Festive Christmas soap recipe made with simple layers of creamy and gold-tinted soap batter and subtly scented with raw golden honey. Includes a simple way to make swirled soap in cavity molds!
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This swirled honey soap recipe creates Christmas soap that looks like fudge — but with none of the calories. Naturally scented with honey, you make it by layering spoon fulls of uncolored and honey-tinted soap together in individual soap molds. If you make these at least a month before Christmas, you could even give them as handmade gifts.
This is a relatively easy swirled soap recipe that uses pure oils, rich honey, and a sprinkling of gold mica. The mica is a gold-like mineral pigment that looks lovely but can also leave a shimmer on your skin after you use the Christmas soap. Though this recipe does not include a fragrance or essential oil, it will smell subtly of honey. The honey will also help to boost the soap’s gentle lather.
Soap making 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. It will help to explain some of the steps. You can also get a full introduction to cold-process soapmaking in my soapmaking ebook.
- Soap Making Ingredients
- Soap Making Equipment & Safety
- Easy Soap Recipes
- Step-by-Step Cold Process Soap Making
Christmas Soap Recipe that looks like Fudge
This is a fun and simple swirled soap recipe, and honestly, it’s a Christmas soap that looks like fudge! It’s gold mica that creates the golden brown swirls, rather than the honey. Gold mica looks like gold dust and is the one ingredient in this recipe that is not considered natural. It’s made using nature-identical mineral pigments and an ingredient that gives it the metallic sparkle. Food grade gold mica is what’s used on chocolates that have gold patterning and designs on top.
Although this recipe does not include fragrance, you could use the essential oils and quantities listed in my Pumpkin Spice soap recipe. There’s also more information on using essential oils in soap here. There are also many fragrance oils with scents perfect for Christmas soap. Please note that that fragrance oils are synthetic and can cause allergies in some people.
Getting set up to Make Cold Process Soap
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 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 organized:
- 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
- Mold set out and ready
- Immersion blender plugged in and ready
- Digital thermometer at the ready
- Utensils laid out: stainless steel spoon for stirring the lye solution, a small fine-mesh strainer, and a flexible spatula
- Read all of the directions in this piece thoroughly before making your soap.
How to Make Christmas Soap that looks like Fudge
- A small bowl or jug for mixing the mica
- Stainless steel pan for melting the solid oils
- A large bowl for measuring the liquid oils into
- Rubber gloves
Mixing the Mica
- In a small container, mix the powdered gold mica powder into two teaspoons of olive oil. A small fork, mini whisk, or milk frother will help to blend it into what looks like liquid gold! Use the olive oil called for in the recipe rather than adding more.
Make the Lye Solution
- Put on your rubber gloves and eye protection (goggles) and set yourself up in an area with good ventilation. Under a hob, on the doorstep, or outdoors is perfect. Pour the sodium hydroxide into the water and stir with a stainless steel spoon. Be careful not to breathe in the fumes. Stir until the lye is completely dissolved.
- Set the jug aside to cool to 120°F / 49°C. To help speed up cooling, place the steaming jug of lye solution in cool water. I tend to place jugs of lye solution in the sink and fill it with water up to the level of the lye solution in the jug.
Melt the Solid Oils
- While the lye solution is cooling, 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 potholder. Stir with your spatula until all of the oils are melted.
Add the Liquid 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 also aiming to get it down to about 120°F / 49°C or slightly higher.
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.
- When the temperatures are right, it's time to mix the lye solution with the oils. Pour the lye solution through a mini strainer (to catch any pieces that might not have dissolved) and into the pan of warm oils.
- Next, place the immersion blender into the pan and use it to stir the mixture together gently. The head of the immersion blender should be completely immersed in the oil-lye solution.
- Bring the immersion blender to a stand-still in the center of your pan and then press pulse for a few seconds. Then stir gently again for a moment and repeat the stand-still 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 immersion 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.
Add the honey
- If you wanted to add any optional essential oil (or fragrance oil) to the soap, you can do it now.
Divide the soap batter
- Pour about a third of the soap batter into a separate container (a small plastic jug or bowl will do) and then pour the gold mica oil into it. Stir well.
Layering the soap batter in the mold
- Now the fun part! To get the same effect you'll need the same 6 Cavity silicone soap mold that I'm using. You can adapt the technique for a larger loaf mold but it will turn out looking a bit different.
- Alternate pouring a Tablespoon of the uncolored soap batter into one corner of each cavity, with pouring a teaspoon of the gold soap batter directly on top. A Tablespoon of the white batter, a teaspoon of the gold in the same exact spot until it's filled.I filled all six cavities at the same time instead of focusing on just one. It might speed up the process.
Decorate the tops of the Christmas soap
- To finish the soap, I used a chopstick to lightly swirl the tops of the bars and then dust them with gold mica. Use a fine sieve to dust the soap just as you'd dust a dessert with icing sugar.
- You're finished for now. Leave the soap on a kitchen worktop, or another place that's room temperature or slightly warmer, and leave it for 48 hours.
Curing the Christmas soap
- After the time has passed you can pop the Christmas soap out of the mold. It's relatively soft, to begin with, but as it cures, it will harden. Doesn't it look delicious too? I'd recommend against using a fudge scented fragrance oil for this recipe because you don't want to cause any confusion!
- 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 bookshelf on a layer of greaseproof or baking paper. Ensure that each bar has plenty of airflow around it. During the cure time, the excess water will evaporate from your bars and the soap's crystalline structure will develop. It's important to wait the full time if you want your soap to function and feel good on the skin.
- After curing, your soap is ready to be used. For the holidays, wrap the soaps in festive paper and string — I recommend red and white bakers twine.
- Once made, your Christmas soap will have a shelf-life of up to two years. Check the oil bottles that you're using though — the closest best-by date is the best-by date of your soap. That's because some of that oil is free-floating in your bars as the superfat, and it can go rancid over time.
Another Christmas Soap Recipe and Holiday Inspiration
When you make Christmas soap this year, don’t feel like you have to stick with a single recipe. That’s one of the reasons that so many of my soap recipes are small — so that you can experiment! Here are some more ideas for you to try this year:
- Natural Cinnamon Soap Recipe
- Cold-process Pumpkin Spice Soap Recipe
- Christmas Soap with Festive Swirls
- Christmas Tree Bath Bomb Recipe