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Tutorial: Vegan Friendly Milk and Honey Soap Recipe

I am not a vegan. But as a chef, I have always wanted to know as much as possible about food, the way it works, and how to make things taste good! I discovered nut milks and cheeses many years ago and was hooked. When I began to make soaps, I started to experiment with things other than nuts that can be made into milk, like seeds and oats. And the inspiration for this vegan friendly milk and honey soap was born!

Vegan Milk and Honey Soap Recipe and Tutorial

For this milk and honey soap tutorial, I decided to make a flax milk and an oat milk from scratch. And then, I used the milks as a water replacement in my milk and honey soap.

And what goes better with milk than honey? But honey can also be a food item that is off-limits to vegans. I wanted to find something that would perform like honey in the soap and make a strong case for it’s use as a replacement. I think I found just the product!

Preparing the Ingredients

Before we can use fresh ingredients in our soap, we need to prepare them! Here’s what you’ll need to make our two fresh homemade ingredients: flax seed milk and oat milk

Ingredients Used

  • ½ cup of flax seeds
  • ½ cup of old fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 cups of distilled water

Other Tools Used

Making the Flax Milk

BLEND IT UP: Place the flax seeds into a blender, along with 4 cups of distilled water (1:8 ratio). Blend on medium to high speed for two to three minutes. Strain through nut milk bag or cheesecloth.

Note: if you use cheesecloth, you may need to strain it multiple times.

A quick blend turns flax seeds and water into a "milk".
A quick blend turns flax seeds and water into a “milk”.
Strain the milk through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
Strain the milk through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
Save the flax pulp after you strain off the milk. We will use some of it later in the soap.
Save the flax pulp after you strain off the milk. We will use some of it later in the soap.

Making the Oat Milk

BLEND IT: Place your oats with 2 cups of distilled water into your blender (1:4 ratio). Blend for two to three minutes on medium-high. Strain through nut milk bag or cheesecloth.

The strained oat milk is a beautiful creamy color!
The strained oat milk is a beautiful creamy color!

At this point, I like to freeze my milks in ice cube trays. I tend to freeze any liquid ingredients other than water, so that they don’t scorch when adding the lye.

The flax milk and oat milk are frozen in ice cube trays to be used as the liquid in our soap.
The flax milk and oat milk are frozen in ice cube trays to be used as the liquid in our soap.

Making the Milk and Honey Soap

This soap recipe is sized for a 11.25″ Essential Depot silicone mold. You can resize it using a lye calculator for whichever mold 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.)

Milk and Honey Soap Recipe Used

This soap was made as a single recipe, with the liquid amount composed of equal parts of the flax and oat milks.

Soap Recipe

  • 16.8 ounces of Coconut Oil (35% of the oils)
  • 14.4 ounces of Olive Oil (30% of the oils)
  • 4.8 ounces of Avocado Oil (10% of the oils)
  • 4.8 ounces of Shea Butter (10% of the oils)
  • 4.8 ounces of Rice Bran Oil (10% of the oils)
  • 2.4 ounces of Castor Oil (5% of the oils)
  • 6.5 ounces of Sodium Hydroxide (10% superfat)
  • 9.8 ounces of equal parts Flax milk and Oat milk (4.9 ounces of each, 40% lye solution)**

** I know that this is a steep water discount. I like to do this so that my soaps harden quickly and cure quickly. Please feel free to adjust this recipe for more water: a 33% solution would use 13.2 ounces of water total.

I buy most of my soaping oils from Soaper’s Choice and Wholesale Supplies Plus

Fragrance Used

I left this soap unscented to allow the scent of the milks and the honey to shine through! You could use a beautiful Milk & Honey fragrance though!

Additives Used

  • 3 teaspoons of White Kaolin Clay (Wholesale Supplies Plus)***
  • 3 teaspoons of Sodium Lactate (Soaper’s Choice)***
  • 1 tablespoon of Bee Free Honee
  • 1 teaspoon of ground flax meal (use the strained pulp from the flax milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground oatmeal to decorate the top***

*** Optional ingredients

PREP IT UP: Prepare your oils, lye solution, and additives. The lye should be carefully and slowly poured over your milk ice cubes as you stir. The exothermic reaction will melt the frozen milk! I also measured out my honey and flax pulp to be used in a quarter of the soap.

MAKE THE SOAP: Pour your lye solution into your premixed oils. I added my kaolin clay and sodium lactate to my oils and stick blended before adding my lye solution, but you can add them at trace, too!

Stick blend until you reach a light to medium trace.

Next, divide your raw soap into two portions – approximately three-quarters of the milk and honey soap for the base color and the other quarter for the honey and flax pulp!

Add the honey and flax pulp to the quarter portion of soap, and mix until fully incorporated. The “honey” will discolor the quarter portion, creating a swirl that appears during saponification!

The Bee Free Honee is made from apples, but it looks and acts the same as regular honey. Add it and your flax pulp to a quarter of the soap.
The Bee Free Honee is made from apples, but it looks and acts the same as regular honey. Add it and your flax pulp to a quarter of the soap.

SWIRL IT UP: I did a simple in the pot swirl for this soap. The honey and flax portion did not look very different from the base portion, but in the end, the “honey” discolors the soap and creates a magic swirl!

Create your ITPS (in-the-pot-swirl) by adding the quarter portion into your main soaping pot. Be careful not overmix the ITPS, since you can’t differentiate between the two portions once they’re in the same pot!

Then pour the soap into the mold!

At this point, both portions looked identical, except for the small flecks of flax in the smaller portion.
At this point, both portions looked identical, except for the small flecks of flax in the smaller portion.
Pour the milk and honey soap into the mold! It will look like a solid colored soap at this point, so be careful about mixing up the soap as you pour!
Pour the milk and honey soap into the mold! It will look like a solid colored soap at this point, so be careful about mixing up the soap as you pour!
Texture the top of the milk and honey soap with a spoon and sprinkle on the ground oatmeal.
Texture the top of the milk and honey soap with a spoon and sprinkle on the ground oatmeal.

Cut, cure, and enjoy!

This was a fun soap experiment, both in using two alternative milks and also trying a new honey substitute. I love playing around with fresh ingredients and I always enjoy hearing what you have tried or would like to try. Or even some of your fresh food failures! Let me know in the comments below if there is a food item or liquid you’d like to see in my next Using Food in Soap tutorial!

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29 Responses

      1. Correct, JT. If a recipe contains honey, it’s vegetarian. However, this recipe contains Bee Free Honee, a vegan honey substitute, and it is a vegan soap recipe. 🙂 Hope that helps clarify.

    1. Annie, That is a good question. I have not had any issues so far with the flax milk in soap shortening the shelf life. Perhaps others might want to weigh in on this one, but this is my experience.

      1. I make milk soaps most of the time, they never stay on the shelf long enough to get a good shelf life, and I make 6 1/2 pounds at a time. All of my patrons are very happy with all of them. This is a great recipe, thank you for sharing!

        1. Hey, Donelle,
          So glad the recipe is working for you!

          Keep in mind that when you are soaping for business:
          -Part of your R&D process should be testing shelf life.
          -You should also be retaining sample bars from each batch as part of GMP.

  1. I am really interested in making and using natural ingredients in soaps. It’s a wonderful idea! The only thing I didn’t see in your recipes or food prep are the benefits of these ingredients in the soap. I am questioning is the targeted benefits of the natural ingredients. i.e. Is it good for dry skin, sensitive skin, acne prone skin, etc. I find that customers ask about about the benefits, if I don’t have them on the label.

    1. Marie, unfortunately, our hands are tied as soap makers when it comes to making claims about what our soap can do, other than clean! But this type of soap is very gentle, so it would probably be one I would recommend to someone with dry/sensitive skin. Kenna has a great article about what you can/can’t say here. Hope this helps!!

    1. Helene, of course you can use maple syrup instead of honey. But I really loved using the bee free “honee” made from apples because it acted like real honey in how it colored the soap and also in its aroma.

  2. Hi there! Thank u so much for sharing your recipe and method *heart*. Im new to soapmaking but there are specific ingredients i want to use to make soaps presently. I prefer the hot process and oat milk is am ingredieng i really want to use because my kids have eczema. Anyhoo, so i tried it and everytime i mix the lye into the oatmilk it starts turning into thick porridge. i did this twice and same result, first with room temp oatmilk then with oat milk ice cubes. I continued with it though and then after trace it separated. Then i stick blended it for it to come together, on very low heat and it cooked really quickly, over cooked. * Sigh * Why is all this happening- porridge, separation, acceleration? I really want to use all oatmilk and no water as well as i dont want to put oat powder (somehow i feel like its not as beneficial for skin compared to the oatmilk itself).
    Any insight is very much appreciated. Thank you.

    1. Hi, have you tried freezing the oat milk before adding the lye? It might be having issues because the lye is scorching. I do mostly cold process, so maybe someone else will chime in if the milk scorching isn’t the issue.

      1. My lye water turns to porridge like consistency too. It isn’t scorching. I’m just concerned the lye isn’t dissolving properly:(

        1. This is the third forum I have read on oat milk soap and this seems to be a common issue. One solution I have read was to use water to create the lye solution (about 50% of the water needed) and then add oat milk direct to the oils. This supposedly stops the lye and oat milk having that reaction.

  3. Thanks for this tutorial, i have a question just to make sure, but are you working in fluid oz for everything? I buy stuff here in grams so just wanting to make sure i buy enough and measure out everything properly.

    Many thanks

    Emma

    1. Emma,
      We are working with ounces by weight, not fluid ounces. We always suggest using weight rather than volume for your recipes. (You will see volume measurements for additives on this site occasionally in hobby-sized recipes by some of our guest authors, however) You can use either the percentages given or the ounces to convert to grams.

  4. Thank you for the tutorial, Just a pair of questions, I am new in soapmaking, in my county I can´t find Sodium Lactate, can I substitue for salt? What kind of salt work best? Sea salt or table salt? how much tbs ppo of oils can I add? I noticed that in all your recipes you add White Kaolin Clay, sorry about my ignorance, what is this for, what does it do to the soap? Thank yoy soo much. Regards from Mexico.

  5. I am really excited to try out this soap. Thank you for sharing. Any chance you have a photo of the soap cut to see the swirl? I’d love to get an idea of what it is suppose to look like. I’m sure it looks beautiful.

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