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Tutorial: Espresso Almond Milk Soap Recipe

Recently I jumped on the almond milk soap bandwagon and I must say that I am a fan! It’s rich and luxurious, so of course, I had to soap with it! Milk soaps have been popular for quite some time, they are moisturizing, creamy, and they lather beautifully. Almond milk soaps have the added benefit of being vegan-friendly, which can be a concern for some soapmakers!

Tutorial: Espresso Almond Milk Soap Recipe
Tutorial: Espresso Almond Milk Soap Recipe

If you have never worked with milk in soap before — do not fear. It just takes patience and a bit of prepping beforehand, and before you know it you’ll be a master of the process in no time!

This soap is sized for a 2.5 Pound Tall and Skinny Mini Basic Mold. You can resize it using a lye calculator for whichever mold works for you. As requested, the formula includes percentages for your convenience.

(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.)

Espresso Almond Milk 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 Liquid (I used half almond milk & half distilled water, 30% lye solution)

All soapmaking oils are purchased from Soaper’s Choice (Columbus Foods).

Fragrance Oil Used

  • 2 oz of Espresso Fragrance Oil

This fragrance oil is from Bramble Berry, but feel free to use any fragrances or essential oils that your heart desires.

Colorants Used

Additional Ingredients Used

PREP WORK: Making milk based soap takes a bit of extra time and care. The night before, weigh out the amount of almond milk you will be using. Carefully pour it into an icecube tray and freeze overnight. Freezing the milk before adding the lye helps prevent the milk from scorching.

The next day, weigh out your soaping oils and allow them to cool to room temperature. When I am soaping with milk, I like everything to be as cool as possible.

As your oils are cooling, you can begin creating your lye solution. Remove your frozen milk from the freezer and put it into a heatproof container, like a stainless steel pitcher. Slowly add your measured lye, one spoonful at a time, and stir to fully dissolve. Set aside your lye solution.

If you would like a harder bar of soap that releases a bit easier from the mold, add 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate per pound of oil to your cooled lye solution.

When making milk soap, slowly add your lye to your frozen milk,. Alternate between sprinkling and mixing.
When making milk soap, slowly add your lye to your frozen milk,. Alternate between sprinkling and mixing.

To prep your colors, mix together the black mica, activated charcoal, and red vibrance mica with 1.5 tablespoons of a light liquid oil of your choice (or use oil from the main soaping pot!).

Due to the vanillin content of this fragrance oil, it will turn your soap brown. When I know this will happen, I like to alter the color further by adding the vibrance red mica to add richness to the fully cured bar. Next, mix your titanium dioxide with some distilled water until fully dissolved (or mix with oil, if using oil dispersible!)

Measure out your fragrance oil. I like to incorporate the kaolin clay with my fragrance oil, as I think it helps to anchor the scent.

HOT TIP: You can place your stainless steel pitcher into an ice bath while mixing your lye solution, this will help your mixture from scorching by keeping the temperature of the lye solution low.  You will want this mixture to be around 70 degrees fahrenheit or lower.

GET STARTED: Taking your cooled oil, burp the stick blender to remove any air bubbles. Then slowly pour the milk lye solution through a small strainer to catch any undissolved lye / milk clumps. Stick blend until trace.

At this point, you can totally stop here and pour your batter into a mold to make a beautiful and simple milk soap, but in this tutorial, we are going to go a step further with fragrance and design.

I like to strain my milk and lye solution mixture when adding it to my oils!
I like to strain my milk and lye solution mixture when adding it to my oils!

POUR IT / SWIRL IT: Once your almond milk soap has reached trace, divide a portion into two additional containers while reserving a larger portion in the main bowl.

In one of the smaller containers, mix in the titanium dioxide and pulse with the stick blender until you have a uniform white color.

In the second small container, add a small amount of the fragrance oil and stir. In this container, we will let the fragrance oil do all the coloring work. (I love this trick when it comes to using vanilla based fragrances.)

Finally, in the large bowl, color the batter with the colored micas and stir in the fragrance oil.

For the bottom of the soap we will be creating faux funnel pour in a container, and then pouring in the mold – similar to an in-the-pot-swirl or Clyde Slide.

In an empty container, begin by pouring in a portion of the white soap, followed by the dark soap, the uncolored soap, and then the dark soap. Repeat this one more time reserving a small amount of the white and uncolored batter for the top.

Pour the entire container of your swirled almond milk soap up and down the length of mold until all of it is used.

Once you have done this, slowly pour the remaining dark almond milk soap onto a spatula or spoon to flood fill the top of the soap. Make sure to do this slowly so you don’t break the bottom layer.

FINISHING UP: When all your almond milk soap is in the mold, bang the mold to release any air bubbles and begin decorating the top.

For this almond milk soap recipe, I drizzled the remaining white and uncolored soap onto the top and used a toothpick to swirl everything, while making sure not to over swirl, which would result in less defined colors.

Swirling the top of the almond milk soap!
Swirling the top of the almond milk soap!

Spray the top of the almond milk soap with isopropyl alcohol and place the soap in the fridge for 8 hours to help prevent gel phase. Remove the soap from the fridge and allow to sit in the mold for 24- 48 hours.

(Note from Kenna: An alternative to placing your soap in the fridge or freezer is to keep it elevated on a cooling rack or wire shelf, with a fan pointing at it, to keep air moving around it. A soap in the fridge or freezer can experience uneven saponification, typically evident as graininess in the middle of the soap, but also as far as separation or lye heavy sections.)

Milk soap can be a little softer, so don’t unmold prematurely. Milk soaps are truly a lesson in patience; but if you are patient, then you will be rewarded! Once it is nice and hard, unmold, cut, and in 4-6 weeks enjoy your luxurious milky bar!

**Once cut, the soap will deepen in color over time due to the vanilla content.

Want to see this soap being made before you try it yourself?

[youtube_sc url=”https://youtu.be/HD0rd_Gv31A”]

This Espresso Almond Milk soap recipe featured in this tutorial is a vegan-friendly, palm, and milk process soap formula. Heads up! Unlike many other Modern Soapmaking tutorials, this soap recipe is not a palm-free formula. It uses a 5% superfat and a 30% lye solution. Feel free to adjust as necessary!

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7 Responses

  1. Thanks. I love that technique. I’m finally, after about 3 years of making soap, getting comfortable with color. Now if I can only keep it liquid enough to get through the entire pour…
    Anyway, I also want to say that one thing I love about this blog is that you introduce me to people I never would have found otherwise. I love Izza’s art, as well as everything else on her site. Some of that will grace my walls when I have some again.

    1. Lisa, thank you for the kind words and going above and beyond and checking out my artwork! Stop on by my artist website any day.

      Also congrats on passing the 3 year soap making mark! To keep your batter liquid, I recommend you soap at low temperatures. Its honestly the only way I like to soap and it allows me to get some really lovely designs.

      🍃Izza

    1. Hi John,
      Thank you! This bar is definitely delicious and creamy! If you have any questions about milk based soaps please don’t hesitate to ask and please share your soapy creations!
      -Izza

  2. Hi Izza- I am really looking forward to making your Espresso soap this weekend. My question for you is; when the soap is used, is the lather really gray or black? And is it to the point of coloring a washcloth? Hey thanks so much for sharing your expertise, G

    1. The soap lather will be colored slightly, but shouldn’t stain your washcloth. Most of the coloring is due to the high vanillin content of the fragrance oil.

      Happy soaping Izza.

  3. This is one of my favorite recipes. The soap is skin friendly and creamy. Instead of the micas, I used a bit of cocoa powder for the dark portion and it was really yummy smelling with chocolate and the coffee. The cocoa powder will leave a bit of color on a washcloth but does rinse out.

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