Natural cold-process soap recipe and instructions featuring elderflower infusion, rich cocoa butter, and a lavender and herb essential oil blend
by Jan Berry, author of Simple & Natural Soap Making
This natural soap recipe features elderflowers, an old-fashioned home remedy for softer skin, along with lavender essential oil for a relaxing scent. Before you make this recipe, you’ll first need to make elderflower tea. To do so, place about ½ cup fresh elderflowers (or 2 tbsp dried) in a heat-proof cup or container. Cover with 9.5 oz (269 g) simmering hot water. Let steep for around 30 minutes, strain, and cool completely. Weigh out 9 oz (255 g) for the recipe, adding extra distilled water if needed to ensure the correct weight.
Elderflower & Lavender Soap Recipe
Makes 7 to 8 bars (2.5 lbs/1.13 kg)
Notes & Substitution Ideas
- Cocoa butter helps add hardness to palm-free soap recipes like this one; if you don’t have any, try using kokum butter, tallow, or lard for a similar effect. Shea butter could also work well.
- If you wish to replace the sunflower oil, try using sweet almond or rice bran oil instead.
- If you don’t have bergamot and rosemary essential oil to create the suggested scent blend, try using 35 grams of lavender essential oil instead.
Step 1: Make the Lye Solution
Wearing protective gloves and eye-wear, carefully stir the lye (sodium hydroxide) into the cool elderflower tea until dissolved. Work in an area with good ventilation and be careful not to breathe in the fumes. Set the lye solution aside to cool for about 30 or 40 minutes or until the temperature drops to around 100 to 110°F (38 to 43°C).
Step 2: Prepare the Oils
Gently heat the coconut oil and cocoa butter on low heat until melted. When the solid oils are melted, take the pan off the heat and pour in the liquid oils. This helps cool down the melted oils while warming up the room temperature oils.
Step 3: Mixing
Pour the cooled lye solution into the warmed oils. Using a combination of hand stirring and an immersion blender (stick blender), stir the soap batter until it thickens and reaches trace.
Step 4: Add the Essential Oil
When the soap batter has thickened to the consistency of warm custard, stir in the essential oil(s) for scent.
Step 5: Pour in Mold
Pour the soap batter into your soap mold. Cover lightly with wax or freezer paper, then a towel or light blanket. Peek at the soap every so often; if it starts developing a crack, uncover and move to a cooler location.
Step 6: Cut & Cure
Keep the soap in the mold for 1 to 2 days, or until it’s easy to remove, then slice it into bars when it’s firm enough not to stick to your cutting tool. Cure on coated cooling racks or sheets of wax paper for about 4 weeks before using. The soap is safe to touch 48 hours after making it but it needs the extra time to allow the excess moisture to evaporate out. For full instructions on how to cure handmade soap head over here
Jan Berry is the author of 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home, and this recipe features in her second book Simple & Natural Soap Making. You can also find her at her blog, the Nerdy Farm Wife.