Apricot Scrub Soap

Difficulty: Advanced
Time: 1 hr
Yields: 1200 g soap or approximately 10 bars

I came up with this soap when I was browsing through the exfoliants section of my local supplier, Pure Nature. I’ve always left the special kind of exfoliants, like walnut shells and apricot kernel flours, for facial and body scrubs, and haven’t really used them in soaps before. I still had some carrot juice left from the soap challenge last month, and I thought those two would make for a nice combination. And since I was focusing on natural ingredients, I didn’t want to go for an apricot fragrance. Instead, I asked my good friend, Shaz, who’s always an absolute inspiration when it comes to soap making and has great nose when it comes to essential oil blends, what she would suggest. So the credit for this delicious blend of orange, bergamot and ylang ylang goes to her!

The reason this is an advanced tutorial, is because I’m replacing all the water in the lye solution for carrot juice. Because carrots contain sugar, extra precautions must be taken when preparing the lye solution, because it can get quite hot. The sugars will also speed up trace, so it’s essential you have everything prepared and ready beforehand and can work quickly.

In addition to the carrot juice, ylang ylang essential oil is also known to accelerate trace. Just to make things even more exciting for you! But don’t worry, if you make sure you keep your temperature down and work quickly, you’ll be fine. And it’s definitely worth it. The soap smells amazing and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth!

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

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

ONE: I’m using a store-bought 100% organic carrot juice, mainly because I couldn’t be bothered juicing carrots myself. Make sure the carrot juice is fridge cold, before you add the caustic soda to it. I also added two teaspoons of sodium lactate to it, to make sure the soap hardens quickly, which makes it easier to unmould. Once you’ve prepared the lye, place the container with the lye solution in an ice bath – a bigger container filled with cold water and ice. This helps to keep the temperature down.

TWO: Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter in a microwaveable jug or bowl, and heat in the microwave until the oils have melted.

THREE: And then add the liquid oils to the melted coconut oil and shea butter.

FOUR: Add the essential oil blend to the oils and stir them through. Adding them to the oils, rather than at trace, helps dilute the essential oils and may slow the acceleration. I’ve never tested if this really works, but I think it’s better to be safe than sorry, and this way, at least, I don’t forget to add the fragrance. You have no idea how often that has happened to me!

From here on, you’ll need to work quickly. Make sure you have your apricot kernel flour on hand and your soap mould ready. You don’t want to go looking for ingredients or moulds once have poured the lye to the oils!

FIVE: Check if your lye solution has cooled down to room temperature, and add the lye to the oils. Stick blend only briefly for about 3-5 seconds, and then use a whisk to stir until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified and there are no more oil streaks visible.

SIX: Add the apricot kernel flour. I’m using a little more than 1/2 tablespoon. If you want a more scrubby soap, you can go up to 1 full tablespoon, but I wouldn’t add more. Use your whisk to stir it in. Doesn’t the soap look a pretty orange?

SEVEN: Pour the soap into your mould, and gently tap the mould on the bench a few times to release any air bubbles caught up in the soap and to even out the surface.

EIGHT: Use your spatula to add a bit of texture to your surface. And sprinkle a little of the apricot kernel flour along one side of the soap.

Freshly cut Apricot Scrub Soap

ELEVEN: Let the soap cure for a couple of days before unmoulding, and then let it harden for another few days before cutting it into bars. The bars of soap will need a further 6-8 weeks to cure before they are ready for use.

Apricot Scrub Soap

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

Ingredients

  • 320 g olive oil
  • 200 g coconut oil
  • 80 g shea butter
  • 160 g sunflower oil
  • 40 castor oil
  • 110 g caustic soda
  • 220 g pure carrot juice
  • 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate
  • 20 ml sweet orange essential oil
  • 10 ml bergamot essential oil
  • 10 ml ylang ylang essential oil
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp finely ground apricot kernel flour

Directions

  1. Measure out the caustic soda and the water. Then add the caustic soda to the water  (not the other way round!) and stir until the caustic soda has completely dissolved.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate to the lye solution and set aside to cool down.
  3. Weigh out the coconut oil and shea butter and melt in the microwave or on the stove top until completely melted.
  4. Add the olive, sunflower and castor oils to the now liquid coconut oil and shea butter.
  5. Add the essential oil blend to the oils and give it a good stir.
  6. Check if the lye has cooled down to room temperature, and making sure you are still wearing protective gear, carefully pour the lye to the oils and, using a stick blender for 3-5 seconds only. Use a whisk, and stir by hand until the oil/lye mixture has emulsified.
  7. Add and stir in the apricot kernel flour using your whisk.
  8. Pour the soap carefully into the mouldr.
  9. Use your spatula to texture the top of the soap, and sprinkle a little of the apricot kernel flour along one side.
  10. Leave the soap to cure a couple of days before unmoulding, and then let it stand for another few days before cutting into bars. The soap bars will need to cure for a further 6-8 weeks until ready for use.