Cleansing clay soap

Difficulty: Beginners
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 500 g soap

French pink clay is known to clarify and improve skin softness, but in a gentle way, which makes it ideal for all skin types. A shower soap made with pink clay will gently exfoliate without irritating your skin, and will help smooth and draw out impurities. If you have oily skin or blemished skin, for example on the upper arms, backs of thighs and/or stomach, you can substitute the pink clay for red clay, which has a stronger drawing effect.

Exfoliation is an important part in the skin care routine, and should be used on the whole body and not just on the face. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, opens clogged pores and stimulates circulation, which improves both skin texture and tone, leaving the skin looking radiant and rejuvenated.

Added a rose geranium, sweet orange, and lavender essential oils maximise the benefits of the clays and help balance and soothe the skin.

Rose geranium is used for a wide range of skin disorders, such as eczema, acne, rashes,  because not only does it reduce inflammation, it also helps balance the secretion of sebum, which makes it ideal for dry, oily or combination skin.

Sweet Orange essential oil is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory which makes it an ideal ingredient in your skin care routine. This oil isn’t just for acne-prone skin though: It’s been shown to increase the ability to absorb vitamin C, collagen production, and blood flow, all of which are essential for anti-aging.

Lavender essential oil, is one of the best known skin oils, for its properties. It is an antibacterial, helps reduce redness, inflammation and blemishes, and is soothing and calming on both body and mind.

All the ingredients are available from Pure Nature. The soap mold I’m using is the small square silicon mold, which is my favourite soap mold, perfect for small batches and test soaps. It makes 4 bars of soap.

If you have never made cold-process soap before, I strongly suggest you check out the basic cold process soap tutorial first.

Before starting, please read the safety and precautions post, especially since this tutorial requires the handling of caustic soda!

ONE: First, prepare your lye. Weigh out the caustic soda in a small container. Measure the water in a small pyrex or other heat proof glass jug. Then carefully add the caustic soda to the water and gently stir until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Optional: stir in one teaspoon of sodium lactate, which will make the soap harder. Set aside to cool.

While you are waiting for the lye to cool down, ….

TWO: Get your fragrance ready, by measuring out the essential oils in a measuring beaker. If you don’t have a measuring beaker: 20 drops of essential oil are approximately 1 ml.

Next, it’s time to get the oils ready.

THREE: Weigh out the coconut oil in a pyrex jug and heat in microwave on high for one minute or until melted.

FOUR: Add the other oils and give it a little stir to blend them.

When the lye has cooled down to room temperature…

FIVE: Make sure you are still in protective gear (goggles and gloves). Add the clay to your lye and give it a careful but good stir to make sure all the clay is suspended in the water and there are no more clumps. Be careful of splashes! Note the pink clay goes a reddish orange when added to the lye and soap, but once it’s cured it will be a beautiful soft pink. If you are using the red clay, it will cure to a rich orange/red colour.

SIX:  Carefully pour the lye to the oils and whisk until the mixture has emulsified.

SEVEN: Add your fragrance.

EIGHT: Keep stirring with the whisk or give it a few pulses with a stick blender until you reach trace (the mixture has emulsified and starts to thicken). It doesn’t matter if you stir/pulse too much and the mixture becomes thick, but make sure it has emulsified. The image below shows thin trace, so you want it like this or thicker!

NINE: Pour the soap into the mold. Tap the mold gently on the bench a free times to get rid of any air bubbles.

TEN: Sprinkle the top with poppy seeds and leave it to cure in the mold for a few days, before carefully removing. Leave to cure for another day before cutting it into bars. The bars will need to cure for a further 4-6 weeks until they’re ready.


Cleansing Clay Soap

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Before starting, make sure you wear protective goggles and gloves and work in a well-ventilated area, free from any distractions!


  • 250 g olive oil
  • 120 g coconut oil
  • 30 g castor oil
  • 56 g caustic soda
  • 110 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sodium lactate
  • 1 teaspoon pink clay
  • 10 ml rose geranium essential oil
  • 5 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 5 ml lavender essential oil
  • poppy seeds


  1. Prepare your lye: carefully add the caustic soda to the water and stir gently until all the caustic soda has dissolved. Optional: add one teaspoon of sodium lactate. Set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare your fragrance.
  3. Weigh out the coconut oil in a pyrex jug and heat in the microwave on high for 1 minute or until melted.
  4. Add the other oils and give it a good stir.
  5. When the lye has cooled down to room temperature, add 1 teaspoon of clay and whisk well (but carefully to avoid splashes) until all the clay has dispersed and there are no more clumps.
  6. Carefully add the lye to the oils and stick blend briefly until the mixture has emulsified.
  7. Add the fragrance and keep stick blending until the mixture has reached trace (thickened).
  8. Pour in mold, and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.
  9. Leave to cure in the mold for a few days, before removing and cutting. The bars of soap will need another 4-6 weeks of curing.


  1. Hello,

    This will be my first attempt at making soap… so excited!! Just wondering if the water can be substituted for goats milk or coconut milk?
    Thank you

    • Technically yes, but when you replace the water with something like milk, you are also adding sugar (milk sugars), which will heat up the lye and you risk burning the lye. It is an advanced method, and involves freezing the milk to a slurry and having the lye container cooled in an ice bath and adding the caustic soda carefully and slowly to the milk, while trying to prevent it from heating up too much. If this is your first attempt, I would strongly suggest not to try this until you’ve made several batches of soap.

      • Thanks Jackie. You are absolutely right. I tried it anyways and probably completely failed. :/ Pretty sure I will have to throw away this batch, but I will cure it and see what happens in 4-6 weeks time. I will try it again by following the exact recipe! Love your recipes!

    • Hello🌸
      What a fantastic site you offer with all this amazing information, recipe and tips. I’ve never made cold pressed soap before but almost have everything I need to begin my new adventure, alongside sourdough. Would this recipe be fine to double ingredients to,make more of, and is this the general rule of thumb also. Thank you very much, you are amazing 🐦

      • Yes, you can double the recipe, just make sure you double everything, including the caustic soda and water amount too!

  2. Hi Jackie – Will the scent of the essential oils survive the curing process? Thanks, recipe looks great! 🙂

    • Hi Charlotte! Sorry for the late reply, but yes, the scent of the essential oils do stay after curing.

    • Hi Charlotte! Sorry for the late reply! I’ve been on holiday 😉 Yes, essential oils are non-saponifiable, meaning they survive the curing process. Hope this helps!

  3. Hi Jackie. This recipe looks gorgeous! Does the scent of the rose geranium essential oil survive the curing process? Thank you!

  4. Hi Jackie. This recipe looks gorgeous! Does the scent of the rose geranium essential oil survive the curing process?

  5. Hi Jackie, sorry I can’t remember if I asked this or not but what could you use instead of rose geranium for this soap or perhaps do you know of a fragrance oil that you think would work nicely? Thanks!

    • Hi Kelly! The reason I added rose geranium is for its balancing properties, which makes it good for both oily and dry skin. Ylang ylang also has balancing properties as does cedar wood. Otherwise, if you want to go more citrus-y: lemon is good for oily skin, orange for dehydrated skin, then there’s lavender, which is soothing and goes for all skins as well, peppermint is refreshing and cooling. Hope this helps!

    • Hi! With clay it won’t have an effect on the colour, so you can add it to either the oil or trace. Hope this helps! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.