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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! 😉

Classic Lavender Soap Recipe and Soapmaking Tutorial

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!

(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.)

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!

You could also check out the essential oil calculator to find a different blend to suit your fancy!

Natural Colorants Used

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.
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!
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.
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!)"
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 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!
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!
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!
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!

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23 Responses

  1. Tried this last nit. While the soap that came out is lovely, the color not so much..nit sure why but it came a greenish color, not ugly, but not what i wanted…i’m not sure what i did wrong…but now of fourse i have to try again….

    1. Same here, thought I followed precisely and watched the change from dark red to deep purple (got excited here) and then into a sea foam green. Only thing I can think of is I didn’t check temp of oils (room temp) Do you have any tips ? Thanks, I love your recipes

        1. Joyce, were your oils and butters all refined? Base oils need to be quite white for alkanet to work.

          My only other guess is that you didn’t get true alkanet. Sadly, it is an issue with some suppliers. We’ve gotten indigo instead of woad in-house, for example

          1. Stephanie, thanks so much for your tips, I’m going to check my oils, that just may be the issue. Pretty sure I got true alkanet however, I’ll double check that too. Thanks again!

  2. good greeting . 1 – Is it possible to add a substance to prevent tingling and oxidation in the soap produced? 2. Can apricot oil be replaced with any other oil?

  3. Hello , l am interested in producing laundry soap in Nigeria , West African country . Can you please be of help by sending me a mail on how best to produce the soap . Thanks

  4. Hi Kenna, hope you and your family are well and you are enjoying your new adventures. I purchased a slab of African Black soap from you when you were closing out your shop here in Phoenix. You told me to mix it with other soap but apparently I was on information overload and euphoric from my extra great deals on your close out. I can’t for the life of me remember exactly what to do. Do I keep it in chunks and mix it in freshly poured soap or melt it with the other soap? Thank you!

    1. Hi Linda! I like to break it into little chunks, and then stick blend it into the oils before adding my lye solution. That way it’s not too chunky. You can always use it or sell it as is, it’s just a little crumbly, sometimes. 🙂 Hope that helps!

  5. Thank you so much for the soap recipe! Lavender soap is one of my favorites!!! I just made your recipe and was hoping you could help me figure out what I did to cause it to come to an immediate trace when I added the lye water to the oils. I added the lye water to the oils with both at 110 degrees and as soon as I began stick blending within 5 seconds it was at a thick THICK trace. I added in the essential oil and tried my best to mix it in and then glumped it in the mold. Mine didn’t pour like your pretty picture above. Help!

  6. Not related to soap, but you have a memere! I haven’t met anybody else with a memere for years 🙂 Curious if you’re French Canadian? My family is, in Massachusetts, but I’ve moved away to the UK so no memeres around here. Gorgeous looking soaps, by the way. I was just looking for melt & pour ideas to do with my kids & came across your site. What a science! Love them!

    1. I am not Kenna but seeing memere in the first line of this article had me clicking! I have a memere too and also grew up in Mass :). Background on that side is French Canadian.

    1. Marlene,
      While you could use goat milk, it will likely change change your results, especially the final color. Also, alternative liquids make for a more tricky soaping process. (Probably not an issue if you are used to using milks, but a heads up for any beginners.)

  7. Hi, i have never made soap before, but I have just harvested and dried lavender and would like to try making soap. My idea is to use dry flowers as inclusion and aslo to create my own lavdener oil.
    Recipes that I have found for lavender oil are based on oils like sunflower or olive oil, which means that it will be yellow. From comments it seems that alkanet may not work right.
    What is your advice for a totale newbie on how to adjust the recipe so that I can use my own home-made lavender? Maybe other colorant I can use?
    Thanks in advance

    1. Larissa,
      We suggest new makers start with a no additive recipe so they can learn the process without the complications of color/scent/botanicals.

      Lavender buds will have a very unappealing look in cold process soap (generally referred to as “mouse turds”). Making an amount of essential oil appropriate for scenting a batch of soap will take many pounds of buds and specialized equipment, but a search for “essential oil distiller” will give you a look at the process to see if it is something you want to tackle.

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