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Tutorial: All Natural Cucumber And Yogurt Soap

Cucumber Yogurt SoapI’ve been dabbling in a few all natural soaps lately. Say it isn’t so! I can hear you crying, but it’s true. I have. I have some regular customers who are allergic to fragrances and so I like to keep a select range of fragrance free soaps in stock.

Cucumber and yogurt go together perfectly. In a soap they become a creamy bubbly luxurious additive for people who prefer minimal smell in a soap.

It’s also the beginning of Autumn here, which means cucumbers are in season, and therefore really inexpensive right now.

It was clearly the perfect time to make this soap.

Natural Cucumber and Yogurt Soap Tutorial

Cucumber and Yogurt Soap.

This recipe has been resized to fit a 10 inch Bramble Berry silicone mould. I made a large batch (3 x 8 inch moulds, or 2.4kg of base oils), but Iโ€™ve resized this recipe down to fit a 10 inch silicone mould, which is 1000g (35 oz) of base oils, or 1.4l (50 oz) of soap batter.

I love silk in my soaps, but feel free to leave it out if you don’t have any.

I’m a big fan of sunflower oil in soap. I know it’s an inexpensive oil and therefore doesn’t have the same label appeal as some other oils, but I really love the creaminess s and lather sunflower adds to a recipe.

Soap Formula Used

  • 400g (14.1 oz) Olive Oil
  • 200g (7 oz) Rice Bran Oil
  • 200g (7 oz) Coconut Oil
  • 150g (5.3 oz) Sunflower Oil, Regular
  • 50g (1.7 oz) Castor Oil
  • 190g (6.7 oz) Distilled Water
  • 134g (4.72 oz) Sodium Hydroxide

Extra Additives

  • 90g (3.1 oz) blended sieved Cucumber (if you don’t want “bits” in your soap, use straight cucumber juice)
  • 20g (0.7 oz) Greek Yogurt (full fat, unflavoured)
  • 10g (0.3 oz) Salt
  • tiny pinch of silk, cut finely

PREP WORK

In a lye safe jug, add your silk and your salt to your water, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Add your lye, and stir to dissolve. Set aside to cool. I like to sit my lye jug in a cold water bath to cool it faster.

Weigh and melt your oils.

Whisk the yogurt into the cucumber juice until it is completely incorporated with no lumps. I sieved my cucumber after I blended it, but you don’t have to. I didn’t want flecks of skin in mine, but that’s personal choice.

Cucumber Yogurt Soap Cucumber and Yogurt blended
Cucumber and yogurt, blended and sieved.

GETTING STARTED

When everything is at room temperature, you can begin. I didn’t want to work warm because yogurt can be an accelerator and it’s easier to avoid problems than it is to fix them later.

Gently pour your lye solution into your oils and stick blend to very light trace.

Switching to a whisk or spatula, gently stir the cucumber yogurt mix into your batter, checking to make sure there are no pockets of liquid left.

Cucumber Yogurt Soap adding cucumber
Adding the cucumber and yogurt to the soap batter. My batter is at very thin trace here.

 

THE FINISH

Pour into your mould and texture the top. My mix moved quickly at this point and I chose to smooth the tops of the batter with the back of a spoon, leaving the whole soap fairly rustic looking.

Cucumber Yogurt Soap filling moulds
Pour the soap into the moulds
Cucumber Yogurt Soap, texturing tops
Texturing the tops of my soap with the back of a spoon. The batter was almost unworkably thick at this stage.

GELLING:

You can choose to either put your mould into the freezer for 24 hours at this point, followed by the refrigerator for a further 24 hours if you’d like to prevent gel. Yogurt is a heater, so this isn’t always a bad idea.

Or you can do what I did and leave your moulds out to gel.

Gelling vs not gelling is a personal preference – I generally prefer to gel most soaps as it speeds my unmoulding process.

This soap is still curing for me, but preliminary tests show a huge amount of lather.

The Cucumber Yogurt Soap recipeย is an original formulaย created by Veronica Foale. It is palm-free, and uses a 6% superfat (plus a little extra from the yogurt). To make this recipe vegan-friendly, omit the Tussah Silk and use soy yogurt rather than Greek. Feel free to adjust as needed!

I used Sunflower Oil at 15%, which is higher than a lot of recommended rates, but I adore the creamy lather of sunflower oil. As long as your oil was bought fresh from somewhere with high oil turnover rate, it should be fine. Sunflower Oil is a staple in most Australia grocery stores, so it is an inexpensive way to add creamy lather to a soap.

Have you used Cucumber in soap? How did it work out for you?

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70 Responses

  1. Cucumber soap is one of my staples. I makes for a very smooth soap with a lovely dense, creamy lather. I usually use a cucumber FO in mine, and I love it!

    1. Isn’t it just the loveliest soap? I’m going to make an aloe and cucumber soap with FO I think, but for now, this one is amazing for my allergic customers.

        1. Would it be a good idea for me to use cucumber juice as water? Because I wanna get a green soap if possible. I just started making soap recently so your experiences might help. Thanks

      1. Awesome tutorial. Thanks.
        My first attempt at cucumber soap was not very successful. Still relatively new to soaping. Will still love to try the yogurt. I have powdered yogurt. Can I dilute and freeze before I use? Please what ratio of powdered yogurt to water?

        1. I don’t understand what you mean by powdered yogurt? Do you mean a yogurt starter pack, which you add to water and then insulate for 18 hours to make yogurt?

          If so, no, you can’t use it powdered. Make it up into yogurt and then use a portion for your recipe.

          What went wrong with your first cucumber soap? Maybe we can help ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. I bought Yogurt powder. Like goat milk powder. That is what I have. So can I make a yogurt slurry using the cucumber juice then add to the soap batter at thin trace? I think it should work. Can I increase the cucumber a little?
            Thanks for your help. I want to try this recipe this weekend…

          2. Oh! In my first recipe I went over-board with the cucumber lol…. I used cinnamon FO and ended up with cinnamon color. On the whole it was a good adventure…. It will be better next time I believe

          3. Hey Sarah,

            You can definitely increase the cucumber a little if you like, just make sure you factor that into the water amounts.

            I’ve never used yogurt powder, but it sounds like it should work. Let me know how it goes!

      2. This looks I interesting, ill give it a try but doesn’t cucumber puree go bad in soap? I mean is there a preservative needed?

  2. I’ve used silk in my cold process soap a couple times but I’ve always added it at trace like the other additives. Is there a particular reason you add yours to the water for the lye solution? Same question for the salt and what properties it adds to the final product. This soap looks heavenly though and I can not wait to try it!

    1. Are you using liquid silk, or actual silk fibre? I add the silk to the lye water in order to dissolve the fibres.

      As for salt, it helps with hardness, and unmoulding. Only a little salt is needed – this isn’t a salt bar. Sodium Lactate is a good substitute if you don’t want to use salt.

  3. You are using ~44% Lye Concentration! Isn’t your recipe prone to fast trace even without using yogurt with such low amount of liquids? Or is there a typo on the recipe?

  4. I can’t wait to try this soap. Currently, I make a cucumber/carrot soap, and a raw goat milk kefir (somewhat like yogurt), cucumber and cantaloupe soap with a cucumber melon F.O. (smells almost good enough to eat!) Typically I use only E.O. in my products, but I couldn’t resist using the cucumber melon F.O. in that recipe.

  5. I followed this recipe exactly today, and it performed perfectly! I even had time to use a spoon and make swirls in the top. I have never soaped with fresh milk or yogurt. The pictures and detailed directions were very helpful. I Hope it will help with the dry itchy skin, exzema and skin allergies in my family.

  6. I’m a little confused on the amount of liquid you use. Is it really 6.7 oz. like this recipe says or have you changed the amount.

    1. I made a larger batch and resized the recipe down to fit a 10inch Brambleberry Silicone Mould, but the ratios stayed the same throughout.

      Remember, you also count the cucumber juice and yogurt as part of your liquid amount. So 190g of water, plus 90g of cucumber juice plus 20g of Greek yogurt.

      If you’re concerned at all, you can increase the water amount slightly.

      1. Thank you so much for following up. I hadn’t thought about the cucumber juice and yogurt as counting as liquid. I’m learning, you see….. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hi Veronica, when you say you leave your molds out to gel, do you insulate them at all with this recipe or milk recipes?

    Thanks for the tutorials!

    1. I don’t insulate them, no. They go into a draft free cupboard, and I keep a close eye on them. They do tend to do a full gel without insulation.

  8. Loved the tutorial! I am a brazilian soap maker, still learning and enjoying so much this art.
    I have one doubt . The batch is quite yellow when you pour in the mold but the finished soap is a beautiful white. I cannot achieve this colour in my soaps. Is there any tip to get white soaps whithout using lard (I do not use any animal fat in my soaps) or titanium dioxide?
    Thank you for the wonderful posts.

    1. Hi Silvia,

      Your best bet is to pick oils which are quite light coloured. I use light olive oil for example. The end result will depend on the colour of your oils.

  9. I made this and somewhere I went wrong in the recipe, but played with a soap calculator and wound up with a really lovely soap. I’m going to try again the *right* way then go from there. While I LOVE the soap I’d really love it to be a tiny bit harder than what I ended up with. But, it was so creamy and mild that I have no issue with it as it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for the lovely recipe!

      1. Sorry for how long this took to respond! It wasn’t “wrong” but in the shower, it seemed to wash away faster than my regular recipes. It might simply have needed a longer cure/drying time. Anyhow, I make this as a staple now, for my friends and client who want a “naked” soap. I also use a mint/rosemary eo blend that’s hugely popular. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

  10. Hi, Looks beautiful!!! I was wondering do the bars come out a creamy off white colour like in the picture because the soap look’s like a dark gold colour in the mold.
    Thank you.

    1. Mine came out the creamy white without me adding any colour to them, but I was expecting the soap to be greener. It did look very yellow/gold freshly poured though.

  11. Hi Veronica,
    I was wondering what you think of this soap recipe. I want to use a bit less coconut oil but when I do it doesn’t lather enough or have enough bubbles even when I use caster oil. Do you think this recipe is too drying? I was also wondering what you thought about substituting Babassu oil instead of Palm oil. Thank you.

    Olive oil – 10 oz 29 %
    Coconut oil – 10 oz. 29%
    Palm oil – 8 oz. 23%
    Shea butter – 4 oz. 11%
    Caster oil – 2 oz. 5%
    5% super fat

    1. I would drop the shea down to 8% I think – high butter can contribute to creamy lather rather than bubbly.

      I don’t use palm, so I really can’t pretend to know exactly how this soap would turn out. That said, there are other things which can boost lathers: either milk, honey, or sugar added to the water before the lye.

      From my research, Babbasu oil looks very similar to coconut oil with its fatty acid profile. You could use it, but it might increase the stripping/drying nature of the soap.

      Also, I will always recommend a good long cure for all soaps. There’s a big difference in bubbles between a bar of soap at 3 weeks and a bar of soap at 10 weeks.

      1. Thank you very much Veronica! Really appreciate your expert advise. So helpful. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Do you mind me asking what you use instead of Palm? Also do you use olive and coconut oil? Are there any other butter or oils you use or recommend. Do you like caster oil in soaps?

        If you use coconut what percent do you use? Thank you tons. Have a great weekend.

        With thanks,
        Leslie

  12. I’m fairly new to soap making have always gelled my soaps. Is there a chance the soap will get too hot if I don’t put it in the freezer? I’ve heard some soap makers say their soap got too hot so they put it in the fridge. Is there a temperature at which I should refrigerate my soap because of the yogurt? Thank you in advance for all your advice!

  13. Worked well and I do no palm so was a nice recipe to add. used corn silk instead of silk and froze yogurt/ cucumber first with very slow lye addition so color a bit lighter
    Thanks

  14. I make goat milk soap (since I have milk goats its an easy ingredient for me to add). When looking at your recipes I was wondering if I could substitute goat milk for the water at the same % and get the same results? I know milk has fat so that might mess with the recipe a bit. But I would love to try some of these. Especially the cucumber yogurt soap.

    1. You absolutely could. I have done with no drama. I’ve also used goat milk yogurt I made myself for an amazing soap.

  15. Could I use regular instead of greek yogurt? I live in South-America and there is nowhere I can get greek yogurt…
    Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  16. Hi Veronica,

    This soap sounds awesome and am gonna make it this weekend. Am still new to cold process soaping but this soap is definitely on my to make list. Just a question, can this soap be safely used for babies too?

  17. Hi I would like to know what can I substitute for the rice bran oil in your recipe. Can I plz have the right amount of oils , water and lye after substitution. Just venturing into soapmaking. Made the coconut oil soap (hot process) and the cold process soap.

      1. great answer.. I get that question all the time. folks just do not get that a chemical process has taken place…

  18. The yogurt cucumber soap was lovely creamy and bubbly. How can I make it more moisturising . Please advice . Txs

  19. Hello, thank you for sharing with us your recipe… I am new in soap making, and I am looking for tips an ideas…. Can you tell me the properties that we get with this cucumber-yogurth soap? Thank you.

  20. wow – love the soap – so white and smooth – but – YUCK – the smell is horrendous – i used as fresh as possible full fat greek yogurt and juiced and strained my own home grown telegraph cucumber – that smelt ok – but together in the soap it is revolting – i didnt perfume it with either EO’s or FO’s as i wanted the cucumber and yogurt perfume i could smell before it was added – i also froze it before use – is that what i did wrong???? – or have i dont something else wrong????
    thanks in advance for any suggestions and help
    Liz

    1. Hey, Liz,
      I haven’t made this particular recipe, but I do use both cucumber and dairy product regularly. My first thought was that your soap might have over heated, but since you mention it is white and smooth, that seems less likely.

      The soapmaking process certainly changes the scent of natural ingredients such as these – they really can’t be depended on to add their scent. So, I’m not surprised that the scent didn’t hold up, but I am a bit surprised it is “horrendous”.

      Have you made a milk soap before? Some people find even that scent off-putting. Also, how fresh is your soap? I expect the scent will settle down during cure, but it still isn’t going to smell exactly like your fresh ingredients.

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