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Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe + Instructions

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How to make sensitive honey & lavender soap using pure olive oil, lavender essential oil, raw honey, and other skin-loving ingredients

When it comes to making handmade soap I like to keep it simple. Natural colors, real flowers and herbs, and plant-derived scents. This recipe follows on that ethos and sticks to the subtle scent of lavender essential oil blended with the sweet fragrance of warmed honey. It’s a combo that worked well for me in a cookie recipe and I might say that it does even better in a bar of handmade soap,

Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe + Instructions: how to make sensitive honey & lavender soap using pure olive oil, lavender essential oil, raw honey, and other skin-loving ingredients #lovelygreens #soaprecipe #soapmaking
Creamy white on the outside and a warm brown inside

Decorated with dried Lavender flowers

What I also like about this lavender & honey soap recipe is how elegant it looks. When you use pure and simple ingredients it’s always best to decorate the soap in the same way. I’ve used the natural tendency for honey to ‘warm’ a soap’s colour and have decorated the tops of the bars with stems of dried lavender flowers. No other colours or adornments are necessary.

The ingredients and method are making this soap are below and include olive oil as the main soaping oil. In combination with coconut oil, castor oil, shea butter, and golden beeswax this recipe is ideal for sensitive skin. Follow the directions carefully and you can make three beautiful bars of soap that will leave your skin feeling and smelling great.

Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe + Instructions: how to make sensitive honey & lavender soap using pure olive oil, lavender essential oil, raw honey, and other skin-loving ingredients #lovelygreens #soaprecipe #soapmaking
The inside of this soap is a golden color

Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe

12oz / 350g batch — makes 3 bars
7% super-fat
Read my free 4-part soap making series here

Lye Solution
47g / 1.66oz Sodium Hydroxide
88g / 3oz Water
Optional: 3/4 tsp Sodium Lactate — adding this will make your soap become harder, faster

Solid oils
88g / 3oz Coconut Oil, Refined
11g / 0.37oz Shea Butter
7g / 0.25 oz Beeswax

Liquid oils
228g / 8oz Olive oil
18g / 0.62oz Castor oil
1/4 tsp Raw Honey

Scenting & Decorating
4 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract
1/4 tsp Raw Honey
1/2 tsp Lavender essential oil
Dried Lavender flowers to decorate

Special Equipment needed

Digital Thermometer
Digital Kitchen Scale
Stick (Immersion) Blender
Silicone Loaf Soap Mold

Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe + Instructions: how to make sensitive honey & lavender soap using pure olive oil, lavender essential oil, raw honey, and other skin-loving ingredients #lovelygreens #soaprecipe #soapmaking
The lavender buds are held away from the soap by the stem. This helps stop them from turning brown.

Step 1: Getting set up

Safety first! Make sure to be wearing closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, eye protection (goggles), and latex or washing-up gloves. You’ll be working with Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) and splashing a bit on your skin isn’t the most pleasant of experiences. To learn more about lye and lye safety read this piece on the equipment and safety needed for soap making.

You also need to have all of your ingredients measured and your work surface organised. Open a window for ventilation, close doors on pets and children, and have everything you need laid out:

  • 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 (and the 1/4 tsp honey) measured into a bowl
  • Mold set out and ready. You’ll also need a towel to lightly insulate it so have that ready too.
  • Stick 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, additional 1/4 tsp honey, Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Lavender flowers
  • Read all of the directions in this piece thoroughly before making your soap.
  • To read my free four-part series on natural soap making head over here

Step 2: Create the Lye Solution

If you’re like me and have a window above your kitchen sink then you can work there. If not, you’ll need to create your lye solution near another window (or better yet, outside) for ventilation.

  • 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.
  • If you’re opting to use the optional Sodium Lactate (which makes your soap harder) then add it to your lye solution when its temperature is below 130°F / 54°C. It comes in liquid and powder form — if in powder form, mix with an equal quantity of water before adding.

Step 3: Heat the solid oils

Move away from the lye and begin melting your solid oils 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.

Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe + Instructions: how to make sensitive honey & lavender soap using pure olive oil, lavender essential oil, raw honey, and other skin-loving ingredients #lovelygreens #soaprecipe #soapmaking
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Step 4: Mix your oils

When the solid oils are melted, pour your 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.

Step 5: 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.

You’re aiming here to get the lye-solution and the oils in the pan to be within 5 degrees of each other in temperature. You also want that range to be around the 110°F / 43°C mark. It can be lower and down to around 100°F but if you go higher than that the honey in your recipe will cause the soap to turn a darker brown.

Step 6: Stick Blending

When the temperatures are balanced, 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 center 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.

There’s a photo below of trace with another honey soap recipe below — it’s one that you mix at a higher temperature so the honey makes the soap a different colour.

Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe + Instructions: how to make sensitive honey & lavender soap using pure olive oil, lavender essential oil, raw honey, and other skin-loving ingredients #lovelygreens #soaprecipe #soapmaking
Showing what ‘Trace’ looks like. Please note that this is a different honey soap recipe and your ‘batter’ will be far lighter.

Step 7: Add the Fragrance

When your soap batter has thickened to a ‘light trace’ it’s time to stir in your fragrance, the additional honey, and the Grapefruit Seed Extract. GSE is an anti-oxidant.  Anti-oxidants help keep the oils in your soap from going ‘rancid’. You do not need to use preservatives when making handmade soap.

Pour each of them into the batter and gently stir until they are all dispersed. Give it a good 20-30 seconds of stirring.

Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe + Instructions: how to make sensitive honey & lavender soap using pure olive oil, lavender essential oil, raw honey, and other skin-loving ingredients #lovelygreens #soaprecipe #soapmaking
Use a loaf silicone mold to get the same effect

Step 8: Mold & Decorate your Soap

Pour your soap batter into your silicone mold in a place where you can leave the mold for at least two days. If you’re using a Silicone Loaf Soap Mold like mine, it will only come part of the way up. Use your spatula to get as much of your soap out of the pan and into your mold.

Settle the soap so that it has a flat top. You do this by gently shaking the mold. If it won’t settle completely then don’t sweat it, it just means that your soap is now at a thicker trace and setting into its final form. Rustic textured tops of soaps are very much in!

The final touch is laying your dried lavender flowers on top, making sure to think about how you want to cut the loaf up into bars. When this is finished, cover the mold lightly with the towel making sure the towel doesn’t touch the top of the soap.

Honey & Lavender Soap Recipe + Instructions: how to make sensitive honey & lavender soap using pure olive oil, lavender essential oil, raw honey, and other skin-loving ingredients #lovelygreens #soaprecipe #soapmaking
The lavender and honey soap before being sliced into bars

Step 9: Cut and Cure the Lavender and Honey Soap

After 48-36 hours you can pop your soap out of the mold. Leave it sitting on a piece of grease-proof or baking paper for another day or two before you cut it up. Use an ordinary kitchen knife and cutting board to slice it into bars — note that in interior of the soap will be a light golden brown and the outer edges of the soap where it touches the mold will be cream. If you’ve used Sodium Lactate your soap should be fairly firm by now. If you didn’t, there’s a chance that it will be sticky and you’ll need to leave it to dry for a few more days. That way you won’t make a mess of it when you slice it into bars. Alternatively, you can pop your soap into the freezer for 30 minutes to harden it temporarily.

Next is the hard part — waiting for your soap to ‘Cure’. Olive oil soap takes longer than other soaps so you’ll need to keep your bars on that grease-proof paper for another six weeks. Place them on a book-shelf or another place that’s airy and out of direct sunlight.

Your soap needs all of those weeks to finish turning into soap. It also needs time to allow the water to evaporate out. After your six weeks is up, use and gift your handmade soap to your heart’s content. For full instructions on how to cure handmade soap head over here

33 Comments

  1. Hi,

    Thanks so much for your website. And for answering my last question! I am learning lots and lots. I read your post on how to change and customize

    https://lovelygreens.com/change-customize-soap-recipe/

    It didn’t really talk about clays. For example, I would like to make this lavender soap but add some white clay to it. Is this possible? How would it change the outcome?

    Thanks so much for your time and patience
    Bless you
    Angela Marie

    1. Hi Angela, you can typically add clay at the rate of a teaspoon per pound of soapmaking oils. It works for most cold-process soap recipes and you can either add the clay to the lye solution or at trace. If adding at trace, make sure to mix the clay with 3x its amount (in volume) of distilled water. For example, with one teaspoon clay, mix with 3 tsp distilled water.

  2. Thanks for the lovely recipes. Can I use any alternative for grape seed extract?subsititute with Vit-E oil? Please advise

  3. Do you have a site where you sell these soaps? For people who can’t make them themselves. Thanks!

    1. Yes, you could add the essential oils, honey, and a teaspoon of melted shea butter to melt-and-pour. You could also decorate the tops with lavender as shown.

  4. Hi Tanya!
    I just made this soap and I’m SO excited to see how it turns out. I didn’t notice until I was already started that you said refined Coconut oil and all I had was unrefined, virgin and extra virgin. haha I had everything BUT refined. Will that make a difference? I used the extra virgin. My lye water had gone down below 100 and my oils were just at 110 when I combined them. I just poured the batch and put the lavender flowers on them and the batch seems a little more gold than yours. I did use Olive Oil Pomace from Italy. It was a little more gold than pomace I’ve purchased before. I’m guessing that is what’s making my batter darker? I’m still very excited. It smells SO good and looks so pretty.
    Thank you for sharing your recipes with us!

  5. Hi Tanya

    If I don’t have Shea Butter, Beeswax or Grapeseed oil, could I still use all the other ingredients in the recipe at their specified amounts? I’d like to make an aesthetic homemade gift for my friends after lockdown and I thought your soap was perfect!

    1. The short answer is no. Soap making is chemistry, you cannot omit or change ingredients unless you recalculate the amount of lye needed to turn it into soap. I’d advise you to find easy ‘melt-and-pour’ soap to begin with. You can melt it in the microwave, add scent, and it hardens and is ready to give as gifts the same day.

  6. Hi Tanya. I’ve tried out this recipe and the Honey, Beeswax and oatmeal one. The soaps came out great. You’re a wonderful instructor, I would say. Thank you for sharing.

  7. I just yesterday found your site. I’m so excited!!! You have such great ideas and recipes. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Alot of trial and error will be saved on my part because of you.

  8. I just made this soap over the weekend and it came out so beautifully. I didn’t have any flowers to decorate the top, but I did use some dried lavender buds and just lightly added some.

    Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  9. 5 stars
    This soap looks incredible! Once I have done one but it was a jelly soap and not useful at all. Unfortunately it was destroying while I was washing my hand and to be honest jelly wasn’t the best structure! This honey and lavender soap is also a perfect idea for a gift! I am growing lavender in my garden so I could dry it and use it while making this soap.

  10. Hi
    Just wondering if I need to use the loaf mould specifically or can I use silicon soap bars moulds?

    1. Unfortunately many of them will, including lavender. The trick with this recipe is to not insulate the soap and to use lavender that’s on stems. That keeps the buds from being too exposed to the soap.

  11. Hello Madam,
    Your knowledge & exposure on the soap making is wonderful. We have seen many of your soap making pages on the internet on your website. We are intending to make such cold processed soap in India for our personal domestic consumption as we have huge extended family.

    If possible we would like to know from you that generally how much caustic soda / sodium hydroxide and water are required to blend one litre olive oil for soap making. Please let us know if it is not too confidential.

    There are many many webpages and videos on the internet and you tube but the proportion of ingredients generally varies from person to person. But as you highly experienced in this field thus your opinion is precious for us.

    Actually we like little bit strong and foamy soap as here in the India there is lot of dust around and the humidity creates the skin sticky thus if you guide us about the percentage of the lie we shall be glad.

    As we are going to use one kilogram olive oil, 200 grams of the aloevera gel thus please guide us in order to make the soap little bit strong and foamy (if possible) how many grams of the caustic soda/sodium hydroxide and how many milliliters / grams of water we shall need for nice soap.

    Regards,
    Vishal SHah

    1. For a 5% superfatted olive oil soap you’ll need 127 grams of Caustic soda. I’d recommend that you use about 200g of water since you’re using aloe vera too (at Trace though). Olive oil soap is very soft and sticky to begin with so it’s probably best to leave it in the mould for up to a week before taking it out to cure. I highly recommend silicone moulds for your project too.

      If you want fluffy lather in your soap, you need to use olive oil with coconut oil. Pure olive oil soap is fabulous but the lather is fine and more foamy than fluffy.

  12. can we use goats milk instead of water to any of these recipes? and if so, is there a different oz percentage? Thank you!

  13. I’m new to cold process soaping. This soap is quite loveley! Can this be doubled and put into two molds, or would it be better to make two separate batches? Thank you for your help! Your instructions are very clear and I’m looking forward to making more soap.

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