Whipped soap is fun to make, and it gives you a unique look every time. The soap is light and can form small tufts that almost look like frosting decorations you'd see on a cake. Plus, you can add soap coloring to your recipe to further enhance its appearance. This project is fairly quick to complete, though the soap will need to cure for several weeks before use. You can make a batch as large or small as you wish, as long as you use the correct proportions of ingredients. It requires intermediate soap-making skills, along with an understanding of cold process soap making. You also should be able to make a basic homemade soap recipe, which you'll then adjust to create the whipped effect. Besides making some for yourself to enjoy, these whipped soaps can be excellent homemade gifts.
Equipment / Tools
- Kitchen scale (with ounces)
- Large mixing bowl with hand mixer or a stand mixer
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Pitcher (for lye solution)
- Stainless steel spoon
- Rubber spatulas
- Mixing bowls for adding color (optional)
- Soap mold of your choice
- Lard (25% of the total oils)
- Coconut oil (30% of the total oils)
- Palm oil (25% of the total oils)
- Olive oil (15% of the total oils)
- Castor oil (5% of the total oils)
- Distilled water (use lye calculator for quantity)
- Lye flakes (use lye calculator for quantity)
- Fragrance oil and/or soap coloring (optional)
Create Your Soap Recipe
For normal cold process soap making, you can choose a balance between solid oils and liquid oils (at room temperature) in about a 60/40 ratio. This means in your recipe you'd have 60% solid oils (such as coconut, palm, lard, tallow, palm kernel, shea butter, cocoa butter, and shortening) and 40% liquid oils (such as canola, olive, rice bran, and soybean).
But for the whipped soap process, you should use about 80% solid oils to 20% liquid oils. This recipe uses lard, coconut oil, and palm oil as the solid oils, along with olive oil and castor oil as the liquid oils. But you can select your favorite oils, as long as they are in that 80/20 ratio of solid to liquid.
Once you've formulated your soap recipe, run it through a lye calculator to determine how much lye solution you will need.
Whip the Solid Oils
Weigh your solid oils in your desired proportions, and add them to your mixing bowl. Cream them as you would hard butter with your hand mixer or stand mixer.
If you're using a really hard oil, such as palm kernel or cocoa butter, you might need to mash it by hand or slightly soften it in the microwave before creaming it with the mixer.
Keep whipping until the oils are completely mixed and start to form peaks like whipped frosting or egg whites. The more you whip, the creamier and lighter the soap will be.
Add the Liquid Oils
Next, slowly add the liquid oils to the whipped solid oils. This will take away some of the whipped peaks, which is normal (and one reason to keep the proportion of liquid oils low in whipped soap). Whip the solid and liquid oils together for a few minutes until the mixture appears light and some of those whipped peaks return.
Create and Add the Lye-Water Solution
Put on your safety goggles and gloves. Add the distilled water to the pitcher you're using for the lye solution. Then, gradually add the lye flakes to the water, gently stirring with your stainless steel spoon until the lye is completely dissolved. Lye creates heat when it dissolves, so don't work too quickly or the water might boil over. After the lye has dissolved, let the solution cool.
Next, slowly add the lye solution to the whipped oils a few tablespoons at a time. Keep whipping gently, being careful not to splash any of the lye solution or oils out of the bowl. Once all of the lye solution is in the bowl, keep whipping until it is fully combined.
Lye can burn the skin and eyes and is harmful when inhaled. Always wear protective gear when using lye, and work in a ventilated area.
Add Fragrance (Optional) and Keep Whipping
Slowly add your desired fragrance oil to the mixing bowl if you wish. Approximately 0.8 ounce of fragrance oil per 16 ounces of soap oils is optimal.
Then, keep whipping the soap. It will be ready to mold once it's the consistency of foods like thick yogurt, whipped butter, or soft cream cheese.
Add Color (Optional)
If you want to add color to your soap, now is the time to do so. Make sure you're still wearing your gloves and goggles. For this batch, we split the soap in quarters, leaving one quarter the white base color and dyeing the three other quarters different colors in separate bowls. Stir in the coloring with one rubber spatula per color.
Mold the Soap
Because this soap is so light and a little sticky, it works best in either log-type soap molds that can be sliced or silicone molds that make popping out the soaps easy. For this batch, we used the rubber spatulas to layer the different colors in a log mold.
If you have pastry-making equipment, you also can mold or pipe this soap just like you would frosting or dough. For instance, you can use a cookie press to make small soaps that would be great in decorative bathroom soap bowls. Be sure you use wax paper or a stainless steel cookie sheet when you mold the soap, as it will corrode aluminum.
Leave the Soap Mold to Set
Once your soap is in the mold, leave it to set. This will take at least 24 hours and up to 36 hours for it to achieve enough firmness that you can remove it from the mold without the soap losing its shape.
Remove the Soap From the Mold and Let It Cure
Once the soap has set, remove it from the mold. It might still be caustic at this point as chemical reactions are still taking place, so wear your safety gear. Then, let the soap cure for roughly four to six weeks before you use it.