Golden Honey & Golden Swirls
This natural honey soap recipe creates bars that look like fudge but have none of the calories. It’s made with simple layers of creamy and mica tinted soap batter and subtly scented with raw golden honey. Dressed up in festive bakers twine and sprinkles of gold mica, it makes a lovely and guilt-free gift.
Festive Honey Soap Recipe
This one pound (454g) recipe will create 5-6 standard sized bars. If you’re interested in getting the same soap mould, there’s a link below.
124g (4.3oz) Water
69g (2.45oz) Sodium Hydroxide (Lye)
Natural Soapmaking for Beginners Series
If you’ve never made soap before, I highly recommend that you look through my free natural soap making for beginners series. Beginning with Ingredients, the series will walk you through the materials and equipment you’ll need and an introduction to the soap making process.
Step 1: Getting set up
To protect yourself from any oils or lye splashing onto you, wear closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, an apron, goggles, and gloves. The gloves can be latex, vinyl, or ordinary washing-up gloves. Learn more about lye and lye safety in this piece
Work in your kitchen but make sure that it’s properly ventilated. This could be as simple as having an open window or exterior door. It also helps to get completely set up before you begin — here’s a check-list to help you get organised:
- Sodium Hydroxide and water measured into heat-proof containers: glass, pyrex, or polypropelene plastic
- Solid oils measured into a small stainless steel pan.
- Liquid oils measured into a bowl
- Moulds set out and ready
- Stick (immersion) blender plugged in and ready
- Digital thermometer out
- Utensils laid out: stainless steel spoon for stirring the lye solution, a small fine-mesh strainer, and a flexible spatula
- Fragrance and extras at the ready: essential oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Orange zest
- Read all of the directions in this piece thoroughly before making your soap.
- To read my free four-part series on natural soapmaking head over here
Step 2: Mix the mica with oil
In a small container, mix the powdered gold mica powder into about a Tablespoon of the olive oil. It will look like liquid gold! A small fork, mini wisk, or milk frother will help to blend it.
Step 3: Create the Lye Solution
Make sure your goggles, gloves, and apron is on before you make your lye solution.
- Holding the jug of water away from you and towards that open window, pour the lye crystals into the water and stir well. Steam, fumes, and heat are the product of water and dry lye combining. Be wary of all three.
- Place the steaming jug of lye-water in the sink. Next fill the sink with a little water to help the lye solution cool. Use a basin if you’re working away from your sink.
Step 4: Heat the solid oils
Move away from the lye and begin melting the solid oils together on the lowest heat possible on your hob. When there are just a few pieces of solid oil floating in the pan, turn off the heat and move the pan to a pot holder. Stir with your spatula until all of the oils are melted.
Step 5: Mix your oils
When the solid oils are melted, pour the liquid oils into the pan. Use the spatula to get as much of it in as possible (castor oil has a real tendency to stick). Now measure the temperature of your oils with your digital thermometer. You’re aiming to get it down to about 110°F / 43°C or slightly higher.
Step 6: Balance the temperatures
Once you have a read on your oil temperature, head back over to the lye solution and take its temperature too. It’s fine to go back and forth with the digital thermometer for both. The lye solution should be within ten degrees of the oils and can be either warmer or cooler.
Step 7: Stick Blending
When the temperatures are right, it’s time to mix the lye-solution with the oils. Pour the lye-solution through the mini strainer (to catch any pieces that might not have dissolved) and into the pan of warm oils.
Next, place the stick blender into the pan and use it to stir the mixture together gently. The head of the stick blender should be completely immersed in the oil-lye solution. If it isn’t, you need to use a smaller pan.
Bring the stick blender to a stand-still in the centre of your pan and then press pulse for a few seconds. Then stir gently again for a moments and repeat the stand-still stick blending.
Continue pulsing and stirring your soap batter until it hits a light ‘Trace’. This means that the batter thickens and if some of it dribbles down from the stick blender, it will leave a mark on the surface of your soap-batter before melting back in. It’s important for this recipe that the trace is not too thick, otherwise it will be difficult to create the effect.
Step 8: Add the Essential oils & Extras
When your soap batter has thickened to a ‘light trace’ it’s time to stir in the honey and the Grapefruit Seed Extract. Grapefruit Seed Extract is an antioxidant and will help keep the oils in your soap from going rancid.
Pour each of them into the soap and gently stir until they are all dispersed. Give it a good 20-30 seconds of stirring.
Step 9: Divide the soap batter
Pour about a third of the soap batter into a separate container and then pour add the gold oil to it. Stir well.
Step 10: Pour the soap into your mould
Now the fun part! To get the same effect you’ll need the same 6 Cavity silicone soap mould that I’m using. You can adapt the technique for a larger loaf mould but it will turn out looking a bit different.
You are going to alternate pouring a Tablespoon of the uncoloured soap batter into one corner of each cavity, with pouring a teaspoon of the gold directly on top. A Tablespoon of the white batter, a teaspoon of the gold in the same exact spot until the cavity is filled.
I actually filled all six cavities at the same time instead of focusing on just one. It might speed up the process.
Step 11: Decorate the tops
To finish the soap, I used a chopstick to lightly swirl the tops of the bars and then dusted them with gold mica. Use a fine sieve to dust the soap just as you’d dust a dessert with icing sugar.
Step 12: Curing
After 24 hours you can pop your soaps out of the mould. It’s relatively soft to begin with but as it cures, it will harden.
Next is the hard part — waiting for your soap to ‘Cure’. Keep your bars in a cool, dry, airy, and dim place for four to six weeks. Place them on a book-shelf on a layer of grease-proof or baking paper. For full instructions on how to cure handmade soap head over here
After the time is up, your soap is ready to be used. For the holidays, wrap the soaps in festive paper and string to give away as gifts.