Salt Bar Recipe - pulse check

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meepocow

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Hello, clever soap makers!

I would really like to attempt a pink clay salt bar, inspired by this video. The author of the video seems to be very knowledgeable and experienced, and the product looks gorgeous. And fascinating, as salt bars are definitely out of the ordinary for me!

I have read elsewhere that people don't recommend putting anything sharp like large chunks of salt on soap, even as a topper, due to the laceration hazard - so I will refrain from that. I was able to find some beautiful extra fine Himalayan salt that I would be comfortable experimenting with in a bar like this; I rubbed some on the back of my hand as a test, and it felt fine. I'd start with a small 1 lb test batch; worst case scenario if it doesn't work, I enjoy pink salt on my food, in foot scrubs, etc.

My question is regarding the formula presented in the video. From research into making my first two bars, 50% coconut oil seemed high and drying, and the 12% superfat suggested seemed low to counteract this. The 10% salt probably wouldn't help that? When I plugged in the numbers into soap calc, it seemed to me like this would be a harsh/ stripping bar (I know it's relative to the person, though).

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QUESTION: Am I totally off? Anyone have a tried and true non-stripping salt bar recipe they're willing to share? Or tweaks to the above that would be kinder to the skin? I'm totally open to using lard and tallow too, I've heard those can be lovely and moisturizing. Thank you!!

@Obsidian A quick search of the forum seems to reveal you have a bomb formula, and suggestions. Would you be kind enough to share? I wasn't able to find the formula or method, but have read that you don't recommend Himalayan salt due to the sharpness of the minerals. What do you use instead?

:) I guess the jar of salt can just go back in the pantry for delicious cookery..
 
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LOL, I knew which video you had linked before I clicked it. I love Holly's videos (other than using pyrex for soaping - not safe due to risk of breakage and subsequent spillage of caustic soap batter).

Welp, salt bars are an exception to the high CO rule. If you search for salt bars on this forum, you will find a variety of recipes, with varying amounts of CO and salt, different levels of SF, and of course, different types of salt. Mine is 100% CO, 50% salt, and 20% SF. I am one who can use finely ground Himalayan pink salt (Kirkland brand from Costco), but I seem to be in the tiny minority; most others get shredded by it. Anyway, here is the general theory behind it all:

Salt kills lather. The best lather-makers are CO and PKO. Other ingredients are sometimes added at user preference. So if you combine the two, add a hefty superfat, and give the bars a looooong cure, you paradoxically end up with a fluffy, non-drying lather that has a je-ne-sais-quoi feel to it. It tends to rinse very cleanly from your skin. Of course, if that salty soap lather gets in a cut or abrasion, it does sting!
 

dibbles

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I'm enjoying your journey - you are certainly all in! Holly is a gifted soap maker and I love her videos. I can't comment on her specific recipe as I've never tried it.

There are lots of threads about salt bars you can read if you do a search, and I love them. My favorite recipe is 85% coconut oil, 15% avocado or olive oil (or whatever you like), 5% castor oil and 50% of the oil weight in fine sea salt and 18% superfat. If you have them, I highly recommend individual cavity molds so you don't have to worry about cutting at the right time. I let my bars cure for at least 7 months for the best lather. I've tried using shea (or maybe it was mango) butter and didn't like it as well as without.
 

Obsidian

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@Obsidian A quick search of the forum seems to reveal you have a bomb formula, and suggestions. Would you be kind enough to share? I wasn't able to find the formula or method, but have read that you don't recommend Himalayan salt due to the sharpness of the minerals. What do you use instead?

:) I guess the jar of salt can just go back in the pantry for delicious cookery..

With salt bars, simple is better. I use either canning salt or a cheap sea salt.

Coconut 80%
Olive oil 20%
Salt 35 %- 50%. I use 35%, most people use 50 or 100.
Superfat 20%

I generally make a single or maybe 2 color bar in cavity molds. Color, scent and separate before adding the salt. Hand mix in salt at light trace.
I usually hit it with the stick blender for a few seconds, with a lower amount of salt I don't have accelaration trouble. Needs to be thick enough the salt doesn't sink.

If using a loaf mold, watch it closely. As soon as its firm enough to handle, cut it. The more salt you use, the faster it will set up. I really suggest cavity molds unitl you get the feel for how these behave.

Cure minimum of 3 month, 6 is better, a year even better. Once you decide if you like salt bars, make a batch every 3 months so you have some coming out of cure regularly.
 

meepocow

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LOL, I knew which video you had linked before I clicked it. I love Holly's videos (other than using pyrex for soaping - not safe due to risk of breakage and subsequent spillage of caustic soap batter).

Welp, salt bars are an exception to the high CO rule. If you search for salt bars on this forum, you will find a variety of recipes, with varying amounts of CO and salt, different levels of SF, and of course, different types of salt. Mine is 100% CO, 50% salt, and 20% SF. I am one who can use finely ground Himalayan pink salt (Kirkland brand from Costco), but I seem to be in the tiny minority; most others get shredded by it. Anyway, here is the general theory behind it all:

Salt kills lather. The best lather-makers are CO and PKO. Other ingredients are sometimes added at user preference. So if you combine the two, add a hefty superfat, and give the bars a looooong cure, you paradoxically end up with a fluffy, non-drying lather that has a je-ne-sais-quoi feel to it. It tends to rinse very cleanly from your skin. Of course, if that salty soap lather gets in a cut or abrasion, it does sting!
Ah. See, my extensive researching did not explain exceptions! This is super helpful. AliOop, you're like my Soaping Sensei lately - thank you for the brilliant explanation!

I'm enjoying your journey - you are certainly all in! Holly is a gifted soap maker and I love her videos. I can't comment on her specific recipe as I've never tried it.

There are lots of threads about salt bars you can read if you do a search, and I love them. My favorite recipe is 85% coconut oil, 15% avocado or olive oil (or whatever you like), 5% castor oil and 50% of the oil weight in fine sea salt and 18% superfat. If you have them, I highly recommend individual cavity molds so you don't have to worry about cutting at the right time. I let my bars cure for at least 7 months for the best lather. I've tried using shea (or maybe it was mango) butter and didn't like it as well as without.
My problem - or gift? 😆 - is that I can't seem to do anything in life half-way. So I take forever to psych myself up to do something, but once I convince myself to do it I go all in and can be come a wee bit obsessive! I think this is going to be a great hobby though, and enjoy that it might even yield something that I can give as gifts, maybe donate to charity drives, etc.

Thank you also for answering my question about adding luxury butters to salt bars! That helps to know that you were fine without it. It seems like the factors at play are % coconut oil, and quantity of salt! Huge range from 10 to 100%.

With salt bars, simple is better. I use either canning salt or a cheap sea salt.

Coconut 80%
Olive oil 20%
Salt 35 %- 50%. I use 35%, most people use 50 or 100.
Superfat 20%

I generally make a single or maybe 2 color bar in cavity molds. Color, scent and separate before adding the salt. Hand mix in salt at light trace.
I usually hit it with the stick blender for a few seconds, with a lower amount of salt I don't have accelaration trouble. Needs to be thick enough the salt doesn't sink.

If using a loaf mold, watch it closely. As soon as its firm enough to handle, cut it. The more salt you use, the faster it will set up. I really suggest cavity molds unitl you get the feel for how these behave.

Cure minimum of 3 month, 6 is better, a year even better. Once you decide if you like salt bars, make a batch every 3 months so you have some coming out of cure regularly.
Amazing, thank you Obsidian! I've got some small silicone loaf molds that should do the trick to start!

It strikes me that salt bars are very economical, if it ends up being something you enjoy. Many recipes don't call for fancy butters.

Do you scent your bars? If so, would you recommend the standard 3% of oil weight if using essential oils?
 
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I use @Obsidian's recipe and absolutely love it! I do mine at 50% added sea salt. It's become one of my bestsellers and I make a batch yearly for my daughter and granddaughter as it's their favourite soap. I scent mine with equal parts lavender, peppermint, and rosemary. They cure for a minimum of 3 months but, as Obsidian wrote, the longer they cure, the better they are.

Salt Soap.png
 

meepocow

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I use @Obsidian's recipe and absolutely love it! I do mine at 50% added sea salt. It's become one of my bestsellers and I make a batch yearly for my daughter and granddaughter as it's their favourite soap. I scent mine with equal parts lavender, peppermint, and rosemary. They cure for a minimum of 3 months but, as Obsidian wrote, the longer they cure, the better they are.

View attachment 69007
Amazing! What grain of sea salt do you use - fine, medium, coarse, etc.? Would table salt be ok?

I can't get over how amazingly smooth those bars look, I wouldn't know there is any salt in there at all!
 

Obsidian

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Amazing, thank you Obsidian! I've got some small silicone loaf molds that should do the trick to start!

It strikes me that salt bars are very economical, if it ends up being something you enjoy. Many recipes don't call for fancy butters.

Do you scent your bars? If so, would you recommend the standard 3% of oil weight if using essential oils?

Hard fats like butters, lard and palm actually inhibit lather. 100% coconut would make a good salt bar too but I like adding the OO to help longevity.
I do scent my bars, I use around 6%. since they do best with a longer cure, the scent can fade, it also seems the salt kinda kills scent so make it strong. I don't use EO, I find they fade way too fast for my liking.

you can use regular table salt but its better to use one without added iodine. Thats why I like canning salt, a 3lb box is around $3 and it doesn't have additives. I've also used dollar store sea salt when they have it.
 
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