Learn how to make your own Hawaiian Sea Salt Soap – a fun and gratifying DIY project for intermediate to experienced soap makers!
Sea Salt bars are perhaps one of my favorite varieties of soap bars to make.
The truth is, sea salt gives soap a natural means of cleansing, detoxifying and exfoliating all wrapped into one. Sea salt soap is a wonderful way to combine a sea salt bath with a natural soap. Believe it or not, the final result is a hard bar of soap with a creamy, lotion-like lather.
I love the way it makes my skin feel!
Typically, sea salt bars are made with Himalayan Pink Salt, which is added to the soap batter right before pouring into the mold. These bars, however, are made with Hawaiian Lava Salt. Hawaiian Black Salt is known to (Black Lava salt) is an all-natural, solar- evaporated, Pacific sea salt blended with activated charcoal. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals and known to push toxins out of the body.
Sea salt soap is made similar to other cold process soap recipes, but with a few exceptions:
#1: Sea Salt will suppress the lather in the cold process soap recipe. As a result, you will need to adjust the oils in your cold process soap recipe to be at least 70% coconut oil. That high coconut oil will produce a rich, creamy lather, without drying up your skin.
#2: You will add the sea salt at trace – – any of three different amounts:
50-70% of the total oils in salt
100% of the oils in salt (which means that if your recipe has 30 oz of oils, then use 30 oz of salt)
100% of the soap amount (which means that if your recipe is for 3 lbs of soap, then add 24 oz of salt.
#3: Sea salt soap will be very thick once you add it at trace – it will seem like a lot of salt. You will need to pour in the mold quickly, and insulate as soon as possible.
Unlike regular cold process soap recipes, sea salt bars will set up very very fast. They will need to be removed from the mold just a few hours after you pour otherwise the soap will crack and the soap will be difficult to slice.
How to Make Hawaiian Sea Salt Soap
My first few batches of salt soap in a log mold were quite a challenge as I tried to determine when I could remove the soap. I found that 2-3 hours after pouring the batter was the perfect time to unmold and slice.
However, after making hundreds and hundreds of salt soap bars, I find that using a Pringles can is my favorite method. As a result, I tend to hoard Pringles cans from neighbors and friends to use for soap making as they make beautiful round soaps without having to buy a silicone mold.
Pringles cans are easy to unmold. Just take a knife to cut a small bit from the top lip of the can, then unwrap it carefully until you can unmold the soap as one.
This recipe makes enough to fill 2 regular size Pringles cans (just under 50 oz of soap batter), with a 15% superfat.
- 5.26 oz lye
- 11.22 oz water
- 1.5 oz castor oil (4.4%)
- 25.5 oz coconut oil (75%)
- 3.5 oz olive oil (10.3%)
- 3.5 oz shea butter, unrefined is what I find to work the best (10.3%)
- 2 C. fine grain Hawaiian Lava Salt (more or less depending on preference)
- 1-2 tsp activated charcoal (if desired)* added before the salt, at trace
#1: Suit up for safety. Put on goggles, wear gloves and don clothes that have long sleeves. Go a step further and make sure all distractions are out of the room/house. Use a well-ventilated area. I like to use my kitchen sink because I have a few windows behind it that provide ventilation.
#2: Prepare all of your ingredients – and have everything set aside to start:
- Thermometer (one that you don’t use for food)
- Silicone Column Mold, 31 oz or a circular mold (for easier removal) or 2 washed out Pringles cans
- Pyrex 8 cup measuring device – not required, but so handy to have!
- Immersion Blender – you don’t have to spend oodles but you will want something reliable with a metal stick, not plastic.
- Lye – this is the brand we use
- Digital Scale to measure your ingredients
#3: Measure out your water and set aside. Make sure the water is at room temperature or colder.
#4: Sprinkle the lye into your water. Stir slowly as you continue to add little bits of lye until the lye is fully dissolved. Never pour the water into the lye because that can create quite a reaction. The lye will heat up the liquid quite fast, so allow it time to cool (15-20+ minutes).
#6: Combine your oils that you have weighed out. I try to soap between 120-130 degrees F if I am using water. If I am using milk in my recipe, you’ll want to follow a different procedure by freezing the milk beforehand (see our post here). If your oils are not in liquid form, you can combine them in a pot on the stove and heat slowly.
#7: Pour the lye mixture into the oils. Use your immersion blender to stir mixture together, making sure to pulse the immersion and take 15-20 second breaks. Don’t overheat your stick blender. Blend with your stick blender until the mixture reaches a medium trace. It may take anywhere from 3-7 minutes if not more. If you are using scent (fragrance or essential oils) add during this time, too.
#8: Add the Black Sea Salt when the mixture is at medium trace. Stick blend as best as you can, the mixture will thicken up very quickly.
#8: Quickly pour the batter into the mold evenly distributing from one side to another. Use a paddle or long spoon to spoon out as much of the batter as you can. If using a round mold like a Pringles can, tap on a hard surface to remove air pockets. Insulate away from kids or others to allow it to gel for several hours.
Remove Hawaiian Sea Salt Soap from the Mold
After 3-4 hours, your soap should be able to come out of the mold. Make sure you are wearing gloves, as the soap is still caustic.
If you are using a Pringles can. Allow the soap to sit in the can, undisturbed, for 3-4 hours if not up to 6 hours. Carefully take a serrated knife and cut a small portion down the side of the can. Then carefully peel the can off the soap. Once the can peels away from the soap, gently wiggle the soap to pull from the bottom of the can.
If you are using a loaf mold. Rub on the bottom of the mold very gently and pull out the sides of the mold to loosen. If it seems too wet, you may have to give it additional time. (If you are using a cavity mold, you don’t necessarily have to unmold until after 24 hours).
**There is no “set time” – you will need to use your judgement! Typically 3-4 hours after pouring allows the soap enough time to set – but that also depends on the mold you use.
Once you manage to release it from the mold, immediately cut the log into bars and allow to finish curing.
Tips for making Sea Salt Soap:
- Stick with fine grain sea salt for within the soap. If you wish to dress up the top of the soap after you pour, then a coarse soap will work wonderfully, too.
- Avoid using epsom salt in cold process soap – it won’t work out too well for you and you might have a very big mess.
- You can definitely use colorants (clays, mica, and scents/oils) in your soap – just remember that once you add the salt, the batter will get thick very quickly so you may want to add those items before you add the salt to give yourself time to work.
- Certain scents play better in salt soap bars – I found citrus to tend to dissipate, but scents like Palmarosa worked incredibly well. A great ratio is .7 oz of oils for each pound of oils in your recipe.
In most cases, cold process soap is ready to use within 4-6 weeks cure time, but with salt bars, the longer the cure time, the more luxurious the bar.
It’s not uncommon to allow salt bars to cure for 4-6 months if not more – if you are selling salt soap bars to friends and family, I would recommend allowing them to cure for 6 months, as the lather will get much better over time.