Which is why the high coconut oil soaps have been traditionally been made with a very high superfat, in order to counteract that tendency, and add lather and large bubbles.
      I hope that helps.

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