Palm Free Vertical Twist Tutorial

Have you ever had one of those moments where you felt like testing your (soaping) boundaries to see how far you could take something but feared you would ruin an entire batch of soap? We’ve done a vertical twist project before, and it turned out awesome. But I wondered, what if we just kept on twisting the divider…? Ahem. It was new levels of soap happiness. If you’re a tactile learner and you’d like to see/hold/touch/smell this soap and experience it in person, we’ve put it in our etsy shop here so you can learn to make this palm-free soap.


15.3 oz. Coconut Oil

36.5 oz. Olive Oil – Pure

13.1 oz. Distilled Water (+ 4 oz. water for salt solution)

7.2 oz. Sodium Hydroxide (lye)

3.2 oz. White Ginger and Amber Fragrance Oil

1 teaspoon Titanium Dioxide

1 teaspoon Green Chrome Oxide

2 tablespoons Sweet Almond Oil (or any liquid oil)

Salt Water Solution: see below

Vertical Mold


Buy everything you need for this project with the click of a button!

If you have never made cold process soap before, I strongly suggest getting a couple of  basic recipes under your belt before diving in. This is an advanced recipe and should not be attempted without first doing some basic recipes. Check out Soap Queen TV on Cold Process if you want to get started with cold process. It’s a 4 part series that will take you through the basics (and be sure to watch the episode on Lye Safety). And for all of you bookworms out there, Bramble Berry also has some helpful reading on cold process soap making or a Beginner’s Kit for $36 here.

Color Prep: Disperse the Titanium Dioxide and Green Chrome Oxide in one tablespoon (each) of the Sweet Almond Oil using the Mini-Mixer. Press the powder into the oil and swirl it around a bit with the tip of the Mini-Mixer before turning it on to avoid a messy poof of pigment! Check out a Soap Queen quick vid on mixing colorants to see how it’s done.

Salt Water Solution: Mix 4 teaspoons of regular table salt in 4 ounces (by weight) of warm water. Stir until the salt is fully dissolved. Why salt water solution? Simple! It makes for a harder bar of soap. With our high amount of olive oil in this recipe, the salt water will help harden it up faster so we can release and cut the entire loaf more quickly.

Safety first! Suit up with goggles, gloves and long sleeves (or long gloves). Make sure kids and pets are out of the house or in another room to prevent any tripping hazards or distractions. Open up windows or turn on fans, making sure that your soaping room is well-ventilated.

ONE: Slowly and carefully add the lye to the water (never the other way around!) and stir until clear. Set aside to cool.

TWO: Melt Coconut oil and combine with Olive Oil. When the oils and the lye are between 110-130 degrees (and ideally within 10 degrees of each other), add the lye water to the oils. Combine using a stick blender until light trace.

THREE: Add salt water solution and mix well using a stick blender, or switch to a whisk if trace is accelerating.

FOUR: Split the batch in half. Each half should be about 4.5 cups. Add all of the dispersed Titanium Dioxide to one batch, and all of the dispersed Green Chrome Oxide to the other batch. Mix well, using a whisk if needed to avoid trace acceleration.

FIVE: Add fragrance oil each batch. I used 1.6 ounces of White Ginger and Amber Fragrance Oil. Stir in using a whisk if needed.

SIX: Time for some core strength! With the center divider in place, pour both batches into the Vertical Mold at the same time. Get as much soap in there as you can – you might have some left over, but we’ll use that soon.

SEVEN: Here comes the twist! As you remove the center divider, twist it around and around. Don’t stop twisting until the divider is all the way out of the soap!

EIGHT: After 1-3 days, unmold the soap, cut, and allow to cure for 4-6 weeks before use. Enjoy!

Psst: Would you like a bar of this very soap to really take it apart and see it in person? We had a lot of requests for something like this so we created Soap Queen Lab and I just put this cold process soap up for sale in my brand new Soap Queen Lab shop on Etsy! Check them out here.


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  1. Elaine says

    I am having so many soap failures lately because of my essential oils. The soap comes along beautifully until it is time to add the essential oil. Then it seizes up before I can pour it.

    I want so much to do some two color swirls but it just is not happening because of this problem. Is there any way of avoiding this or to owing what essential oils I should stay away from?

    Are fragrance oils less likely to do this? Just not sure what to do.

  2. Ginger says

    I tried this and it traced quickly. I’m new to cold process soaping, but I thought I’d give this a try. I was just going to out in the square silicone mold. I split it into three, put in the colors (premixed in oil) and started to stir the first bowl. It was hard. All three were hard. In a span of 5-8 minutes. Crazy.

    • says

      Hi Ginger!

      I’m sorry to hear this recipe gave you a little bit of trouble. What fragrance did you use? Often, it is the fragrance oil that can lead to acceleration in soap. Another thing to consider is how you mix in your colors and fragrance. We recommend mixing them in with a whisk, rather than the stick blender. Continuing to use the stick blender after you have reached trace can lead to some very thick soap batter :). I hope this helps, let me know if you have any more questions!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  3. Laura says


    I’m wanting to understand how to use this formula for various sized batches. When creating your soap formula, do you calculate as usual but instead of using all of the called for water for your water/lye solution, do you just save a designated amount to dissolve the salt in? In other words, how does one go about calculating the amount of water used for the salt water solution?


    • says

      Hi Laura!

      Good question, you’re exactly right. This recipe was ran through a lye calculator as usual, and we took 4 ounces from the original amount of water to make a salt water solution. We added a little over 1 (about 1.2) tsp. of salt per pound of oils. For your batches, I would recommend staying at this ratio.

      When you make different sized batches, I would run your recipe through the lye calculator as usual. Depending on how many pounds your recipe contains, designate that many ounces of water, and add 1 tsp. salt for each ounce of water.

      I hope this makes sense, let me know if you have more questions :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  4. says

    So I decided to get creative when I ran out of palm oil, so I went to the store and found vegetable shortening that is 100% non-hydrogenated mechanically pressed organic palm oil. I made my recipe as normal, but I’m wondering if it wasn’t the right ratio being shortening vs. regular palm oil? It was lumpy and thick. I was about to get it into the mold, but I’m crossing my fingers lol. Any suggestions on how to use this? The fragrance I used was a Jasmine essential oil. One more thing, can I label my soap as normal palm oil?

    • says

      BTW when I mentioned that I used my recipe as normal, that did include other oils. Together I used a mixture of canola oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, and coconut oil, and then the vegetable shortening/palm oil. I was able to cut the bars, and they are hardening up nicely, minus some air bubbles I couldn’t get out. I am still not sure how this is going to turn out in the long run. Also, for the herbs I used, I actually incorporated raw Jasmine tea, do you think this may have contributed to it’s darker color??

      I want to be able to use up the rest of this vegetable shortening if possible, is there a rule of thumb I can use to incorporate this into my soap?

      Sorry for all the questions! I appreciate all your help!

      • says

        One last thing, it defintely got lumpy and thick after I added the fragrance. Is this because it could not bind to the vegetable shortening/palm oil? Everything seemed fine before the fragrance, but it was an essential oil…so I’m kinda thrown! lol.

        • says

          Hi Tara!

          I’m not sure what color Jasmine tea is, but if it’s dark, it could certainly make your soap darker! The same is true when you replace your water for coffee, or wine for example. This is even true for milk soap if the lye scorches the milk it can turn the milk brown, resulting in brown soap. You can see this in this How to Make Goat Milk Soap video :)

          Goat Milk Soap Tutorial:

          Fragrances can definitely contribute to acceleration in soap, as well as ricing or seizing. We make sure to test all of our fragrances to make sure they behave in cold process soap, and make sure to note any special characteristics on the product page. You may find this blog post interesting, we go more into depth regarding how fragrances can effect your soap :)

          Soap Behaving Badly:

          While you can certainly use shortening in soap, and many do, it’s not a favorite soaping ingredient of mine. Anne-Marie doesn’t use it when she soaps because the ingredient list has a range and can vary – so it’s often difficult to get accurate SAP values for shortening. I have heard of some soapers using the SAP value for Palm Oil for their Palm Shortening, but to be safe, I would recommend sticking with regular Palm Oil so you can be as precise as possible :).

          I hope this helps!

          -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  5. Jodie says

    I just made this soap using yellow and pink as Banana Strawberry. I can hardly wait to cut it to see the layers.

  6. Sofie says

    Hello,I did this recipe and the soap came out great!I want to make this soap using Stearic Acid but I can’t find how much to use and how.I read your blog a lot and I don’t think I found a recipe you’re using it.Hope you can help me,thanks for all the info and experience you are sharing!!

  7. Carly @Cinnamon Ridge Fragrance says

    Oh wow! I found this post just this morning while looking for suggestions on what to use to harden my soap. I decided to give it a try in a small batch of 100% Olive oil soap. I put one teaspoon of salt in and I’m amazed! After only a few hours, my soap feels like it’s been curing for a week or more! Thank you so much for this great idea!

    • says

      Hi Carly!

      Yay, I’m so happy to hear this suggestion worked well for you :) If you get photos of your project, we would love to see them on our Facebook page! Thanks for being a reader Carly!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  8. Molly S. says

    I just made a batch of this soap! It’s setting up right now (only been 24 hours) and I’m excited to see how it comes out! It’s my first ever attempt at a vertical twist.

    I have one question, most of the recipes I use measure the oils in lbs and ounces (ex: olive oil: 1lb 5oz), and this recipe was just in ounces (olive oil: 36.5 oz- easy to convert to lbs and oz though). I just discovered my scale can do both lb/oz and fl. oz measurements. The fl. oz measurements only measure in ounces. Which one am I supposed to be using when measuring the ingredients? Oils/water are a fluid so do I use that one and switch to the lb/oz for the lye?

    I’ve only used the lb/oz measurements so far and they turn out okay (although this is my first time attempting a recipe from your site), and I just want to make sure I haven’t been making a big mistake this whole time. I haven’t been able to find good information on which one I should use and from experimentation the two options arrive at different weights when measuring my ingredients.


    • says

      Hi Molly!
      So glad you gave this recipe a try :) This is a great question, and we actually have a blog post that discusses measurements in great detail!

      Weight Vs. Volume:

      Because some oils and many other products are heavier than others, we recommend using weight to measure them for accuracy sake :). So yes, I would recommend using the fl. oz for all your oils, water and fragrances. One fluid oz is still one “normal” ounce, so you can use either setting on your scale :)

      I hope this helps Molly!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  9. Monica says

    dear Amanda,

    I used Himalayan pink salt:))

    It came out of the silicone mold 20 hours after insulating.

    It was so soft I actually gave a few paper cuts.
    There are now hard enough to be picked up, smelled and studied:)

    They are turning whiter
    and they feel surprisingly smooth

    • says

      Hi Monica!

      So glad your soaps are improving with more time! :). Silicone molds can take a few extra days to set up, so next time you make soap I would just recommend giving it a little more time to harden.

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  10. Monica says

    sorry. spotted it now:

    i mixed 120 f oil and 110 lye solution. It became “whiter” (not water) and there was light trace.

    • says

      Hi Monica!
      Thanks for the extra info. The more details we know, the better we can help you troubleshoot! Keep us updated :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  11. Monica says

    hello again,

    I fell in love with this recipe a few days ago. I really like salt in soap but I this is my first try.

    first surprise:
    the salt didn’t dissolve (I wanted less soap and had divided everything by 4 except the salt of course!! water 1 ounce salt – 4 teaspoons)

    2nd surprise
    the lye didn’t seem to want to dissolve either:) there were little white specks floating all over in the water and it didn’t look like they wanted to go away no matter how much I stirred.
    I panicked and added about 20 more grams of water. It cleared up a bit but not enough so i used some bandage to strain the solution:(( ohh the nerves!!
    what was left on the bandage was some sort of white foam, much less than I expected

    i mixed 120 f oil and 110 lye solution. It became water and there was light trace.

    I added the salt and water. mixed some more, didn’t accelerate trace, added e oils mixed some more

    poured the most liquidy soap I’ve ever made:(
    I worry I might have added too much water

    it’s now well wrapped in towels. will leave it there for 24 hours

    My water was frozen cubes and the lye melted it.

    I had used the same silicone spatula to make the 100%coconut oil and i had put it under running water and wiped it clean with kitchen towels before using it again in the lye solution. Could those little white specks be some resilient traces of coconut oil?

    Please forgive my lengthy cry for consolation and advice


    • says

      Hi Monica!
      We are so glad you tried this recipe! What kind of salt did you use? We always recommend using table salt, not sea salt. We have always found table salt to work best for us!

      What type of lye were you using? Sometimes there can be a little bit of sediment, but that is just usually the anti-caking agent and will not negatively affect your soap.

      I would recommend giving it 48 to 72 hours to harden. Let us know how it turns out!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  12. Anna Gardner says

    Looking for economical alternative to palm oil. I use mostly olive and canola oil for CP milk soap. What can be used to make the bar more firm and hardy without costing a fortune? Any recipes/recommendations?

    • says

      Hi Anna!

      If you are looking to harden your soap without using Palm Oil, you can actually use the salt water technique found in this post! All you need to do is
      mix 4 teaspoons of regular table salt in 4 ounces (by weight) of warm water. Stir until the salt is fully dissolved.

      You can also use Sodium Lactate (natural liquid salt) to help harden up your bars at a rate of .5% – 4%, or 1 tsp per pound of oils.

      Sodium Lactate:

      I hope that this helps! :)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  13. says

    Hey! Great recipe. I’m going to try soon. Question though. I have sodium lactate already. If I use that instead of the salt water solution, do I add 4 more oz of regular water to the batch? Thanks mil!

    • says

      Hi Jenner!

      If you already have Sodium Lactate on hand, you can definitely use it in this recipe. If you were to do that instead of the salt water solution, you would want to add that additional 4 ounces of distilled water back into your batch. I hope this helps! Be sure to let us know how your soaps turns out. =)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  14. Mary Lou says

    Just made this soap this soap a couple of days ago. I took it out of the mold yesterday and wow is it beautiful. Now that I have the hang of getting that mold open the soap is much nicer. It is smooth to the touch and the colors are very nice. I had to “pet” it a couple of times it was so smooth. I will cut it in a day or so depending on how it feels, I am really excited to see what the inside looks like.

    • says

      Good morning, Mary Lou!

      We are so excited that you are venturing out and trying new recipes. This is one of my favorites and we can’t wait to hear more about your soap once it has been unmolded. If you happen to get any pictures of it, be sure to share them with us on Bramble Berry’s Facebook page. :)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  15. says

    Hello Anne-Marie. I have a question about the salt water solution. Should you subtract 4 oz. of water from your original water/lye calculation? Also how do you figure out how much salt water solution is needed. I make 5 pound batches.

    • says

      Good morning, Renee!

      If you are using a salt water solution, you would actually do a water discount like we did in this particular recipe. When adding salt to your soap for a salt water solution, the more then salt — the harder the bar. It would actually vary based on the amount of liquid oils in your recipe. The higher Olive Oil content in this recipe actually made us go with a slightly higher salt amount. If you want to test your recipe using a scalable measurement, I would start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt per pound of oils and see if that yields the hardness you are after. We found out that with the above amount of salt water solution, the Vertical Twist was pretty darn hard (and we only used a little over 1 teaspoon per pound of oils). I hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions. :)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  16. Heather Quinn says

    I am having problems with this soap. Could I run through my problems? I am on my second go round and I think it is failing the same way.

    Try 1: When I cut the soap after three days it came apart into soft crumbles. I think the lye water was too hot, the oils too cold and I used pomace. One side was in thick trace and the other side was at medium trace, when I poured the soap. I am assuming the problem with soap was that it did not saponify correctly and tossed the soap.

    Try 2: I fixed the problems with the lye water, the oils and used pure olive oil. When I poured, both sides were a bit like light trace, although I had done a fair bit of stick blending. I always seem to end up with extra soap, so put that in my 4″ silicon mold. I unmolded the small mold after 24 hrs and it did the soft crumble thing again. It’s been a few days and I still have the rest of the soap in the vertical mold. I’ve been playing with the rest of the leftover soap. It is cutting better now. Did I not wait long enough the first time? As far as I can tell, I am following the recipe to a T. I made no substitution except for color (lab color) and fragrance (plumeria). Any idea what could be the problem?

    Bonus problem: I put in sapphire lab color and the soap turned red. Yep, red. It is turning more purple over time. But red?

    I appreciate all of the help.

  17. Sly says

    In the Palm Free Vertical Twist you added the salt water after mixing lye-water with oils. In the cube in the pot swirl recipe a couple weeks ago, you added the sodium lactate to the lye-water and then added them both to oils. Why the difference? And adding a discounted water to the oils first, then the rest of the water with the salt – can that affect how it all interacts?

    • Anne-Marie says

      Re: the Sodium Lactate, that’s when the manufacturer recommends adding it. Salt water could also be added to the lye water with no issues. I usually add my additives at thin trace, however, so that’s why I added the salt water at the end, after the basic science is done. I also have a general idea (not proven) that with most of the lye molecules already partnered up with an oil molecule, that any extracts and additives might remain more intact and untouched by the lye – so that’s another reason I tend to go with after trace for additives. That said, you could definitely do salt water similarly to sodium lactate if you were concerned. I did not have any acceleration of trace with this recipe when I added the salt water at thin trace however.

      • Sly says

        Thank you for all the good info Anne-Marie.

        I’m still learning, and didn’t know that I should only use a small amount of Caster oil. (I did make a version of your Hot Cocoa Soap Puffed Marshmallow recipe – from Sept 9, 2010 blog – and used 13% Caster Oil and it didn’t accelerate trace – so maybe I just got lucky!).

  18. Sly says

    I made this soap today (Palm Free Vertical Twist, Aug 2, 2012 blog) and as soon as I put the salt water in it, it started to gel…very quickly. I got it in the vertical mold, having to pound on it a lot, but I fear that there may be some huge gaps in the soap.

    Any ideas as to why it would gel so quickly?

    I was out of olive oil, so I did change the recipe a bit, but I have used this combo before without problems. Instead of 30% coconut oil & 70% olive oil, I used: 21% coconut oil, 45% Sunflower Oil, 16.67% of both Hazelnut oil & caster oil.

    • says

      Hi Sly!

      That sounds so frustrating, I’m sorry to hear that it moved so quickly for you. I’d have to know a little bit more about the temperatures you used, the fragrance, if you added anything else to it and if you did a water discount. Let me know so I can help you troubleshoot. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Sly says

        I used Mandarin Myrrh FO & Vetyver FO – in the description of them they both say they preform amazingly in CP. But I hadn’t added the FO yet when my mixture started to quickly gel.

        Trace accelerated when I added the salt water.

        Per the tutorial, I discounted the water by 4 oz and used those 4 oz for the salt mixture (I used dead sea salt per a blog above that said it would make it extra luxurious.)

        The tutorial says to add lye-water to oils between 110-130 degrees. The lye-water was at 128 degrees and the oils were at 124 degrees.

        The tutorial said to mix salt into warm water (did not specify a temperature). The salt water mixture was 108 degrees when added to the lye-water-oil mixture at light trace.

        Is it typical that salt water accelerates trace? Is it better to use Sodium Lactate? (I used some in the cube swirl CP soaps last week and it did not accelerate trace like this did.) My understanding is that salt water & sodium lactate are the same or at least interchangeable….is this correct?

        • Anne-Marie says

          What type of Olive Oil were you using? I remember this recipe because I was so delighted with the final product (surprisingly so) and it didn’t give me any trouble. But, I made sure I used pure Olive Oil and not the lower grade of Pomace that always gives me fits.

          No, salt water shouldn’t accelerate trace. I wonder if it was the Dead Sea Salt versus the regular Table Salt? I can totally do some experiments in the lab in the next few weeks and see if the two act differently. Yes, sodium lactate and salt water act similarly in the final product in my opinion.

          • Sly says


            I was out of olive oil, so I did change the recipe a bit, but I have used this combo before without problems (when I included some Palm Oil).

            Instead of 30% coconut oil & 70% olive oil, I used: 21% coconut oil, 45% Sunflower Oil, 16.67% of both Hazelnut oil & caster oil.

          • Anne-Marie says

            Sorry; you did say that! I have no idea what that recipe would soap up like because of that huge amount of Castor oil. I don’t think I’ve ever soaped above 5% for the Castor Oil before. I wonder if that was your culprit?

  19. Kayla says

    Big question. I’m making CP soap for the first time and found a basic recipe for beginners without palm. I don’t want to use palm until I’m better at this and most of your beginner recipes have it. Mine has olive oil, coconut oil and corn oil. Do I need to use salt? If so how much? Can you please get back to me?

  20. Maria says

    Also my vertical “molds” are old pringles containers.. If i make a divider out of cardboard should I line it with nonstick freezer wrap?


  21. Maria says

    Ive been looking for Palm free recipes… as for the salt can I use Dead sea brine water in place of the 4 oz of dist H2O and table salt?


    • says

      Hi Maria!

      We’ve never tried using brine water in place of the salt water solution but it sounds like a really cool idea. I’m just not sure what the percentage of salt is usually in brine water. I just read that it can rage between 3%-25%, which seems like a really high range. You’ll also want to make sure that the water has been distilled. If you give it a try make sure to test it on a small batch first to make sure it doesn’t do anything funky. Keep us posted =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  22. ellie says

    Can you substitute goats milk for the water or will the lye amt have to be adjusted according to milk fat? I would love to make this with goats milk :)

  23. Anonymous says

    Could you add the salt to the lye water solution rather than at trace? Also, do you think that adding salt inhibits the lather at all (I know that it can for salt bars)? Thanks!

    • says

      In small amounts, in small amounts salt does not inhibit lather in any of our soap bars, in fact, we’ve always found them to have a great and creamy lather. But, when used in larger amounts, it does decrease bubbles and makes your lather more velvety smooth and dense. That’s why some soapers increase their coconut oil amounts to compensate for the smaller size of bubble.

      The reason you wouldn’t want to add in your salt water to the lye water solution because that could accelerate trace, and you want to be able to work with your soap. :)

      I hope this helps!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

    • Anne-Marie says

      Hi Candy – I would start with a 100% Olive Oil soap and see how you like that! =)

      For the lather, Rice Bran Oil might help. Palm Oil and Palm Kernel Oil might help a bit.

      Stearic Acid (melted, added at thin trace to a warmer soap) would also help with the hardness.

      Use the lye calculator at to really play around and find a recipe you love.

  24. Fran says


    I been following your recipes I just love them. But where did you get the big measuring bowl you are using to mix your soaps. I use a pot, and it is just uncomfortable to work with.

    Thank you Fran

  25. Pelin says

    Dear Anne-Marie,
    I have one more question. You say salt helps the bar get harder quickly. Does it also help the bar stay hard while using – especially in 100% castille bars? Thank you.

  26. says

    I love how the vertical twist turned out! The vertical mold is on my wish list, and I can’t wait to try some of the cool techniques I’ve seen. And thanks for the tip about the salt water!

  27. bree says

    I know that there is deforestation and I dont approve of hacking down trees that we need. however there are communities that survive by caring for palm plantations. And i know corruption exists but there is sustainable palm and just because we aren’t soaping it, doesn’t mean we aren’t using it . Look at the labels on your favorite candies,your hair products, that natural organic “vegetable shortening” the way whole food and trader joe’s customers..its 100% palm oil,there are so any products we don’t think about.Most generic labelled vegetable oil is made of palm,vegetable glycerin…palm… everyone should start reading labels…i think you’ll find yourself as stunned as I was.I like how palm oil feels in my soaps.I pay almost twice as much for sustainable,but I don’t mind I want to know that i’m not contributing to destroying surprises me how alot of soapers attack any kind of palm then i watch them mix their colorants with vegetable maybe instead of us arguing both sides need to educate themselves more. hugs anne marie we love all your stuff and the fragrance oils are never a let down :)

    • says

      I think that is a very responsible and mature way to handle the Palm Oil issue, Bree. The more everyone educates themselves, the more we all will be able to make better decisions for ourselves and our businesses! Thanks for your outlook on it. =)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  28. Catherine says

    Hi Anne-Marie! Would like to know if pink himalayan salt can be used and if it would work the same with hot process soaping! I only do hot process and would love to start making “palm-free” soap! Not sure exactly when I would add the salt solution – I’m thinking maybe directly into my lye water solution before it goes in my oils?


    • Anne-Marie says

      Do you bring your soap to thin trace with your hot process? I typically do but I just want to make sure that we’re doing it the same way. You definitely could just add the salt water at the thin trace before the soap gets hot processed. If you’re doing it another way, I would add the salt to the lye water but my preference would be to do it at thin trace.

  29. says

    This is beautiful, Anne-Marie! I’m hoping to get a vertical mold at some point in the future.

    I’m also very interested in learning more about palm-free recipes and how they stack up against recipes that include palm so I’ll have to watch out for your series.


  30. Tessa says

    Wow they look really good!

    Thank you for the palm-free recipe. I was about to look elsewhere because all the recipes on this blog seemed very palm-heavy. I /really/ appreciate the salt tip; our water is extremely soft and the soap likewise :)

    One question: was your hair loose for the photos, or do you normally make soap like that? (I couldn’t work in the lab without at least one hair getting in my assays, which is a pain. Also, isn’t there a ‘safety’ aspect? – I can’t imagine burned hair being of the good ^_^)

    Definately going to try this one!

    • Anne-Marie says

      Ideally if you’re manufacturing products for sale, you’d be wearing your hair back and / or in a hair net. Good Manufacturing Practices, while not mandatory for making bath and body products, are always a good idea to ensure that your customers are getting a clean product. It’s especially important with leave on products, like lotion, that are prone to bacteria and yeast growth from the slightest contamination.

      If you dip your hair in raw soap (hasn’t ever happened to me but anything is possible!), your hair should be okay. Rinse it out quickly and then put your hair up, finish your batch, and then go shower.

      If you dip your hair directly into lye water, you have bigger issues to take care of than your soap batch. Leave the soap. I would immediately rinse your hair in water, keeping your goggles and gloves on, for at least 10 minutes and then after that rinse, shampoo/condition your hair in the sink (rather than getting naked and jumping in the shower just in case any active lye is left in your hair). I’ve never heard of this happening, but again, anything is possible. =)

      • Tessa says

        I’m sorry; I didn’t check for your reply earlier.
        Good advice on the rinsing with your clothes on :) I’ve been teased (and denigrated) before about my protective gear – leftover painting overalls, ugly old chainsaw goggles, you get the idea – but I reckon a lifetime of potential health issues is worth the ragging. Especially since I’m used to working with things like concentrated HCl and lye in the lab. It’s a habit I /really/ don’t want to get used to forgetting ^_^

        But actually I was thinking about leaving hair behind. It’s gross when it happens with food, and the thought of giving someone a bonus in their birthday gift is just… eww. Anyway, it’s a relatively minor issue, unless your hair is long enough to fall into the NaOH solution (and then why would someone be leaning that closely over the jug anyway?) – just something I’ve trained myself to expect when working with that kind of chemical.

        Thank you for your response, and for your very informative and fun blog.

  31. Anonymous says

    Love your tutorials!!! I really appreciate the varieties of recipes that you try, and love that you are including palm-free recipes!

    I remember some posts a while back (on FB I think) when you were testing a bunch of palm-free recipes. I would LOVE to see some comparisons or reviews of these recipes after cure:) This particular recipes looks great, but without waiting 4-6 weeks for cure, I could only guess how it lathers, moisturizes, etc.


    • Anne-Marie says

      We have an entire palm free recipe series planned for later this month/early next month.

      The lather on this is great. It doesn’t rinse as cleanly or as fast as a recipe without so much Olive (the olive oil sort of can feel slimy when rinsing, in my opinion). One of my team was up in the soap lab when I was rinsing my hands just now and she remarked that she had a bar of it at home and she really liked the formulation. =)

  32. says

    It’s nice to see you doing a palm-free recipe! Maybe you can include some information on the enviromental and human rights problems with palm oil?

    • Anne-Marie says

      We’re planning an entire palm-free series this summer for soapers that prefer to soap palm-free.

      • says

        This looks so nice, that’s an awesome mold. By the way do you have any plans to make a MP base that is palm free as well? I love your MP bases!

  33. Kay P says

    Ann M~~ This soap looks stunning !~ I have had the mold sitting on my rack for months and never used it. It’s about time.

    My question is on tracing temps . I usually wait until the mix is about 85 degrees to pour for CP , is it necessary to have the mix around 110 + . I still hand stir and thats a lot of stirring.

    When do you twist the mix ? visually .When it is like a thick pudding or ? any thoughts ? ~~Thank you ~ Kay

    Amber Rose HCS

    • Anne-Marie says

      If you like working at a lower temp, definitely work at a lower temp – I tend to work a little higher because I like my soap to gel – but the temperature isn’t a huge deal for this technique.

      I twisted the mix when it was like a melted ice cream – thinner than thick pudding – more like a solid medium trace.

      • Kay P says

        Thank you for the information, I will try this soon . I’m thinking of a Mandarine and Amber blend blend , the vanilla turns dark and it makes a great combo scent and visually should be lovely .

        I gave up on palm oil about 15 years ago and never went back . My soap is hard and lasts a long time .

  34. Pelin says

    Dear Anne-Marie,
    I wonder if using salt in the soap would have a drying effect on the skin? Especially on the sensitive and/or dry skin?

    • Anne-Marie says

      Great question – since it’s a rinse off product, I don’t think it will have a negative effect and the 5 pounds of soap here hasn’t had any complaints from testers. Many people bath in saltwater specifically because the minerals in salt are so beneficial to the skin so you could really up the luxurious ante by using Dead Sea Salts in the salt solution (similar to how Ahava does it). Of course, if you find otherwise, please let me know! =)

      • Pelin says

        Thank you :)
        I ran the recipe through a lye calculator and figured that it has a high Cleansing number. My skin tends to dry out quickly, so I try to be careful about the Cleansing figures. Would you recommend me decreasing the level of coconut oil to 25% for this reason?

          • Giovanna Alvarez says

            Hi!! I from Mexico!! i have two questions, u put the salt to do the soap hard, can i used beeswax to make my soap harder instead the water with salt and how many quantity i have to put.

            What is my maximum quantitie of lye per pound,

            i really love brambleberry congratulations!!! Sorry for my english

          • says

            Hi Giovanna!

            The salt water solution helps to harden up this recipe in lieu of the Palm Oil which you will typically find in a cold process soap recipe. If you are wanting to add another oil (or in this case beeswax) to help harden this recipe up, just make sure to run your recipe through the lye calculator again to make sure you have the correct amounts of lye/water.

            Lye Calculator:

            We don’t typically use Beeswax in our cold process recipes, but if you wanted to make your soap harder, we’d suggest using it at no more than 0.5 oz per pound of soap. Using beeswax does tend to inhibit lather as well as speeding up trace and causes the soap to get hotter in the mold. If you were to use the soap, make sure to pre-melt it and add it in at trace.

            Yellow Beeswax:

            White Beeswax:

            I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

            -Becky with Bramble Berry

  35. Sara Jane Tinker says

    Beautiful!! I didn’t really think I’d enjoy this mold so much until I saw you use it at Soap Intensive Weekend. Gotta get one!! It’s so simple and fun and makes such beautiful soap!!

  36. says

    Hi!Anne Marie finally I found how I can write to you (excuse my english it´s so bad),this soap is really fantastic (oh,well,like all yours),I use salt too, and now I stop to write cause I do it really,really bad , ¡¡ bye , I go to study english !! 😉

  37. Patrick says

    I love the look of the soap, and I can’t wait to try it with the vertical mould that I just received from Bramble Berry.

    Could I use Sodium Lactate instead of salt for this recipe? If it can be used, what percentage should I use?


    • Anne-Marie says

      Yes, you can – if you do, do it into the lye water at 1 tsp per pound of oils AND add 4 ounces of water back into the recipe so you’re not working at a 25% water discount inadvertently. =)

  38. nina says

    What a lovely swirl! I have a question about the salt water – does it make a difference if I use sea salt? I don’t generally have the regular sized table salt but I wonder if the substitution will make a difference. Also I love how white your bars get – mine always end up yellow, even with TiO2. Is the pure olive oil you sell less yellow/green than pomace? Thanks, and love your blog and products! I wish you would open a branch in Vancouver bc. :-)

    • Anne-Marie says

      Sea Salt or regular salt should both work great!

      The pure olive oil is less green – and a bit more pricey – but when I’m trying to get super great, bright colors, it’s worth it! =)

      Vancouver, BC has always been a dream for me to open a store in. I would be soooo happy!

      • nina says

        Great – that’s good to know re: salt. I’ve never used salt water before so I may try this recipe next. And I may request a neighbour to pick up some of this olive oil for me next time she’s in Bellingham. Oh, I do hope you will open a store here someday – it would make *me* so happy! :-)