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Use garden-fresh or shop-bought herbs for this parsley soap recipe. It uses the re-batch technique, meaning that you will not need to handle lye.
I love using homegrown herbs and flowers in handmade soap, especially when it turns out beautifully. This parsley soap is no exception. It’s a light green with specks of garden green and pairs well with herbal essential oils. Parsley creates a pretty color worthy of being added to my natural soap colorants chart. It is less stable than mineral colors or even some other herbs and botanical shades but it’s a fun way to use homegrown herbs.
This tutorial on how to make parsley soap is simple. You don’t need to wear gloves, eye protection, or handle lye like you would in hot or cold-process soap making. It’s also quick, meaning that you can have your soap made in about an hour.
Parsley doesn’t survive cold-process soap making
Although the vast majority of my soap recipes are cold-process, this one is a little different. That’s because my attempts to make cold-process parsley soap unfortunately failed. All seemed well until a day into curing the bars. It was so disappointing to see my bright green bars start to fade. Within days they’d lost all their green color, presumably because parsley doesn’t like the pH change or final stages of saponification.
No matter though. I eventually found a method that works better. It’s also easy enough for beginner soap makers and for those who aren’t sure about handling lye. This recipe will give you bright green bars that begin as bright green but will fade over the curing phase to a yellowy-green. If you’re looking for a bright stable green I’d recommend you stick with clays or mineral pigments.
You begin by using soap that’s already completed saponification. That means bars of soap purchased from the shop or soap you’ve already made. If you have some scruffy looking odds and ends of soap then this is a perfect way to rescue them.
Rebatching involves shredding these bars up and melting them down into a paste-like consistency. You then mold it, allow to cool and harden, and then cut it up into bars if applicable.
Sometimes you make a batch of soap and realize afterward that you’ve made an error. Re-batching can save that recipe and yes, you could use this method in some circumstances. You just have to ensure that your soap is at least a week old and that you don’t need to add any more lye. As already mentioned, I think it’s contact with lye that zaps the color out of parsley soap.
Using Parsley in soap
For this recipe, I used homegrown parsley that I’d dried and finely pulsed. You could use the same, which could mean shop-purchased dried parsley, or you could use fresh. If using fresh, then you’ll want to double the amount used.
There are two main types of parsley, flat-leaf and curly, and either will do for this parsley soap recipe. If you use your own homegrown, it will make this soap extra special. Parsley is sometimes difficult to grow from seed so I buy a small plant in spring and within six weeks it’s pretty big. This year I got a tiny plant for free at the seed swap. Doesn’t it look lush now?
Soap to use for this parsley soap recipe
If you’re already a soap maker, you’ll no doubt have a box of scrap soap stashed somewhere. Use that, as long as it’s a neutral to light color. Deeper colors may give you a different shade of soap than what you’ll see in my photos.
If you’re not a soap maker, you can use shop-bought soap or slivers of soap that you’ve saved up. Again, ensure that the color is white or very light. Adjust the recipe measurements up or down if you’re working with a different quantity of soap.
Some of you might be wondering if you could use parsley in melt-and-pour soap. I’ve not yet tried but don’t see why not. In that case, I’d try adding dried and finely pulsed parsley powder to the soap base and not add any water.
Parsley Soap Recipe
- Prepare your soap mold. I'm using a take-away container like you'd get from a Chinese restaurant. It's lined with baking paper, shiny side up. You could also use silicone molds.
- Finely pulse or chop the parsley, place it in a pan with the water, and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for about a minute before taking it off the heat. Pulse the parsley-water with a stick (immersion) blender until you have a fine texture. It's my theory that it's the bits of parsley rather than the juice that ultimately tint the soap.
- Shred the bars of soap using a cheese grater. It may take some effort if the soap is fully cured.
- Place the shredded soap in the slow cooker and pour the parsley-water over it. Turn the heat on to high and gently stir every five minutes. I also gently squished the pieces to try to break them up a little. Try not to agitate the soap because you want to avoid it becoming sudsy.
- After about 30-45 minutes your mixture should look like this. Scoop it out of the slow cooker and press it into molds. It's quite thick so you may need to squish it in.
- Allow to fully cool, which can take 12 hours or overnight.
- Cut into bars and cure for 2-3 weeks before using. Curing involves spacing the bars out in an airy place and allowing the water to evaporate out. During this time the green may fade a bit. The best-by date of your soap will be the original best-by date of the soap or one year. Whichever is closer. Store this soap in a dim or dark place if possible, the color might not hold up well if left in the light.
Dark Green Parsley Soap
While working this recipe out I had a batch that I forgot in the slow cooker. I got distracted by something else and it sat on that heat without stirring for about two hours. When you leave the soap in the crockpot without stirring it will become pretty crusty. What was interesting about my little mistake is the color.
With the same amount of soap and parsley the final bars were dark green and quite a lot smaller. They were like cured soap when I cut the loaf! It makes me think that if you wanted to, you could carefully monitor and stir the soap over that time period to get this deeper color. Just a theory though.
More ideas for naturally coloring soap
There are dozens of different clays, spices, leaves, flowers, and roots that you can use to naturally color soap. Some of the other ideas I’ve shared already include purple alkanet soap, yellow carrot soap, and orange turmeric soap. You can also have a browse through even more natural soap colors.