Not your grandma’s lavender soap recipe
Lavender soap recipe with an earthy base note and decorated with dried flowers and poppy seeds. Includes full DIY instructions.
Don’t let this soap’s pretty looks fool you — she’s got a complex modern scent that’s a twist on a classic lavender soap. Though some people aren’t big fans of patchouli oil on its own, when blended with lavender it becomes something else. A deep and earthy base that highlights, rather than detracts, from the floral aroma. It’s a scent that makes lavender less traditional and even appeals to the guys.
In this simple soap recipe you’ll make six bars of what I like to think of as lavender spice soap. It’s colored with a purple mineral and speckled throughout with tiny poppy seeds. It’s a great recipe to get you started making soap and there are even more recipes for you to try at the end.
Using lavender buds in soap
Many herbs and flowers can be used to decorate handmade soap but can turn brown over time. Lavender buds are one of them. If you mix them into your soap base, expect them to turn a rusty brown within days. Maybe not the look you were going for.
Even decorating the tops of wet soap can cause them to brown pretty quickly. In this recipe I quite like the contrast of brown against the lavender soap color. If you’re not a fan, don’t worry, there’s a way to avoid this.
In the recipe I give the directions to sprinkle the lavender buds on top of the soap right after you make it. Avoid any chance of discoloration by first making and curing the soap completely. When that month has passed, spray the tops of your bars with witch hazel or alcohol and sprinkle the lavender buds on. As the liquid dries, it causes the lavender to stick on top.
Soap Making Equipment
Much of the soap making equipment you need could already be in your kitchen. Rubber washing-up gloves, bowls, and even silicone molds. If you don’t have everything, you can purchase it online relatively inexpensively. Also make sure to check out second-hand shops for pots and other items.
To protect yourself from the lye-solution you should always wear eye protection (goggles) and rubber gloves. Here’s more of what you’ll need:
- Digital Thermometer gun
- Digital Kitchen Scale
- Stick (Immersion) Blender
- Stainless steel pan for melting the solid oils
- Heat-proof jug for the lye-solution
- A large bowl for measuring the liquid oils into
- Rubber spatula for stirring and scraping
- A small dish for mixing the color in
- Small sieve (strainer)
- Mixing color is a whizz with a milk frother
- A standard take-out container as a soap mold. Line it in baking/grease-proof paper
Poppy Seed & Lavender Soap recipe
A deeply scented palm-free soap recipe with sweet lavender, spicy patchouli, and poppy seeds. Technical information: 1lb / 454g batch -- 5% superfat -- 35.7% lye solution
- 64 g Sodium hydroxide 2.27 oz
- 115 g Distilled water 4.06 oz
Add after Trace
Pre-mix the Ultramarine violet in about a Tablespoon of the olive oil. Prepare your soap mold(s) now too. The one I'm using is a clean take-out container lined with two strips of baking paper. One laid lengthwise, and the other one across. Leaving overlapping paper will help you get the soap out when it's ready.
Next, dissolve the lye (Sodium hydroxide) crystals in water. Gear up with eye protection, gloves, and wear a long sleeved top. In an airy place, outdoors is best, pour the lye crystals into the water and stir well. There will be a lot of heat and steam so be careful. Try not to breath it in. Leave outside in a safe place, or in a shallow basin of water to cool.
Melt the solid oils in a stainless steel pan on very low heat. When melted, remove from the heat and set on a pot holder. Pour in the liquid oils including the colored oil.
Measure the temperatures of the lye-water and the oils. You should aim to cool them both to be about 120°F / 49°C.
Pour the lye-solution into the pan of oils. I tend to always pour the liquid through a sieve to catch any potential undissolved lye or bits.
Dip your immersion blender into the pan and with it turned off, stir the mixture. Next, bring it to the center of the pan and with both your hands, hold it on the bottom of the pan and blitz it for just a couple seconds. Turn it off and stir the soap batter, using the blender as a spoon. Repeat until the mixture thickens up to 'Trace'. This is when the batter leaves a distinguishable trail on the surface. The consistency will be like thin custard.
With your spatula, stir in the essential oils. When mixed in, sprinkle in the poppy seeds and stir well. Working quickly, pour the soap into the mold(s). Sprinkle the top with dried lavender buds.
Turn your oven on to very low and heat for just a minute or two until it's 100°F / 38°C. Then turn your oven off, and pop your soap mold(s) inside. Leave overnight. Oven-processing the soap like this intensifies the color.
The next day, take the soap out of the oven and set someplace to rest for another day. Once 48 hours have passed, you can take the soap out of the mold(s). Cure it for 28 days before using. Curing means leaving the bars spaced out on a protected surface out of direct sunlight and in an airy place. This allows the extra water content to fully evaporate out.
Once made, your 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.
Simple soap recipe series
This is the second recipe that I’m sharing as part of simple soap making series. All the recipes shared have the same base oils and are customized by changing scent, color, and dried herbs and flowers.
Soap making can be an expensive hobby. If you use the same base recipe, you can cut down on costs by using the same main ingredients. That means less investment in loads of other types of oils. Also, making the same base recipe will help you become proficient in natural soap making.
- Zesty Citrus & Calendula soap recipe
- Lavender & Poppy seeds soap recipe
- Woodsy & Floral soap recipe
- Herbal soap recipe
- Read this introduction to Lovely Greens soap making for even more inspiration.