To finish off the month of January, here is the recipe to our Green Avocado Cold Process Soap, which has been the model of our Green Beauty advertising campaign this month. This is an advanced recipe so suitable for experienced soap makers. If you love avocados you will love this recipe!
- Two good sized stainless steel or enamelled saucepans.
- A heat-proof glass measuring jug or plastic jug able to withstand boiling water.
- Accurate kitchen scales.
- A balloon whisk & rubber/wooden spatula, or similar.
- A mould to pour the liquid soap into whilst it sets.
- Eye and hand protection (safety glasses and rubber gloves).
- A blanket or large towel.
- 350g of cold, clean water
- 138g of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) beads or pearls
- 300g coconut oil (hard variety)
- 300g palm oil (hard variety)
- 250g olive oil (preferably pomace grade but virgin or extra virgin will do)
- 100g Avocado Oil
- 50g Avocado Butter
- 1/4 tsp Grapefruit seed extract OR vitamin E (optional antioxident). Note… Grapefruit seed extract will speed up the time it takes for your soap to ‘trace’.
- 20ml Fragrance or Essential Oil/s
- Green Chrome Oxide Pigment
- Botanicals to decorate (optional)
*Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment listed above BEFORE you start, weigh them out into suitable containers ready to use.
*Always wear safety goggles/glasses and use protective gloves when soap-making to avoid injury from spills and splashes.
Make the Lye
Measure cold clean water into a jug, and then weigh (accurately) sodium hydroxide beads (or pearls) into a suitable container. Carefully add the sodium hydroxide to the water, and whisk, stirring all the time. Be careful not to breathe the vapour that is initially given off, so hold your breath and stir until all the sodium hydroxide has dissolved and there are no lumps stuck to the bottom of the jug.
The solution (now known as Lye) will heat up to nearly 200°F and will need to be left to cool. Place the jug in a large bowl of cold water, being careful not to ‘float’ it.
Meanwhile, measure out exactly the coconut, palm oils and avocado butter into one of the saucepans (the smaller if there is one) and gently melt it on the stove. Don’t overheat it, just melt it. When there are tiny pieces of solid oil still left to melt, remove from the heat and leave until completely liquid.
Whilst the solid oils are melting, measure out the olive and avocado oils into the other saucepan (this will be the soap-making pan). If adding grapefruit seed extract, add it to the saucepan now.
Once melted, pour the warm oils into the soap making pan and mix them all together.
Then slowly and carefully pour the lye into the oils, and start stirring with a balloon whisk to ensure the mixture all starts to chemically react and combine.
You should stir the mixture fairly briskly. You will notice the solution start to turn more opaque and as the minutes pass it will start to thicken.
The stage in the process you have to wait for is known as the ‘Trace’. This is when you can drizzle the mixture from the whisk onto the surface of the solution and it leaves a visible trace before sinking back into the rest.
Once you have reached a good trace trace you can add essential or fragrance oils if using and suitable colours.
Once everything is added and well mixed to a nice thick texture, simply pour into the mould and mound the top of the soap toward the centre, using a spoon or fork, and sprinkle poppy seeds on top for decoration.
Cover the mould with something like a cardboard sheet to prevent anything touching the surface of the soap whilst it’s setting.
Insulate with old towels or a blanket and leave at room temperature until the soap has solidified. With a small batch like this example, this should be no more than 24 hours. Larger batches can take longer.
Once set and cool, remove the soap from the mould and remove any lining paper from the soap. At this stage it will be a soft solid and can be easily cut into bars or smaller blocks if desired. If it appears too soft to handle, leave it for 2-3 days and try again.
Leave your soap ‘curing’ at room temperature for typically at least 3-4 weeks, preferably on a sheet of uncoloured absorbent paper allowing air to circulate around each bar or block. Curing will allow the soap to lose excess moisture and become harder.